Saturday, September 28, 2013

The 100 videojournalists - one of the most comprehensive research to date about the least understood form

They go by the name of the 100 Videojournalists. They existed as a unconnected collective, like Zavattini's filmmakers, Robert Drew's Cinema Veriteist of the French's Dziga Vertov group.

Each generation throws up its radicalists, who strive to show they have seen a greater horizon, and that previous formalists or cinephiles were flawed in some way.

The Internet claims to be THE harbinger for change, but it is really only the latest-to-arrive medium to provide the radicalists with a chance to do what they do best.  Before that it was cable, letters, telephone, community boards etc.

Our intelligence is only equipped for the norms and then shocks of its time, which is why some of the best brains still proclaim the 1960s as far more radical than the 2000s. It's a matter of relativity and conscious load bearing. That is how much we can take.

What separated the 100 videojournalists, however were some fundamentals, which would upturn some of the most venerable paradigms in film and the art of learning.

McLuhan said the medium is the message. He was right then, but the 100 videojournalists could prove rhetorically that this was now flawed and this would be before the Net. Many of us state content is king, but when everyone has the content is that still the case?

Imagine this. You travel for the first time to Russia, then Spain, China, Burma then South Africa. You're with a friend. All you know is English, and you're very proficient. But each time you get of the airport you encounter a problem.

Someone speaks to you in their native tongue. You can only guess what they's saying, but your friend each times rises to the occasion conversing with locals solving problems.

In communications and the landscape of video journalism, the art is the equivalent to knowing all those different international languages. The one traditional media is proficient at is English. And their proficiency is such that they've exported this form to others and maintain a tight grip. It's the one they understand.

The philosophy of the 100 videojournalists was to comprehend all the other international languages and reverse engineer its theory.  Film is cited as language like, and learning film requires not only a flexible mind, but a radical one.

The 100 videojournalists lasted less than a decade. It took that long for traditionalists to understand and rebuild a narrative to discard it. Today it's become a practice-based theory, meaning it can be taught.

Some of my Masters students will recognise traces of it in lectures, that our reception to problem solving, whether that's making an film, writing a letter, solving a maths problem, is tangible, if we're equipped with the diversity of knowledge-approaches.

Some months ago, I interviewed one of the figures the world owes a debt to, the great Robert Drew who pioneered Cinema Verite. It was one of the most enlightening interviews I have ever had, but I left also understanding how the 100 videojournalists could pick flaws in some of his very eloquent arguments.

In the coming weeks I'll divulge more of the 100 videojournalist philosophy and how you can truly comprehend its potential

David in Southern Turley, couple of hours drive from Syrian border

David Dunkley Gyimah is an award winning videojournalist who is completing a Six year doctorate study into video making, videojournalism and our cognitive  behaviour to the form. He has taught groups around the world, and most recemtly was training activists in Southern Turkey, a couple of hours from the Syrian border. find out more from


The 100

but there was something about them.