From February to June 2010 Oxfam called on young people around the world with a story to tell to submit their vision for a documentary film to the Shooting Poverty competition. The topic: to expose the true cost and impact of arms trade and armed violence on poor communities around the world.

More than 60 written submissions were received from 9 countries. A panel of judges selected three projects to be given mentoring, financial and hands-on production support to make their film a reality. Check out the trailer:


All the filmmakers will be present at the launch at the United Nations in New York on October 21st. The best film – selected by online popular vote – will also win a Sony EX1R digital camera and a portable kit. Here is a brief introduction to 3 finalists:

The winners, their projects and their blogs are presented below:

Bang for Your Buck (Burundi)

Production start: August 14th, Bujumbura, Burundi
Directors: Seth Chase, 33 (US) and Brice Blondel, 28 (France) – Follow the filmmakers’ blog and twitter

Bang for Your Buck is driven by personal accounts of grenade attacks in villages across Burundi. These attacks are symptoms of a small arms pandemic, in this picturesque agricultural nation in the heart of Africa. The story is already there; we’ll simply capture it.

Bang for Your Buck is set in Burundi, a post conflict country that is the fourth poorest country in the world, where one thing remains affordable to all: the grenade. Not one week goes by without a grenade attack and the film follows journalist Teddy Mazina who reports these news from the TV Renaissance studio in the capitol Bujumbura.

Beyond the headlines, the film will take us to meet the actual victims of the attacks who share with Teddy how it is impossible to have a semblance of unity when it is so easy to solve problems by throwing grenades, rather than working through issues peacefully. We meet maimed survivors of attacks, which punctuates the broken and deficient relationships in the community. The film shows how the personal accounts are living breathing statistics resulting from the greater problem of illegal arms transfers which has handicapped a nation from moving forward in a mature, functional, healthy manner.

Grosso Calibre (Brazil)

Production start: August 31st, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Directors: Guilherme Arruda, 28, Ludmila Curi, 30 and Thiago Vieira, 31 – Follow the filmmakers’ blog and twitter @ @ludmilacuri @guilhermearruda

Grosso Calibre shows the indiscriminate use of firearms across the city, in fighting that only promotes deepening stagnation in society. No doubt, if the arms trade remains unregulated it may generate more active violence. If there were an effective arms trade treaty, MC Smith might not sing We are always packing Glock, granade, G3, PARAFAL in reference to illicitly traded or diverted arms, formerly the property of Brazilian security forces.

Grosso Calibre is a documentary that uses forbidden funk music (funk proibido) to address the impact of arms on the violent environment in Complexo do Alemão, a huge group of favelas in the northern part (Zona Norte) of Rio de Janeiro. Mc Smith, a funk music star of the community, provides the voice and music that runs like a thread through the film. He shows how people live amid the fighting between the heavily armed traffickers and a police often accused of generalized human rights violation. The aim is to look closely at the social damages caused by the banalization of the massive presence of high-caliber weapons in these people’s lives. Due to this situation Grosso Calibre suggests the necessity of an international arms trade treaty to solve this problem.

April 6th (India)

Production start: August 4th, Manipur, India
Director: Chandam Netraj, 34 – Follow him on twitter @

I met more than 50 women whose husbands had been killed in various incidents in the last few years. I asked them all what their dreams and hopes were? Only one of them were able to answer this question, and that woman was Renu. This is what makes Renu different from her peers. She believes in herself and in the future of her fellow widows. She has Hope.

April 6th is a film about Takhellambam Renu, a 28 year-old widow who lost her husband three years back when he was shot dead by the State security forces on April 6, 2007.  Since that tragic incident, Renu has been trying to piece together her shattered world. She has established her own organization called Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Manipur (EEVFAM) to fight against the armed violence.

Renu married her husband – Mung – on April 6, 2005. The marriage was opposed by her family as it was an interreligious & intercaste marriage. From that moment on, Renu never turned back to her parent. April 6 is Renu’s landmark, because it was the day she married, the day her husband was shot dead and the day she decided to start a new and courageous life fighting against the human suffering caused by armed violence.