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Turkish students are in training to film social concerns
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nefin Dinc and Ted Schwalbe discuss project at press conference
Communication Dept. professors Nefin Dinc, left,  and Ted Schwalbe, right, appear on TV in Turkey to discuss the Youth Filmmaking Project in Turkey. 

Fredonia, N.Y. — October 1, 2008 — SUNY Fredonia Communication Department faculty members Nefin Dinc and Ted Schwalbe recently completed the first part of their Youth Filmmaking Project in Turkey. Turkish students in six cities are being trained to use digital video to create films about important social issues in their country as part of the $800,000, 18-month project that is being funded by the U.S. Department of State.

“The goals of Phase I were to visit the six project cities, secure support for the project, and begin the process of recruiting students,” said Schwalbe. Dinc and Schwalbe were accompanied by Gamze Paker and Tankurt Mekik from their partner agency Atlantik Film in Istanbul.

Prior to visiting the project cities of Konya, Antakya, Artvin, Mardin, Sivas, and Edirne, the group met with U.S. Embassy personnel (including the American ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson), national non-government organizations, and national media in Istanbul and Ankara.

“I was very impressed with the knowledge Ambassador Wilson had about our project,” noted Schwalbe. “He was quite interested and supportive.”

The project team met with a variety of organizations in each city, including political leaders, local non-government organizations, education leaders, and local press. Schwalbe and Dinc participated in major press conferences and conducted live radio and TV interviews.

“We continue to give information to the national press. To date there have been three stories about our project on national media and we have started to see the results in the application rate,” said Dinc.

Dinc will remain in her native country of Turkey for the 2008-09 academic year to lead the teaching of the students with the help of Atlantik Film. Over the course of three training sessions totaling 21 days in each city, 72 students will learn the basics of shooting and editing video. The project goal is for each of the sites to produce three 20-minute films that deal with issues relating to democracy, human rights, tolerance and diversity, women’s issues and economic empowerment. All of the video cameras and computers for editing will be provided by the project.

Approximately 450 students have already applied to participate in the project. “We will conduct interviews with the finalists to choose the very best 72 students. I think it is important to meet with the students before deciding about the winners,” said Dinc.

Eighteen of the participants will visit Fredonia for two weeks next fall to work with SUNY Fredonia students to enhance their films. Screenings of the films will take place locally as well as in New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C. Turkish film screenings will also take place in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir.

The project is part of a larger cooperative effort between SUNY Fredonia and Turkey that includes new dual-degree programs with two Turkish universities.

More information on the project can be found at

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