Regenerative Travel | Creating Documentaries About the Culture of Your Destination

Invitation to Travelers | Become a Culture Correspondent

Flip the Lens invites travelers to be digital ambassadors for humanity! Be a member of the regenerative travel movement with a concrete way to give back to the community of your next destination. Make a stand for authenticity, connection and empathy.

One definition of regenerative travel means giving more back to a place than you take. It can be challenging to find responsible, ethical and caring ways to do this. Flip the Lens enables you to make a positive contribution to the future of your destination by paying forward to others what you’ve experienced and learned about its culture.

How? Be a Culture Correspondent for the Flip the Lens YouTube Channel by creating a documentary video that features insights into the culture of the place you visit. Profile a cultural artisan, steward or change-maker and share their unique tradition, heritage, skills and experience with the world.

Regenerative Travel

Pay Homage to Your Travel Hosts With a Cultural Encounter Documentary

The silver lining of the COVID-19 phenomenon may well be a greater appreciation for our connectedness, and a deeper desire to explore that kinship as a primary driver of travel.  Flip the Lens invites you to remember the fundamental reason we travel: to learn about life in other places.

COVID-19 has shown us just how interconnected we all are. Explore that connection in a meaningful way at your next destination by making a documentary video about its culture.

Regenerative Travel & Creating a Cultural Encounter Documentary

We invite you to create a Flip the Lens video documentary profiling a cultural artisan, steward or change-maker on your next trip.

To do this in a way that is accurate, ethical, insightful and meaningful means you need to have cultural context. That means connecting with people on the ground in your destination who can support and advise you.

To structure a cultural experience that lends itself to being filmed, you need a guide who knows the local culture and people. Flip the Lens’ network of community tourism professionals can work with you to:

  • conceptualize your documentary;
  • provide access to local cultural practitioners who are willing to share their way of life in your film;
  • provide a real grounding in the history, meaning and nuances of a cultural practice;
  • manage the logistics and follow-through involved in creating a video documentary that results in everyone feeling enriched and proud.
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Flip the Lens Cultural Encounter Documentary | Code of Values

In creating a Flip the Lens Cultural Encounter Documentary, you will be a collaborator with your guide and the cultural practitioner, steward or change-maker whom you profile. In paying homage to your subject and their culture, your video gives something back to the community, and so is truly regenerative.

We invite participants to make a commitment to the Flip the Lens Culture Correspondent Code of Values.

Respect. I am a guest in my host destination and my presence here is a privilege. I am grateful for the hospitality I receive, and being entrusted with access to people’s home, way of life, livelihood, and personal experiences. I will devote time prior to traveling to learning about my destination’s culture, history and some phrases of its languages, including “please” and “thank you”.

Humility. I am a student and I am teachable. I will not assume, I will ask. I know a certain way of doing things and that does not mean it is the only way or the right way.

Identification & Connection. Each person and culture is unique and special, and all of us share the human condition. I will be appreciative of our differences and attuned to seeing what I have in common with my hosts.

Collaboration. I am one of three co-creators of a Cultural Encounter Documentary, with my guide and interview subject. We each bring valuable perspectives and ideas. We are all invested in creating a piece that is insightful, meaningful and has integrity.

Step One | Getting Started With Your Cultural Encounter Documentary

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What dimension of culture are you interested in? Archeology or architecture? Cuisine? Dance? Festivals? Folk Art? Gardens and Landscapes? Language and legends? Maritime? Preservation? Spirituality? Textiles and fashion?

Work with a FTL community tourism professional to identify the right person to feature. Both your guide and your subject will be your cultural co-creators. Producing a documentary that gives Flip the Lens viewers a glimpse of a way of life will be a fun and enriching experience, while also being a privilege.

Step Two | The Cultural Co-Creation Experience

You as the filmmaker do not appear on camera but you do set the stage for the documentary profile with an introductory voice-over of up to two minutes. Your short narrative at the beginning of the video can be set to footage that gives an overview of the subject of your film.

You do not need to have a fancy camera or editing equipment for a Flip the Lens Cultural Encounter Documentary. If you have a phone, you are a filmmaker! Our tutorials may help boost your digital confidence!

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Part of cultural immersion can mean communicating without knowing the language. If your interview subject does not speak your language, your guide will serve as a translator. He or she can also assist in creating sub-titles for your piece during post-production.

The video itself can be five to 20 minutes in length and should focus on the person you are featuring and how they manifest their culture.

You can film the cultural practitioner answering your interview questions, as well as engaged in their practice. Get tight, medium- and long shots that visually depict the person engaged in their discipline and can be shown to illustrate their commentary.

Check out our video with Interviewing Tips!

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Step Three | Cultural Encounter Documentary Post Production

Part of the interactive nature of the Cultural Encounter experience is that the interview itself will reveal the real message of your film. You can’t script in advance what you don’t know you will discover. The magic of a genuine encounter is that there will be a spark that occurs. When it does, you will immediately feel the essence of the theme that you are meant to create the film around.

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That theme could be unique to the person, and the community, or it may be a universal dimension of humanity like creativity, ingenuity, patience, harmony with nature or respect for elders.

After you’ve filmed your cultural encounter, you’ll review your footage and edit it together into a documentary. Your guide will continue to be a resource and liaison with your cultural co-creator to make sure your facts are accurate. As part of the regenerative nature of the collaboration, an hourly rate for their post-production services will be factored into the price of the experience.

When you’ve completed a first draft of the piece, you’ll share it with your guide. He or she can review it for accuracy and to ensure its cultural sensitivity. They will only make suggestions if they feel there is an inaccuracy.

Then you are ready to submit your piece to Flip the Lens! Upon approval, we’ll share the FTL title and credit slides with you to drop into your piece before uploading.

Check Out Cultural Encounter Documentaries on the Flip the Lens Youtube Channel

Visit the Flip the Lens YouTube channel and check out some of the FTL Cultural Encounter Documentaries to get a feel for the kinds of pieces we are looking for! While you are there become a subscriber! Be sure to click the notification bell so you’ll know when new videos have been published.

Step Four | Paying Forward Your Cultural Encounter

Travel and cultural encounters are special because they become a part of us. Yet we often don’t have a way to stay in touch with the people we meet who have made such an impression on us.

Your Flip the Lens Cultural Encounter documentary is a way to collaborate with your guide and cultural practitioner for weeks after your trip. All of you can share the video with your networks and keep each other abreast of the interest the film generates.

Your documentary film enables you to really give your friends and family a meaningful glimpse of the culture of the place you visited. Because you have had the local knowledge and savvy of your guide you can be certain your film is an authentic representation of the culture you have experienced.

A documentary film is an investment of time and thought that cannot be conveyed in an Instagram or TikTok post. Your video will have heart, soul and substance. It will be a genuine piece of authentic reporting.

Who knows, you may decide to make a future trip to film a sequel or an entire series about the culture of your choice.

Step Five | Become A Culture Correspondent And A Digital Ambassador For Humanity!

If you are a regenerative traveler or a community tourism professional interested in partnering in the Flip the Lens Cultural Encounter Documentary program, check out our Culture Correspondent FAQ and Tourism Partner FAQ.

If you’d like to get involved, reach out to co-founders Meg at meg@flipthelens.com.