EYMD, Youth European Media Days in Brussels, European Parliament

Young journalists produce documentary about media freedom in EU countries

Publicerad: 24 October 2015, kl. 11:02

Four young documentary makers let European journalists interview each other in a surprising setting as they aim to open up for a discussion about media freedom and prejudgments about the media scene in different EU countries.

Erika Granath

This week European Youth Media Days, EYMD, has been held in the European Parliament in Brussels. Approximately 100 young journalists gathered to take part in workshops and panel discussions about media freedom in both EU countries and neighboring countries.

This year’s EYMD was the ninth edition. New this year was a documentary workshop. This workshop differed a lot from the other workshops. With only four group members they were by far the smallest workshop, however their work might turn out to be the most extensive.

“I really like that it’s so intensive and such a small group, which you normally don’t have when it’s an event for about a hundred participants,” Anna Saraste, Board member of the European Youth Press and facilitator of the documentary workshop, says.

As the other workshop groups presented their finished productions, consisting of among others TV and radio clips and a magazine, during the EYMD closing ceremony the documentary team only presented a tease for what’s to come.

“It’s still a lot of work to do afterwards, all of us have to commit to it and stay motivated,” Saraste says.

EYMD, European Youth Media Days, European Parliament, Brussels

The team behind this years European Youth Media Days after the closing ceremony. Photo: Erika Granath

The documentary that was shot during the three-day workshop in Brussels has the name “Blind Encounters”.

It’s about young European journalists interviewing each other about the media climate and the press freedom in each other’s countries. The young journalists were blindfolded during the interviews and not allowed to review their name or nationality until the interview was over.

Blind-Encounters EYMD, Youth European Media Days, European Parliament

The short documentary “Blind Encounters” is expected to be done by the end of the year and submitted to film festivals in Europe. Photo: Erika Granath

The idea came to the documentary team during the first evening in Brussels.

“When you do documentary filmmaking you’re bound to what you see on the ground. You can’t invent the character, they are or they are not. So we had to rely on coming up with a nice idea when we got here and it worked,” Saraste says.

The purpose with letting the interviewer and interviewee be blindfolded was to let them talk without preconceptions of each other’s countries.

This is Saraste’s fourth EYMD. She came for the first time to the Youth European Media Days as a participant in 2011.

“I was so excited about it that I joined the Middles east and south African comity of the organization the year after and volunteered at Menac and then I came back as a team member here 2013 and then again 2014.”

When not working with Youth Press she’s a freelance journalist living in Berlin but mostly freelancing for Finish media as she grew up in Finland.

“Youth press takes about half of my time, So it’s basically a part time volunteer job that I’m doing for Youth Press because I love it so much,” Saraste says.

EYMD, European Youth Media Days, European Parliament, Brussels

Anna Saraste with the book Free our Media, a collective comic book about media fredom in Europe that she was a part of producing. Photo: Erika Granath

The full documentary is planned to be about 15 minutes long and should be done by the end of the year.

Saraste’s hope is that the documentary should be shown in at least three or four European short movie festivals.

“I also hope to get feedback from people we have no contact with now. I wish to know their thoughts about the film and what emotions it arise in these people. Off course I also hope they will enjoy it.”

Now when three busy days in Brussels are over for this years EYMD participants there is one thing that has stuck to Saraste a bit extra.

“This group! I Think they all came super motivated and worked really nicely together. It was a pleasure to se them work and film and also to have this energy to come up with ideas. So I really liked this.”

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