Costa Rica 2017

Course Outline
We are very excited to be offering a unique filmmaking experience in Costa Rica, in the summer of 2017. Over three locations and four weeks, we will be working in partnership with community radio stations and looking at the importance of local voices and local media for democracy, diversity and empowerment of communities.

We will begin the course in the capital, San José, taking participants through the fundamentals of documentary filmmaking and storytelling including a variety of practical and theoretical workshops. We will then spend the next two weeks working with local community radios in Ortina and the Gulf of Nicoya, learning about the projects, researching stories and shooting the films themselves. In the final week we will return to San José to edit and finally screen the films.

This course will be an incredible opportunity to see, first hand, community media in action and to use documentary filmmaking to shine a light onto these projects. Participants will learn about filmmaking, community media and international development, and get to know the landscape and people of this amazing country. We hope to see you there!


What’s Included in the Course?
  • Health Insurance
  • Accommodation with Breakfast & Dinner
  • 1 Full Day Excursion
  • Airport Transfers
  • In-country Transportation
  • Welcome Meal & Farewell Meal
  • Use of Film In Action Equipment
  • Professional tuition
  • Film Screening

Course Dates: Saturday 1st July – Saturday 29th July

Course Fee – $3100



Why Community Radio?


An increasing concentration on the ownership of media, the strong cuts in the journalist teams and the high geographical concentration of broadcasters on the Central Valley, has meant that Costa Rica is a country where just a few companies and their owners have the freedom to express their visions of the world, the content of radio and television in the country is mostly centered around entertainment, letting aside local content, information, debate and education.

Around 7 years ago, a movement was created to enforce the creation of a new media law in the country: RedMICA (The Network of Initiatives of Alternative Communication.) This proposal also involves supporting local media in rural communities around the country.
At the same time, internet has allowed the growth of many local initiatives of community radio, but the fact that internet access is not available in every community means these radios cannot reach all of their members, especially those most in need. Therefore it is vital to promote new legislation and guarantee these and more radios a legal status to operate in the AM and FM radio bands.

Today, supporting local radios also means supporting democracy, freedom of speech and self-determination for dozens of towns and villages in Costa Rica. A plurality of voices is the only way to guarantee that Costa Rica may continue to be the democratic and free country that has existed before the great conglomerates of communication took over dozens of frequencies within the country.

Community Radio Locations


Orotina: Where the pacific plains lead towards the sea, beneath the mountains of Turrubares and the Aguacate Mountains, lies Orotina. One of those old towns that started its growth with the routes of the railway to the pacific port of Caldera. The “town of fruits”, Orotina has been the source of Costa Rica’s finest produce for generations and it’s warm weather welcomes visitors with a plethora of colors and winding rivers, that flow downstream in the old mining and railway towns.

Orotina is home to Orotina Online. A youth community radio that started just two years ago and is transforming the community from within. This project is linked to local universities, the local council and dozens of youth participating actively in a project that is giving them new opportunities to gather, learn and participate in the development of their community.

Radio Peninsular: Between green hills and the blending waters of the pacific ocean with the Tempisque River, there lies the Gulf of Nicoya. These shores are home to some of the finest prawns, fish and local seashells such as Piangüas or Cambute. Exquisite rice and prawn or ceviche are intrinsic part of this spectacular landscape. For years, the fishermen of the Nicoyan Isles lived on artisan fishing and agriculture. Today the extensive fishing by transnational companies and the lack of employment opportunities have left the inhabitants of this undiscovered paradise of the Costa Rican coast with no options…

Radio Peninsular was born to give a voice to these peoples. This voice has allowed public debate, the reinforcement of the local identity and helped build the foundations of a new future for these communities through self determination and agency, rather than discussed from the country’s capital. This radio offers a great insight to this amazing culture of peaceful beaches, nature and calm waters.


Today supporting local radio also means supporting democracy, freedom of speech and self-determination for dozens of towns and villages along Costa Rica.

Sebastian Fournier Artavia, Radio Producer (Onda UNED)
Sebastian Fournier Artavia, Radio Producer (Onda UNED)
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