The Tanzania Capacity and Communication Project (TCCP) launched the Swahiliwood Filmmaking for Change Project to develop and produce social and behavior change communication (SBCC) films in collaboration with Tanzanian filmmakers and distributors. The initiative represents a unique approach to filmmaking: three films were produced and distributed through a competitive training and mentoring process with local and international film professionals.
TCCP developed a training curriculum targeting local filmmakers. The learning process included a series of workshops, practical sessions, and on-the-job training. Curriculum topics included principles of entertainment-education, technical information on project health topics, the effective integration of health messaging into scripts, pre-production, production, editing, pre-testing, post-production, marketing and distribution. The training program was highly experiential, and fostered mentorship of young Tanzanian film makers.
Twenty-five scriptwriters participated in the first workshop in November 2011. Participants learned about the fundamentals of writing entertainment education stories with behavior change goals, and were introduced to TCCP’s communication objectives for the films: reducing risk of HIV infection by reducing concurrent sexual partnerships, and increasing adherence to HIV treatment.
In January 2012, six script concepts were selected for further development. The scriptwriters participated in a two-week mentoring forum in early February to further refine the concepts and develop them into treatments and scripts. Of the six, three were selected for production as feature films. The production process also involved significant training and mentoring in all phases from pre-production through post-production.