May 4, 2013 johnmkane
By Isabel Hill
New Day filmmakers are showing their Urban Studies films at urban planning conferences, in educational settings and in small community venues. These films give voice to constituencies that are often invisible, reshape narratives about how changes take place in our cities, and put policy makers face to face with issues in a way that defies rhetoric and clarifies fact.
After Brooklyn Matters (a documentary about the controversial Barclays Arena in Brooklyn) premiered at the American Institute of Architects in New York, filmmaker Isabel Hill didn’t have to make a single call to book another screening. “It took off like wildfire,” she recounts. ”The film was shown by over 50 church groups, local development corporations, and community organizations in a six-month period, and really worked to mobilize neighborhood residents against a large real estate project that would have significant environmental and financial implications for all of New York City.” Hill’s other New Day title, Made in Brooklyn (about the importance of manufacturing in New York City) was produced in 1993 but is still in use today. In 2010 she was asked to show it at the Salzburg Congress on Planning and Urban Development , an international network of planning and development specialists, as part of a seminar entitled “Bringing Production Back to the City.” At 20 years old, Made in Brooklyn provided important historical context and showcased an important paradigm for cities rethinking how to retool old buildings for new uses and create jobs that pay well and develop skills. In 2012, Hill returned to the Congress to present a paper on Media Manipulation in Planning Projects and used parts of her more recent film, Brooklyn Matters, to illustrate the paper. “Brooklyn Matters became an organizing piece for our discussions at the 2012 Conference,” said President Stephen Goldsmith. “Unlike the typical Powerpoint demonstration or lecture, Isabel’s excerpts from her film illustrated the lack of planning principles and participatory process in one of the largest real estate projects that New York has ever seen. For urban planners, films such as this one offer a new and very significant literacy. Film is an important addition to the planner’s toolbox.”
My Brooklyn, Kelly Anderson and Allison Lirish Dean’s documentary about the ways city policy has fueled gentrification and displacement in their home borough, premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival and screened for three sold-out weeks at reRun Theater in Dumbo. Although the film was attracting publicity and large audiences, one of Anderson’s main goals was to use the film as an organizing tool for local development organizations to advocate for change. The filmmakers are now working with six local development organizations to develop a strategy for turning the energy around the film into concrete social change. The resulting campaign, “My Brooklyn: Our City,” will make the film available for house parties and screenings for the month of July, and will involve the development of a Facilitator’s Guide that will present key discussion points, policy tools and links to further resources about topics from affordable housing to making land use decisions more transparent and government more accountable to local communities. Anderson says, “New York City is facing a critical year of council races and a mayoral election. The goal of the “My Brooklyn: Our City” campaign is to encourage people to get together, using the film as a catalyst, and discuss concrete ways to have more control over the future of their neighborhoods.” In June, the film will kick off the annual conference of the Planners Network, an association of professionals, activists, academics, and students involved in physical, social, economic and environmental planning. Entitled “Beyond Resilience: Actions for a Just Metropolis,” the conference will use My Brooklyn to frame a discussion about how traditional planning principals and developer-driven policies create injustices and discrimination. Tom Angotti, Director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and one of the conference organizers, said, “My Brooklyn provides an excellent analysis of gentrification, using personal reflections, historical background and a look at the complex process of public policy making. It is a powerful tool for sparking discussion and debate.”
Mark Lipman and Leah Mahan’s new film, Gaining Ground, shows how one Boston organization – the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) — has used a community land trust and local organizing to build and maintain their neighborhood in the face of poverty, disinvestment, real estate speculation, and the foreclosures crisis. Over 300 practitioners in the fields of urban planning and community development convened in September 2012 for the Community Land Trust Network’s annual meeting in Burlington Vermont, where Gaining Ground and Brooklyn Matters were presented. This was the first time Gaining Ground had been shown to an audience outside the Dudley Street community, but it wasn’t the first time the Network has utilized film in its educational and organizing work. Holding Ground, an earlier film about DSNI, and Homes and Hands, a film by Debra Chasnoff and Helen Cohen about community land trusts, have been used in numerous trainings and seminars around the country. “Seeing how other communities have accomplished certain things, sharing successes and failures — these are important lessons presented in the works of Mark, Debra, Helen, and Isabel, and they are critical to the work of our local development organizations as they struggle with similar issues,” relates Melora Hiller, Executive Director of the National Community Land Trust Network.
Over the past 6 months, Gaining Ground was also shown by the California Endowment at a statewide convening of their Building Healthy Communities Initiative and by the National League of Cities in Boston. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition gave Gaining Ground its 2013 Community Empowerment Film Award at an awards banquet in Washington, DC hosted by Dr. Julianne Malvaux. From the DSNI’s perspective, the documentaries have been an enormous help in their ongoing organizing work in the neighborhood, have aided their fundraising efforts and helped raise its profile nationally and internationally.
A Village Called Versailles
Leo Chiang’s Emmy -Award nominated film, A Village Called Versailles, documents the impressive rebuilding and the inspirational transformation of the Vietnamese -American community in New Orleans East after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The residents fully engaged in the post-disaster community planning, held design charrettes, worked closely with recovery agencies, and used effective multi-generational and trans-racial community organizing to demand that their voices be heard in all aspects of the city’s rebuilding and planning efforts. In 2010, A Village Called Versailles was presented at the Katrina@5: Partners in Philanthropy Conference – “Transforming the Gulf Coast in New Orleans,” and at the “Just Metropolis Conference: From Crises to Possibility” in San Francisco. Because of the Versailles community’s remarkable story, screenings of the film have sparked conversations and inspired action around planning and community organizing by such diverse organizations as the Council on Foundations, the National Conference on Volunteering, Boat People SOS, San Francisco Interfaith Council, and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Over 50 universities & libraries around the US have screened the film and these screenings are always followed by a panel discussion not only on the issues within the film, but also local concerns relating to planning, disaster preparedness, and environmental justice.
Land of Opportunity
Like the other filmmakers in this article, Luisa Dantas has always seen her project, Land of Opportunity, which follows a diverse group of people through the contentious early years of rebuilding in post-Katrina New Orleans, as much more than a film. Since the project’s inception, Dantas and producer Rebecca Snedeker, have worked with grassroots groups locally and nationally to raise awareness about urban equity issues that have plagued this unprecedented reconstruction effort. For example, in 2009, on the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to eradicating housing discrimination through education, investigation, and enforcement activities, held an outdoor event and showed excerpts from the unfinished film to foster greater community engagement around the serious housing issues facing New Orleans and the region after Katrina. A year later, Land of Opportunity was shown by a coalition of social justice groups as part of a series of community screenings in five different cities to talk about urban equity and the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. In June of 2010, it joined Leo Chiang’s film at the Just a Metropolis conference in San Francisco, and then in 2011 the finished film was shown by the Urban Affairs Association, an international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service providers, at its annual conference. Discussions about the history of the film project and its outreach partners gave conference participants a sense of how useful film can be in fostering community dialogue. In addition, several books have cited the film and used it as a research tool. Dantas explains, “It is an important way for scholars and practitioners to re-experience what really happened on the ground.”
As more and more conferences and organizations use film as an instrument to help people understand future proposals and past actions, as well as consider case studies from other municipalities, New Day Films is at the forefront of movements for social change in our cities.
May 4, 2013 johnmkane
The Ultimate Wish:
Ending the Nuclear Age
The Ultimate Wish:
Ending the Nuclear Age
by Robert Richter and Kathleen Sullivan
Moving, unforgettable stories by living, courageous, inspirational women who survived two of the world’s most momentous radiation crises: 2011 Fukushima and 1945 Nagasaki.
May 4, 2013 johnmkane
With the recent Supreme Court hearings on same-sex marriage, LGBT rights are once again front page news. For LGBT pride month, we recommend New Day films in our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender category for in-depth and intimate portraits of issues relating to the LGBT community.
Celebrate Father’s Day, June 16, with a range of films about fatherhood.
Father’ s Day by Mark Lipman
Daddy and Papa by Johnny Symons
The Self-Made Man by Susan Stern
Crossing Lines by Indira S. Somani and Leena Jayaswal
March 31, 2013 johnmkane
by Mona Nicoara
Alin, Beni, and Dana, three Roma (”Gypsy”) children from a small Transylvanian village, are among the first participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. In 2006, they set out from their dead-end segregated school for the city, optimistic for education and new friendships with Romanians. Their hopes and innocent optimism quickly sour as they meet with low expectations and further isolation. Shot over four years, this tender vérité story touches on issues ranging from institutionalized racism to public education and intractable poverty, culminating in an outrageous finale that cements the Roma children’s struggle in the annals of egregious human rights violations.
For more information, visit the film page.
Subject area suggestions:
Human Rights and Global Concerns
Children, Youth and Families
Gaining Ground: Building Community
on Dudley Street
by Mark Lipman and Leah Mahan
Foreclosures. Unemployment. Childhood poverty. All these problems have hit American cities hard since the Great Recession.
Gaining Ground, a follow-up to the award-winning documentary Holding Ground (1996), shows how one diverse Boston neighborhood has stemmed the tide against enormous odds. In the midst of the economic meltdown, Gaining Ground explores the innovative, grassroots organizing efforts of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in Boston. DSNI was created 25 years ago when the community had been devastated by bank redlining, arson-for-profit and illegal dumping, and has become one of the preeminent models for community-based change. Over the course of two years, we watch a new generation of leaders working to prevent foreclosures and bring jobs and opportunities for young people to one of the city’s most diverse and economically challenged neighborhoods.
Watch the trailer
Subject area suggestions:
Urban Studies, Community Organizing & The Environment
March 31, 2013 johnmkane
Mental Health Month
45 million Americans experience mental illnesses such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and drug abuse each year. We recommend New Day films about mental health that open a window into the lives of those who struggle with it.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and South Asian Heritage Month
We recommend New Day films in our Asian and Asian American Studies collection.
Jewish American Heritage Month
President Obama’s first visit to Israel has renewed the debate about the Middle East crisis. It has also put a light on the Jewish diaspora in the U.S. as well as abroad. We recommend that you visit our Jewish Studies collection for more insight on the Jewish American community.
March 31, 2013 johnmkane
Twenty-five producers from across the U.S. were selected from more than 150 applicants to participate in the 2013 CPB/PBS Producer’s Academy, which will take place in Boston in early April. Among those attending will be four New Day filmmakers: David Alvarado, Esau Melendez, Dawn Valadez, and Stephanie Wang-Breal.
The CPB/PBS Producers Academy was developed for producers who create or intend to create works for public broadcasting, either through a public television station or independently. It is an opportunity for these producers to work intensively with some of public television’s most talented personnel, developing skills in proposal and script writing, directing and producing on digital platforms, best practices in journalism, editing and post-production, and audience engagement.
Dawn Valadez will be working on Turn It Around, a transmedia project rooted in the stories of Joe, Deprece and Sergio, who travel a new education pipeline: from city streets and jail cells into school classrooms as educators. David Alvarado will develop a transmedia project about how new developments in regenerative medicine can benefit U.S. soldiers with spinal cord injuries, burns and perhaps even PTSD. Stephanie Wang-Breal will be workshopping a new feature documentary, Tough Love, about the choices and services that exist for parents actively trying to prove to the child welfare system that they deserve a second chance to be a parent and keep their families whole.
March 31, 2013 johnmkane
Twitch and Shout
Documentary Fortnight: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film is an annual festival in New York City that highlights “the art of the documentary.” In 2013, the festival included a retrospective of programs from PBS’ flagship independent documentary series POV, including three New Day films: Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, Twitch and Shout, and Where Soldiers Come From.
“Having a screening at MoMA was a bit of a deja vu for me,” said Laurel Chiten, the director of Twitch and Shout, a documentary about Tourette Syndrome. “In that same theatre, twenty years earlier, I found out Twitch and Shout had been accepted for POV. I was pleasantly surprised that, 20 years later, there was a full audience with a lot to say after the screening.”
March 31, 2013 johnmkane
By Linda Hoaglund, New Day member
Given New Day filmmakers’ commitment to educational distribution, it comes as no surprise that many have produced film study guides for educators to complement their films. Although some film study guides are still produced in printed formats, access to the Internet and the swift evolution of digital technologies now provide a wide range of alternatives to New Day filmmakers producing supplemental materials. These developments have also made it easier for filmmakers to partner with a range of organizations to develop and host educational tools.
New Day filmmaker Paco de Onis developed his own interactive online resource, www.ijcentral.org, to coincide with the release of his film The Reckoning , about the creation and first years of the International Criminal Court. The site augments information in the film and fosters a global conversation about international justice. Regular updates on the International Criminal Court and its efforts to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity keep interested parties current on this issue. De Onis is pleased that the site has increased transparency and visibility, and made information more accessible to a widespread audience. He relates, “Four years after we created it, IJCentral is being incorporated into the American Bar Association Human Rights Section’s ICC Project, where it will be used in workshops and to share best practices in international law gleaned from tribunals around the world.“
Other filmmakers create their own websites dedicated specifically to their films, to host relevant educational tools.
Nancy Kelly developed an 80-page Teaching Guide and Community Screening Kit to coincide with her film’s broadcast on PBS’ America ReFramed series in March 2013. TRUST is a film about a group of underserved Latino teenage actors who create a daring, original play from the true-life story of a fellow ensemble member who survived rape, incest, and a harrowing immigration journey. Kelly developed the guide in partnership with educators, theater artists and organizations working to prevent child sexual abuse, including Generation Five, San Francisco Women Against Rape, and Stop It Now! The guide is supplemented with 6 video modules from the film, includes 7 arts activity-based lessons that teachers can do with their students after showing them the film, and will be available online at PBS Learning Media.
No Dinosaurs in Heaven
No Dinosaurs in Heaven is a film essay that examines the hijacking of science education by religious fundamentalists, threatening the separation of church and state and dangerously undermining scientific literacy. Filmmaker Greta Schiller’s online study guide includes an extensive discussion guide, suggested activities, and a video of a discussion between the filmmaker, National Center for Science Education, Executive Director Dr. Eugenie Scott and a New York City high school science teacher. It also includes a behind-the-scenes video of how the film crew used solar panels to charge their cameras and laptops during an 8-day filming trip through the Grand Canyon.
There Once was an Island
For her website, Briar March put together a suite of online resources from a variety of grassroots and educational organizations that build on the knowledge presented in her film, There Once was an Island. March’s film explores climate change through the lens of a small Pacific-island community that faces relocation and cultural death when a flood sweeps away buildings and residents’ belongings. On the film’s website, viewers can read a community screening guide and a study guide for teachers, and download publicity and press materials. March says, “Rising sea-levels and extreme weather events directly impact us all, particularly in coastal areas. Some of the biggest issues are experienced by people in the developing world who, ironically, contribute very little to the problem.“ These online resources are designed to allow audiences to connect personally with climate change, using the film as a starting point for learning and action.
ANPO: Art X War
Many New Day film websites link directly to sites that relate to the content of their films, a key strategy for expanding audiences. Resistance to the continuing presence of U.S. military bases in Japan since the end of World War II is the theme of Linda Hoaglund’s film, ANPO: Art X War, a cinematic collage of stunning art by Japan’s foremost contemporary artists. To strengthen the visual aftermath of her film, Hoaglund links to the MIT-based online educational site, VisualizingCulture, a set of permanent online galleries and essays about the artists and artwork featured in her film. In addition, Hoaglund produced a supplemental video “teaching guide” that illuminates the historical context of events depicted in the film. The guide features the Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Dr. John Dower and is available through the film’s website.
Teachings of the Tree: The Work of Bruce Miller
Working with an outside educational consultant, or partnering with an educational institution, are other ways that New Day filmmakers have enhanced and expanded their educational materials. For her films Teachings of the Tree
People: The Work of Bruce Miller and The Red Pines, Katie Jennings used a grant from the National Geographic Education Foundation to create full curriculum booklets and evaluate their use in pilot classrooms. Jennings and her team videotaped master teachers delivering lessons, and interviewed their students. The resulting short videos are “Pictures of Practice” for early career teachers. The project, “Experiencing Film: An Active Approach,” is archived on the National Geographic Education , IslandWood and New Day websites.
The film Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. The documentary shows how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us, and what we can do about it. The online guide that filmmaker Suzan Beraza developed with an outside consultant team is an easy-to-access 22-page curriculum guide for grades 4-12 in .pdf format (download from http://www.newday.com/films/bagit.html). By saving paper and other resources, this format reverberates with the messages in the film. The .pdf also includes links to other sources and resources.
Another New Day film, Straightlaced, unearths how popular pressures around gender and sexuality are confining American teens. In collaboration with many high school educators and experts in sexuality and gender issues, filmmaker Debra Chasnoff developed a 165-page study guide that offers detailed plans for using the film with youth and adults. She also re-packaged Straightlaced as a two-DVD set, which includes, as extra features, shorter excerpts of the film organized by theme. “For example, we talk about the ways that gender and sexuality intersect with culture, race, and class. We went through the film found all the moments in the film where those intersections surface,” Chasnoff says. “Online, we provide Straightlaced Discussion Guides, for sparking dialogue about the complex gender-based pressures affecting today’s youth.“
New Day filmmakers continue to explore the range and variety of methods of educational distribution and, most importantly, share their findings with one another and with the world. This collaboration between filmmakers, educators and viewers is one of the elements that make our educational distribution model unique and adaptive.
February 28, 2013 johnmkane
Hurricane Sandy has finally launched a national debate about the sustainability of our natural environment. In honor of Earth Month, we recommend New Day films about the environment, urban studies and community organizing, which probe the major challenges facing the earth and solutions to minimize human impact.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month and
Month of the Military Child
We recommend New Day films about children, youth and families that open a window into children’s lives and struggles and what some people have done to combat abuse in times of peace and war.
February 28, 2013 johnmkane
We know that media librarians are trying to keep their current film and video collections available, even as they adapt to technological changes. That’s why we are offering a collection-wide 30% discount on DVDs for any institution that currently owns that title on VHS. Use the discount code VHSWOW to activate this offer.
If you own a VHS or DVD copy of a particular title, you can also receive 30% off a variety of institutional streaming options for that same title, easily accessible on our dedicated portal. We offer a multi-year institutional stream, a 14-day in-class license, and a 90-day on-demand license. Just click the box “MY INSTITUTION ALREADY OWNS THIS TITLE ON DVD OR VHS” to receive the discount.
Take this opportunity to upgrade your New Day Films collection now. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at www.newday.com.