Animated Coca: Understanding the Little Leaf
On a Social Level
The project is also determined to address the disadvantaged lives led by migrant children in the North, as well as the poor children in the South. Children of Bolivian miners and farmers, cornered by a lack of resources and work, have gravitated to cities and drug trafficking, just as young people of second generation immigrants living poorly in European cities have. Centered around questions based on the theme of "drugs," but not too quickly connecting drugs and immigration, the project allowed these young people to express the numerous problems encountered in their personal and collective development such as cultural ambivalence, family disintegration and social stigmatism. They revealed the numerous activities that they organize in order to have access to social inclusion, while affirming their own identity.
In this communal questioning regarding development, health and migration, the educational action of the film tries above all to inform about the attempted solutions which were organized locally by the young people and adults concerned.
Unfolding the Action
The project was completed between July 1991 and June 1992 with the joint cooperation of three studios in Bolivia (La Paz/El Alto, Yungas and Cochabamba) and three workshops in Europe (France, Belgium and Spain). The working principle for each group was that the numerous problems related to the consumption of drugs and/or the production of "drug plants" should be revealed by the actors in their daily life and their social and economic cultural specificity.
Each studio is primarily a service to the community, the village or the district concerned by validating the richness of the people's experience. The images shot and the sounds recorded try to restore a positive view of the people involved or exposed to the problems of drugs. This is quite counter to the negative, too-often reductive image projected to the outside world by the media.
Each film isn't polarized directly on drugs, addiction, illegal production or dealing. It's situated on the other side of what is habitually shown on the subject of drugs in the form of a "scoop" or a traumatizing probe ("The War on Drugs," "The Junkie's Syringe"). These new films focus more directly on the story of the mobilization and organization of the people conditioned by these problems.
Secondly, through the idea of inspiring a network of exchange and communication between the six studios, the project intends to make the different experiences of the North and South resonate in an interactive dynamic to permit exchange programs between the different populations.
Finally, due to the professional quality of the audio-visual productions, the project aimed to be broadcast through the media and the campaign for animation on development and health education.
A film edited together from the sound and visual material from all six studios validated the experiences of the people involved, and again demands a new global consciousness of how problematic the "drug" issue is. Along the same lines, the film hopes to reinforce in both the public and the political decision makers the importance of developing some social approaches to the two extremities (supply and demand) of this epi-phenomenon, and imply that the community is taking charge.
The method proposed (children speaking, cultural interaction, animated films and documentaries) makes addressing both an audience of young people and adults possible. The final product, a film made up from the work of all six studios, North and South, informs a large public about a very important but delicate subject, in a language and with a quality of communication that, we hope, will demand a response.
The project received the support of the European Community Commission from the Education and Development Project category. It might potentially enroll in other financing programs as a "film project," an "Education and Health project," and as a project that aids the integration of immigrant children.
Christian Coppin is a director at Atelier Graphoui in charge of workshops, the sound unit and all facets of technical production training.
On a Social Level