DER Documentary

Development Communications Workshop Collection

Development Communications Workshop Collection
launch preview watch a preview of Malawi's Green Revolution

A collection of 6 films
produced by Charles Mann
color, 196 min with 211 min extras, 2002-2011

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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The films in the Development Communications Workshop (DevCom) collection are the result of a creative collaboration between social scientists with teaching objectives and veteran filmmakers with great pride in their craft. These films were designed to enrich and support courses on international development.

Unlike most documentaries that develop a story in a linear fashion toward a particular conclusion, these films present multiple points of view and many visual "hooks" that can further broaden discussion. For example, the Harvard Kennedy School commissioned If It Doesn't Rain to open a two-week course on poverty in southern Mexico. After seeing the film, the students were asked, “Are these people poor?” The film's rich content provides a fertile opportunity for them to debate this question and for their teacher to present poverty assessment frameworks.

A central theme of all the films is poverty — its nature and varied approaches to its alleviation. Malawi's Green Revolution explores a massive agricultural outreach to all farmers; its radical redesign into a safety net; subsequent production collapse; then surging production through price subsidies. Lifecycles, also set in Malawi, not only illustrates how HIV/AIDS exacerbates poverty, but also presents uplifting vignettes of individual courage. “It's a Young Country!” examines Turkey's dynamic economy and culture by using a bank's strategic planning deliberations to initiate and structure the story.

Given their classroom enrichment objectives, all the films (with the exception of “It's a Young Country!”) are supported by supplementary special features intended to provide context and grist for further analysis. Each DVD was created with scene selection for the film and its special features for easy classroom use.

For more information on the workshop, visit

Films in the Development Communications Workshop Collection
Malawi's Green Revolution: Seeking Sustainability 1998-2015
Lifecycles: A Story of AIDS in Malawi
If It Doesn't Rain (Si No Llueve)
If It Doesn't Rain, First Return (Si No Llueve, Primer Regreso)
“It's A Young Country”: Turkey and Akbank
Paths of Hope: Livelihoods in Three Caribbean Communities of Costa Rica

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts