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Video maker celebrates The Bahamas’ 40th independence with a video a day

Guardian Arts&Culture

Published: Jul 06, 2013

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Nearing the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence, many businesses, organizations and individuals are celebrating the milestone in ways big and small. Guardian Radio talk show host and "video maker" Stephen Hanna is commemorating the occasion with what he calls "OVAD".

Under the name Schin Nguyen (pronounced Shin Win), Hanna produced nearly 40 short videos, one per day starting June 1, which will culminate on Independence Day. The videos, ranging from under 40 seconds to over four minutes, consist of diverse material, each representing a year.

“Well, only a couple of [the videos] align with the date,” Hanna told Guardian Arts&Culture, “because instead of counting it from video one to video 40, I did it like 1973 to 2013. Only [for] a couple of those years I had something picked out, and I knew that this was a pivotal event that happened this year, [so] for that day I’m going to plan to do [something special]. And so [those videos] correlate with the year. 

“And also, I knew Father’s Day was going to land on one day, so I planned to do a Father’s Day video for that one. But beyond that, it's just however I feel that morning or whatever I shot recently or edited recently, stuff like that.”

Filmed primarily with a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera – a Canon EOS 60D – and sports action camera – an HD Hero2, the high quality shorts encompass stop motion, with still images/text; narratives, with a story and actors, and montages of different scenes in Nassau or other islands.

“1980 is called ‘Flamingo’,” said Hanna, who has been interested in shooting and editing video since 2005. “That's the one with a boy underwater flailing for air because 1980 was the year of the HMBS Flamingo incident. 

“And then there's 2002 with ‘Tyranny is Dead Again’, and that was [referencing] the 2002 general election. There's one for 1992, and there's one for 2007. I did not do one for 2012 because I felt that by that time, it's so close to the end of the entire series that I'd probably move on to something else. But 2002, actually 1992 and 2002, are my favorite out of them. 

“Those are the ones that had significance; they correlated in terms of the date with some event and what the video was about. Whereas some people will ask ‘Why was 1989 called Cookies? And why was it about people baking cookies?’ And they're trying to connect what happened in The Bahamas in 1989 that would be related to cookies. The drug trade is the only thing I can think of but that's not what I [was trying to portray]... I just had footage of a friend baking cookies and so that's what I did that day… That's what I felt like doing.”

Hanna’s second OVAD series is more of a challenge to see if the motion photography maven can keep up with shooting and editing every day in addition to it seeming like a natural project to undertake leading up independence.

“At the time, people were always complaining that nothing was happening for independence, and even if I felt like nothing was happening, it wouldn’t make any sense to complain and not do something on whatever little level I could do it. 

“And then there are things I wanted to do and say and put out there; and I felt like this would be a good way to do that as well as actually contribute something to society, as opposed to just complaining all the time that nothing’s happening or nobody's allowing any space for certain things.”

With an associate degree in mass communications and a bachelor’s in English studies, Hanna is also a skilled short story writer, but he says his shoots pay the bills. Under his pseudonym, he has worked mainly on commercials, including some of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) 2012 campaign commercials; music videos, including Chris ‘Sketch’ Carey’s “Whine (For Your Man)”, and various events, including “Blackout” 2010/2011.

• Hanna’s #4OVAD series of videos can be found on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/schinnguyen/

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