My name is Ali Yassine and I was tasked with the writing, producing and directing of the three films within the ‘Challenging Extremism’ DVD project.
Extremism is, of course, a complex and emotive subject. Indeed, much has been written, spoken and debated on extremism and extremist behaviour. Furthermore, producing a set of programmes aimed at an audience ranging from 11 to 25 in order to stimulate debate can be a huge challenge in itself, particularly with the sophisticated nature of today’s young viewers. This is, of course, an audience that has easy access to modern technology and regularly demands credibility, integrity and vision from programme-makers.
I was also aware of the absolute need to deal with the many issues relating to extremism head on – however complex and diverse – and wanted the audience to relate to the subject matter without feeling patronised.
I therefore attempted to engage the viewer by using a number of televisual techniques – for example - the use of archive footage, visual graphics and the inclusion of a number of credible interviewees with the hope of driving the dangers of extremism and extremist action home whilst at the same creating opportunities for stimulating critical thinking as well as discussion among the DVD’s target audience.
By developing ‘bite size’ topics within each of the three episodes, we were able to allow for workshops to examine the specifics and complexities within each of the three themes - while the questions/challenges at the end of each episode served to highlight the core elements offered for discussion: In short, the DVD is designed to be engaging and interactive.
In Challenging Extremism, the audience is left with little doubt about the dangers of extremism. However, the DVD aims to encourage young people to talk openly and confidently about the views they may have on the topics raised in each of the episodes – and to express those views within the law of the land, as our democracy allows.
It is my hope, therefore, that the Challenging Extremism DVD will make a real difference.