The Oxford English dictionary describes the definition of a “soul” as the following: “The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.”
In their feature-length documentary covering many of their 140 projects, the Romania-Ukraine-Republic of Moldova ENPI CBC programme clearly demonstrates this natural spirit of cooperation that is embedded in the people living along the borders of Romania with both Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Indeed, what we see on screen demonstrates the collective soul of a region united in history and culture with a willingness to succeed together beyond their respective national borders. So, what is the secret to creating such a documentary with impact?
Engage with your beneficiaries
Silvia Prichici and Bogdan Tanasa, communication managers from the programme, point out that getting to know beneficiaries and the experiences they have to recount is key to providing content with lasting effect. “Beneficiaries are creative and close to the parties involved in the project(s),” Bogdan explains. “Beneficiaries expressed their willingness to present their stories,” adds Silvia. Of course, a certain preparatory work was necessary with the beneficiaries before telling their stories on screen. This mainly centred around preparing those involved in the projects to deliver a clear message about their work, in other words, eliminating as much technical information as possible.
What kind of advice did the communication managers of the Romania-Ukraine-Republic of Moldova Programme offer to achieve this? “Focusing on what the problem to be addressed in the area was, who was affected by this problem, what the solutions could be, who to work together with and what the life-changing impact of the project is, were the main elements that we asked the beneficiaries to focus on,” Bogdan elaborates. Using national languages was also key in allowing the people working in these projects to express themselves in the most natural way. This diversity of language equally underlines the range of projects covered in the documentary: from cross-border tourist trails and cultural heritage to emergency services, social care and business development plus much more, the achievements along these external borders come alive.
On the road: the making of the documentary
Once the list of projects to be featured was agreed, covering all of the programme’s priorities and core regions, the programme took to the road to meet the heros behind these stories. For each project, a specific scenario was built based on the main ideas and purpose behind each. Backed by the Joint Technical Secretariat of the programme, a talented Romanian company covered many kilometres meeting the Romanians, Ukrainians and Moldovans who put these projects in action and those whose lives have been affected by CBC. Silvia sums up this experience: “We managed to discover real stories, based on the experience of each individual directly involved in the implementation of each action. There are so many fun, gratifying and trustworthy stories.” She also credits the team work and involvement of the whole communication team to get the best result possible from those interviewed. With so much material from the field, a selective post production work was required in order to put all these stories together in the best and most touching way possible.
And what a final result! The emotive music of the opening shots immediately draws attention to what unfolds on screen: not only the key programme statistics and landscape of the programme areas but what and most importantly, who lies behind these figures and images. Encapsulating the spirit of CBC, this documentary is a must-watch for anyone who is passionate about cooperation beyond borders.
Watch the Border of Souls documentary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNjnFskBpmc