Competitions and trainings


The project puts emphasis on Training and Competition programs, sometimes combining both, because they are used very widely and successfully in similar formats and are proven to encourage and enhance audience participation.

Prizes were awarded in two international festivals to give them greater visibility – the Millenium International Documentary Film Festival and Sofia Film Fest.

Within the project, we developed four types of trainings:
1. Trainings in the universities and cine-clubs for students of communication, international relations and development cooperation – thematic trainings led by specialists, who use documentary cinema to illustrate specific topics;

2. Trainings of trainers – high school teachers and university lecturers, on how to use documentary films in their teaching. Special dossiers and DVDs have been developed for this purpose;

3. Trainings and competitions for young people in a non-formal setting (youth clubs), where we demonstrate the link between the documentary cinema and the MDGs;

4. Trainings for professionals in development NGOs in partnership with CTB (Belgian Development Agency) – Infocycle courses for development professionals and people who aspire to work in the field of development. 


1. Trainings and activities in the universities and cine-clubs

These trainings took place in universities in all partner countries. Here are some of the best practices:

  • Sessions with screenings and debates in universities in Belgium organised together with the students themselves:

Saint-Louis University – 60 students participated;
ICHEC Brussels Management School –120 student participated;
VUB – 60 students participated 
ULB – 60 students participated
There were also 15 decentralised screenings in universities in Wallonia and Flanders (30 in total). The number of participant ranges between 50 and 80 per screening.

  • Screenings for secondary schools:

L’école de Tenbosch – 40 participants
Four screenings aimed at young people from secondary schools took place at CIVA with the participation of around 150 students

  • Millenium web-doc meetings

Millenium web-doc meetings are a unique training format on the use of the new media for illustrating development issues. They were given by professionals in the field of web-documentary, such as David Dufresne and Matthieu Lietaert. Such trainings were organised in Brussels by DIOGÈNE (more than 200 participants) and in Sofia by MITRA 2000 (around 50 participants).

2. Trainings for trainers

Two trainings on the role and possibilities of media education were aimed at teachers of secondary education and university lecturers in communication. The purpose of these trainings was to inform them about the new methods and tools and to offer a selection of films that they could use in their schoolwork.
The teachers received an educational package containing a DVD with extracts from the films selected for the young audience, the synopsis, datasheets, description of the theme, tasks relevant to the age of the students and proposed topics for debates. 

3. Trainings and competitions for young people in a non-formal setting

Youth Competition

One of the objectives of the SEMA project is to give space to young people to think about their place in the current interdependent world and debate about the MDGs in a time marked by the economic crisis, globalisation and political and environmental changes. This is why, with the support of the SEMA project we launched « Young hopes of the Millenium» to encourage young people to discover a kind of cinema that they are not used to watching and help them to develop a critical mind towards the main challenges of our time.
The adopted approach included the following phases :

• We selected 8 films tackling different MDGs (Little Heaven; Argentinian lesson; Dolphin Boy; E-Wasteland; Five Star Existence; Thato; The Only Son; White Black Boy), which are adapted to young people thematically and in the manner in which their treat the problems;

• We worked with the youth house in Ixelles (« La maison des jeunes d’Ixelles XL’J »), where 25 young people received training on the MDGs and documentary cinema for development lead by a team of professional facilitators and artists. Around 110 young people in total viewed the films;

• The young people watched the 8 selected films. The projections were organized across two weeks, followed by debated, games and meetings with the directors;

• In order to enhance the sustainability of this tool, a two-day presentation of the project was organized for teachers and trainers. Approx. 70 educators participated in this two-day training and were given free access to all the activities of this year’s edition of the Millenium Festival in Brussels.









4. Film projections and debates aimed at professionals from development NGOs took place in Belgium in partnership with Infocycle.

261 people in total participated in the projections followed by trainings. Thanks to the SEMA project we were able to provide free passes for the festival to all participants to the trainings (around 100).

European Jury

Another innovative tool that we implemented within the project was the European Jury. We selected 27 citizens, each from one of the 27 member states of the EU. They were introduced to a number of documentaries and gave their feedback according to national specificities. Participation in the European Jury stimulated their reflections and turned them into real ambassadors for the Millenium Development goals.