What SIGNIS means to me

Interview with Stanley Hector, SIGNIS CommLab graduate
05/03/2021 08:00

Over the last years, SIGNIS has prioritized engaging and giving voice to young communication professionals. 

We believe one cause for hope is found in the next generation of communicators, and have welcomed young people into our Association through many different ways: SIGNIS ALC Joven, our Association for young communication leaders in Latin America, our global network of correspondents launched in 2019, or the many different workshops held by SIGNIS associates around the world, the most recent one being the Citizen Journalists of Hope, organized by SIGNIS Africa.

Above all, we want to give these young communicators a platform to express their hopes and tell their stories so that they can share them with the rest of us. With that in mind, we interviewed Indian film director Stanley Hector, who is also a graduate of our SIGNIS Communication Laboratory (CommLab). We asked him to tell us more about his multifaceted role at SIGNIS, the opportunities he has encountered and what he cherishes the most about his work at our Association.

How did you hear about SIGNIS and when did you join the SIGNIS family?

I was introduced to SIGNIS in the year 2015, during the early years of my filmmaking career. Back then, I used to make short films with Fr. John Paul, who was the director of a Catholic media production house in my hometown, Indore. He recommended my name for a media workshop that was going to take place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Being completely unaware of SIGNIS and its working, I decided to participate and learn more about the organization and the course it had to offer. After finishing the program, I realized that the workshop had been one of the most crucial and life-changing experiences of my professional career, something I could have never anticipated. 

Could you tell us more about your role at SIGNIS? 

At SIGNIS, I work under CommLab, which stands for Communication Laboratory. It’s the brainchild of El Jay, the current vice president of SIGNIS, and focuses primarily on training young media professionals on media ethics so that the work produced by them promote world peace and justice. Another major aspect of CommLab is to promote networking of these young professionals who come from various parts of the globe and work hand in hand on a common project. I’ve also been a trainer for one of the Asian level program and was fascinated by seeing the passion these young participants bring to the workshop. The one thing that I admire the most about the program is that there’s no strict division between the trainers and the participants in terms of a rigid classroom environment. The learning happens two ways and gives a feeling of working on a project as one big family. 

Are you currently working on any exciting projects you would like to share?

I’ve recently finished an online semester of my film course at FAMU – the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Since I was not able to attend the course in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve continued working on the projects that I had produced and developed in my hometown under the online mentorship. One such project is a short film about a young nurse who is on her first assignment of nursing an old, arrogant man who has recently lost his wife. Despite being burdened by the pressure of doing her best first job, the young nurse gradually steps out of her professionalism and tries to work her way through the old man’s arrogant facade to discover a caring mentor and a friend for a lifetime. I’m currently working on the script development and then shall be working on raising funds for the production.

From your personal experience, what have been the main benefits of joining our Association? What do you cherish the most?

The one thing that I cherish the most is understanding the true meaning of professionalism at an early stage. In CommLab, we were taught that professionalism doesn’t just mean getting tasks done. Instead, it’s about working together, making mistakes and learning together. This learning has helped me immensely in my professional career. Along with this, I also cherish the friendships that have been made among fellow members. Plus, the networking that promotes international collaborations.

What message would you like to send to people interested in joining SIGNIS?

Come in with an open heart and a passion for learning. You’ll be doing some of your best work and make some of the best friends.