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Contes de quartiers - Tales of the suburbs

The objective of the project was to create a web documentary based on the testimony of inhabitants of the “Vieux Moulin” Suburb, an isolated area of Marseille where the population is principally of gypsy origins. Urban prod’s team has acted as a facilitator so that the inhabitants who were interested could be trained to techniques and become in charge of making the film themselves. Urban prod settled in the neighborhood for several months with a caravan transformed into a lab of creative workshops and projection. Every week, artistic activities were offered to the children which eventually led to the opening of dialogue with parents and the rest of the community. This first step to to create mutual trust was essential, as the inhabitants were used to the media carrying out a negative, stereotype reinforcing image of their neighborhood.
English Access Microscholarship Programme
After those informal exchanges, Urban prod could define main themes (origins, family, traditions, travel, religion, future) and create a range of questions to ask the inhabitants in the frame of film interviews. The documentary shows a very unique blend of cultures, mixing French Gypsy, Northern African traditions in a very lively cohabitation. Interviewees are from three successive generations, so that history of the place and time passing by can be felt very concretly.
Objectives of the process :
    • Advertizing the real everyday life of so called “sensible urban areas” to fight exclusion, discrimination, and easy made stereotypes
  • Empowering the isolated target group by listening to them, sharing experiences and giving them some technical and artistic trainings. But most of all by giving them the opportunity to participate actively to the creation of a video

  • The goal is to break boundaries, so there should not be a clear barrier between the film makers/observers, and the inhabitants/witnesses. The project was thought as a collaborative creation, which allowed the inhabitants to be subject and object at the same time, on the same level as urban prod’s team, to be in charge of their own speech and common history, to develop pride and self esteem from this experience.

    English Access Microscholarship Programme

    Beneficiaries of the project:
    The inhabitants of isolated suburbs of Marseille, and more specifically the inhabitants of the “Vieux Moulin” (2013 project), “Bon secours” and “Les rosiers” suburbs (2015 project, still in process)

    Project promoter:
    Urban prod, an organization devoted to educate sensible groups (difficult suburbs, person with a judiciary history, neets) to the use of new technologies and media, and to develop social cohesion by recording and advertizing the voices of the less heard.
    English Access Microscholarship Programme

    Marseille, France

    More information:

    What people say

    “Once upon a time in the beautiful city of Marseilles, a few families came with the desire to settle and live...”
    Extract from the web documentary

    “We took a walk to meet the inhabitants in order to make audible their forgotten voices. The greatest challenge was settle a relationship of trust in a place where the media inspires mistrust, as they tend to convey a bad idea of the district and reinforce stereotypes”
    Marie Picard, film maker