Report of the HCLU-Drugreporter and INPUD Joint training on Video Advocacy

October 28, 2014

Drug User activists from all around the world gathered in Budapest, to learn how to make movies to advocate for drug policy reform and harm reduction.

The activists, who were all former or current drug users, came from Nepal, Sweden, India, Indonesia, Australia, Georgia, Canada, Lithuania,  the Russian Federation,  the UK, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.

During the four-day training, held in Russian and English, fifteen members of INPUD (the International Network of People Who Use Drugs) were given training by the HCLU-Drugreporter. The course was held at the European Youth Centre, a residential educational establishment belonging to the Council of Europe.

Watch pictures of the training:

On the first day, participants learned how video can be used effectively for advocacy purposes. We watched a number of films, and discussed how to prepare video advocacy strategies. 

The second day was about production: how to set up and use the camera they were given to take home. Participants learned the basics of composition and framing, and how to conduct interviews. In the afternoon, they broke into groups, with a variety of filming missions in the city, all related to harm reduction in Budapest. One group interviewed the staff and clients of the Needle Exchange Bus run by the Street Front Association of the Hungarian Baptist Aid Foundation. Another group interviewed Marcell Miletics, Director of the Street Front Association of the Hungarian Baptist Aid Foundation.

Interviewing at the Needle ExchangeInterviewing Marcell Miletics

The next group went out with Roland Gyékiss and Virág Kovács, former needle exchange workers of the Blue Point (Kék Pont) Foundation, which was recently closed down due to pressure from the local mayor. Another group went out to the HCLU office and interviewed Péter Sárosi, Head of Drug Program at Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, about drug policy and harm reduction in Hungary. After a break, they headed out to interview Magda Major of the Drug Prevention Foundation’s needle and syringe program. The Russian-speaking group also interviewed an anonymous sex worker activist.

In district 8 with Roland and VirágAt the Drugprevention Foundation Needle Exchange

On the morning of the third day, Péter Sárosi taught the participants how to deal effectively with the media. The participants formed groups, and had the task of writing press releases on various topics. Delegates from each group had to give video interviews, in order to experience what it's like to be on the other side of the camera. We watched and analysed the interviews, and all of the participants had the chance to provide feedback. 

At the European Youth CenterWatching the TV interview practice videos

In the afternoon, and on the last day, the participants learned how to edit on Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014, using the footage they'd shot the day before. We rented laptops and they used the trial version of the software. 

The trainer for the video part was István Gábor Takács, head of the HCLU’s Video Advocacy Program. Péter Sárosi held the media training part. Editing and camera assistants were Ádám Surányi and Mátyás Kálmán. Katalin Sós was assistant during the training. Andrea Jokán and Hazel Moore were responsible for logistics. Róbert Bordás was making fotographs of the event. The training was funded by INPUD.

The participants gave very good feedback on the training. We hope they will use their newly-acquired skills to the full, and make many movies to fight for the human rights of drug users. You can see the ratings charts below:

  Very poor Poor Average Good Excellent
How do you rate the training overall?   311


 Disagree   Neutral   Agree   
The Training met my expectations.
I will be able to apply the knowledge learned.  168
The content was organized and easy to follow.  168
The trainers were competent.   213
The training was interesting.   213
The training venue was good  348

István Gábor Takács