About Us

The DevCom Workshop’s overall mission is twofold:  First to introduce students of international development to the systematic use of development communications, especially to the power of using the videocamera as a field notebook; second to produce short documentaries about development both to model low-cost, effective documentary filmmaking and in the classroom, to demonstrate how well-designed short films can bring to life for students some key issues of international development.   

For students and teachers of development, the random access character of digital media allows teachers to call-up materials to illustrate a variety of points of view and respond flexibly to “teachable moments” as they arise.  To capitalize on this potential, DevCom has developed for all its DVDs a Teachers' Menu to facilitate direct access to all scenes on the DVDrandom access.  

DevCom's hallmark is the creative collaboration of filmmakers interested in international development, and social scientists interested in using film to clarify development issues.  Workshop brings together filmmaker and social science mentors and students of development who seek to develop an understanding of how digital media can be used to multiply the effectiveness of their knowledge of international development. Helping to facilitate this interactive process, the Communications Program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government annually sponsors several DevCom workshops. In addition, individual consultations with mentors help students to produce more effective multimedia products.  Three of DevCom's films were commissioned by Harvard Kennedy School faculty.  


The DevCom website supports the organization’s mission by facilitating participant information exchange, providing access to recordings of past workshops, showing samples of student work, and promoting the distribution of DevCom productions through its e-store at CreateSpace . While currently little used, the Forum provides a potential discussion framework for workshop participants and mentors.  Suggesting other possible uses, we configured a section of the forum to support a faculty member's need for an online forum.  


People: DevCom Mentors

Charles Mann is the founder of the DevCom Workshop and a development economist with a longstanding interest in development communications. In 1985 he came from the Rockefeller Foundation to the Harvard Institute for International Development. Among his other HIID assignments, for over 10 years he served the Government of Malawi as Food Security Advisor. He founded DevCom in 2001 and retired from Harvard in 2002.  Since 2001 the HKS Communications Program has been sponsoring DevComWorkshops at HKS.  DevCom's Turkey and Akbank film is a module of a teaching case in the HKS Case Program

Michael Sheridan,
 an independent producer of film and video, left his position as lecturer in the Visual Arts department at Northeastern University  in 2007 to become a Fulbright Fellow teaching filmmaking in Indonesia.  Having earlier directed documentaries for Oxfam America and Bread for the World, he has a special interest in international issues of social and economic development. He is currently developing a documentary about the use of outside aid in Afghanistan "Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War" and has done an amazing job training a group of Afghan filmmakers who already have produced a splendid body of work. Information at:  SheridanWorks.com

Roy Colle
is Professor Emeritus of development communications at Cornell University. Honored with an award for lifetime achievement by the International Development Communication Association, he has exceptional knowledge of the evolving role of communications in international development. In 1982, Roy invited Charles to his class at Cornell to present Charles' experiences with the Rockefeller Foundation in Turkey using audiocassettes and the videocamera with farmers and policymakers.  The audiocassette soap opera with its embedded technology messages became the model for a weekly radio program by the Turkish Radio and Television service.  Among his many writings, Roy is the author of the online book "Advocacy and Interventions: Readings in Communication and Development" published in 2007 by Internet-First University Press hosted by Cornell Univiersity. Roy Colle at Linkedin.

Franco Sacchi Artist in residence at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. His feature length documentary "This is Nollywood" about the Nigerian film industry has been an official selection in many film festivals, in selected theatres, and won Franco a prestigous invitation to present at the TED conference in Arusha where his presentation was singled out for archival global streaming.  Assisted by a grant from the Sundance Documentary Institute he co-directed "Waiting for Armageddon," a feature length documentary about the growing number of evangelical Christians in the US who believe the Apocalypse is imminent.  An official selection in many film festivals, and in selected theatres.  More at his website and at  IMDB.com

Catherine Rielly  President, Rubia, and Professor of international community economic development, taught for eight years at Southern New Hampshire University's School of Community Economic Development where she was International Academic Program Chair.  A Political Economist, she has conducted research, training, and technical assistance for over twenty five years on women's empowerment, public policy, economics, democratization and governance, working with governments, international donors, and universities.  She earned a B.A. from Stanford University and an MPA and Ph.D from the Harvard Kennedy School.  Catherine and Charles Mann first worked together in 1985 on the multimedia AskARIES project at the Harvard Institute for International Development and reunited when Catherine began using DevCom productions in her teaching at SCED/SNHU and subsequently selected DevCom to produce Paths of Hope.

Jamil Simon is President of Spectrum Media, an independent producer of educational programs and documentaries.  As communications strategist for many development agencies, he has designed and helped to implement many innovative communications and outreach programs, especially in Africa.  He is currently directing a major communications project in Haiti.  Jamil presents DevCom's workshops at HKS on the strategic use of development communications.   

Mary Jirmanus is a filmmaker, editor and community organizer. She has directed productions for the Harvard Kennedy School's Mexico Program and Ecuador's Coordinadora Nacional Campesina (CNC) and is co-director on a series of shorts for the Native American Project at the Boston Children'sMuseum. Mary is a founding member of the Ecuadorian media and human rights collective, Aldea Komunicativa, and from 2006-2008, co-produced Via Comunidad,a weekly rural-focused arts and education television program broadcast on UTV24 in Ibarra, Ecuador. She is a member of Dollars & Sense Magazine editorial collective, and was a 2006 Harvard University Human Rights Fellow. She holds an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard College.  Bio and CV and Editing Reel.

Douglas Karr and Sierra Bellows were on location in Malawi making "Lifecycles: A Story of AIDS in Malawi" where Charles Mann hired them to shoot footage that later became DevCom's Starter Pack film.  Later they came to Cambridge for DevCom to record a talk by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and tape a DevCom workshop by Roy Colle.  After Lifecycles' festival and Canadian broadcast run, DevCom converted Lifecycles to DVD format, adding a Teachers' menu that has become a DevCom signature feature on subsequent productions.  For Doug and Sierra's early work:  HumanScaleProductions.com.  

Douglas Karr subsequently moved from Toronto to New York where he founded the comprehensive production company Chop Wood Carry Water.  See his dynamite ShowReel 2010, and the splendid pitch reel for Dwelling, a narrative feature film written and directed by Doug, starring Alan Cumming (X-Men 2) and Dania Guira (The Visitor), Alan Cumming, Executive Producer. 

Andrew Rice Ex-Teaching Fellow, Harvard film program.  Andrew helped Charles get started editing with Final Cut Pro.

Clint Kenley Ex-Teaching Fellow, Harvard film program and editor of Starter Pack, now at UCLA:  IMDb

Michael Palmer Harvard film program alumnus, musician and early DevCom editor and director.  Through a highly competitive search process, Martin Scorcese selected Mikey as part of the editing team for his forthcoming film Living in the Material World: George Harrison. While pressures of filmmaking forced Mikey to leave his band, they carry-on:  InvisibleDowntown.com and GreatUnknowns.com

Allison Kiessling Harvard film program alumna and designer of DevCom website and many others. Her firm in LA:  Waking Media

Tony Hale Filmmaker and DevCom editor, Tony holds a BA in mathematics from Boston College and a Citation in Multimedia and Digital Content from Harvard University. tonyfilm.com

Cornine Adams teaches digital photography and Photoshop at Falmouth Adult Education and runs a computer workshop in the Falmouth Schools. She is Charles' go-to person on Photoshop issues in DevCom's DVD production.  Corine's website.


People: DevCom Associates

These are students, filmmakers, development activists, academics and others who have participated in workshops and have expressed their continuing interest in DevCom's activites. Read about their activies and reflections in Network.  (This feature not yet implemented) 


DevCom's Institutional Sponsor
DevCom Workshop is a not-for-profit, pro bono activity of Powersharing, Inc., a multi-media publishing company founded in 1982 by Charles and Susanne Mann to produce and distribute The Powersharing Series, video and audiotapes about personal computers. With over 100 talks by industry luminaries at the Boston Computer Society, the Computer Museum, and computer user groups, this series represents an incomparable oral history of the early days of personal computing. Powersharing Inc. is incorporated in Delaware and is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as an “S Corporation” small business under its regulation 1120. Any profits are donated to UNICEF.


Contact Info

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Mailing Address:
9 Ransom Road, Falmouth MA 02540
(508) 548-0328

Donate, Volunteer & Sponsor a Mentor
Graduates and Teaching Fellows from the Harvard College Film Program have played a key role in shaping the DevCom program and its productions. We are raising funds to offer a small stipend to such talented and well-trained individuals who are willing to work with students to help them make effective visual documentation about international development issues. Donations are most conveniently made through PayPal’s secure system. Make a donation or become a volunteer.


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