Fast In A Day
Afshin Rohani is a rising star in the communication and media world. He is also a Baha’i. Residing in the leafy suburbs of West London, Afshin and Sahba Saberian make up ‘Media Makes Us,’ a team of filmmakers who ‘connect viewers to communities.’
Calling themselves ’21st Century Media Makers’, they produce short video reports on current affairs and trending topics.
Their latest project is called Fast In A Day, like similar projects, attempts to document the Baha’i Faith by the videographic medium as opposed to the photographic.
“So Afshin, before we begin, tell us a a little bit about yourself. What are you academically trained in and where do your personal interests lie?”
“I’m 24 and based in London. At university I studied communication and media, I learnt about new media and also got introduced to film and documentary making. My thesis was about blogging and human rights, quite a bizarre link I know but fascinating nonetheless. I’m intrigued by how people consume media nowadays, notably the shift between outbound to inbound marketing techniques and the consequences this has on the audience. The interactions and adopted behaviour online, in what seems like myriads of digital social spaces is fascinating to me.”
“Do you feel social media has a part to play in building capacity on an individual level as well as a community level?”
“I guess there is a lot of hype around social media, maybe we could start with some context; Marshall McLaughlin boldly stated (in 1964) that ‘The Medium is the Message’ and decades later we are starting to understand what he may of meant by this. What medium you use to express your message can strongly contribute to the projection or rejection of your message by its audience. I don’t think capacity is built via the medium you use, what’s more important is how you use the tools that are out there and what you are using them for. If anything, the amount of media which pervades our lives can easily distract individuals and communities, leading them to neglect the development of other facets of life. Social media has had it’s capacity building moments, whether it is; breaking news, coordinating disaster relief efforts or creating new platforms for participatory learning. On the flip side there is also a whole host of other examples of when new media has allowed more nonconstructive aims disseminate to new audiences.We’ve gone from the telegram to Twitter in the blink of an eye, it’s exciting as much as it is daunting to comprehend the impact that technological advances in media will have on individual and collective growth in the coming years.”
“I briefly introduced your new project that you’re trying to gather interest in. Can you tell us more about it and what was your motive for initiating this project?”
“So the ‘Fast in a Day’ film project is an attempt to capture a snapshot of the Baha’i fast by piecing together videos from around the world. The real interesting thing about this project is that we are relying on the public to shoot their own stories and send them in to us, so the direction the content takes is almost entirely up to you, we just want to facilitate the process. Inspired by films such as ‘Life in a Day’ Victoria Eyton, Sahba Saberian and myself (the team) thought how we could use a similar crowd sourcing technique to document a single topic / experience. As we were brainstorming the fast came up in conversation as it was coming up relatively soon, all of us immediately connected the two together and during the last few weeks we have been working on making the idea a reality.”
“Who is your audience and how has the response been so far?”
“We are aiming it at Baha’is due to the subject matter, the fast hasn’t started yet but already the response on Facebook and Vimeo has been really positive and naturally people want to share something which is special to them. So far a good number of people from Europe have been in touch about wanting to contribute, we would like to see the project spread further a field.”
“There are other similar projects out there with regards to the Baha’i Fast, like Nineteen Days, the sister site of Nineteen Months…. what does yours add to the mix?”
“I think great international artistic projects inspire me and the team and we just wanted to add video and film into the equation and see what happens.”
“In your opinion, what is the room for growth with projects such as these in the near future? Do you think people outside the Baha’i Community would find them interesting?”
“I’m trying to approach this project as an outsider even though I’m a Baha’i ( if that’s possible), it just so happens that this project looks at a practice within the Baha’i community, hopefully building on the outcome of this film I can collaborate more with people from the wider community. I hope the end product is engaging with people of all faiths and backgrounds. I try not to think in black and white when it comes to questions concerning ‘Baha’i’ art.”
Finally, anything you would like to say to the readers?
“Naturally, and unashamedly I encourage you to visit www.mediamakesus.com for all the details on how you can contribute to ‘Fast in a Day’.”