Phnom Penh-based NGO, ISF Cambodia, runs the largest grassroots football program in the country. When COVID-19 caused sports activities to be closed, they didn’t let that stop them. They used online coaching sessions to maintaining a connection with the 3,50o players in the program. I made this inspiring video to celebrate their incredible efforts.
How ISF's Football Program Touches Lives
When the Coronavirus crisis first struck, Cambodia took aggressive action. The government restricted travel, canceled public holiday celebrations, and pout school and sports programs on hiatus. But Cambodian NGO, ISF Cambodia (ISF), made sure the 3500 youth in its grassroots Football Program could still enjoy sports mentorship. Along with maintaining contact and sharing resources with partner organizations, they took their coaching online. ISF set up private Facebook groups for coaches to share football technique videos. Since many program participants don’t live ISF’s home base, Phnom Penh, online communication is the best way to reach out. And, in a creative turn, ISF coaches began setting up regular coaching sessions for small groups of players on Zoom.
Planning & Production
While working as a Communication Officer with the NGO, I wanted to highlight their amazing efforts to maintain a connection with their beneficiaries. To do so, I came up with the idea of filming an inspiring video depiction of one of their online training sessions. And it was incredibly important to me to use a real ISF coach and children who were in the program to illustrate it. So I worked with the Football Program staff to identify a range of male and female players be in the video paired up with one of its most charming coaches, Keb Sameth. While working on the script, I came up with the central conceit of the video. I aimed to highlight that even though the (football) pitch was empty, players were still a team. Distance has not diminished their community.
To maintain the look and feel of a Zoom call, I chose to use a variety of cameras. I filmed all “video call” footage on various mobile devices, with all other footage taken on a DSLR. I strove to communicate the deep connection players had with their coach. To achieve that goal, making the youths comfortable on set was paramount. I also made sure no shots appeared to objectify to stigmatize them. I wanted them all to appear powerful and full of life. And, they fully delivered! I appreciated the energy and fun they brought to the set. Both the coaches and children were such a pleasure to work with. So by the time I got to the editing bay, communicating their charm and passion for sport was not hard.