New Day Films and Real Utopias
The theme of the 2012 American Sociological Association Conference, “Real Utopias,” encapsulates the ideals of social change integral to New Day Films’ mission since it was first founded in 1971. Several New Day filmmakers attended the ASA conference convened in Denver this August to learn more about how our films can contribute to classroom education.
Sociology Professor Berch Berberoglu of the University of Nevada, who has been using New Day Films in his classes for more than 30 years, enthusiastically shared his feedback: “I’ve been using New Day films in just about every course I teach. With Babies and Banners: The Women’s Emergency Brigade — about the role of women in the 1930s sit-down strike at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, is very inspirational and an excellent tool to raise class-consciousness within the working class. I consider it a real classic that will live forever.”
Perry Threlfall, a former sociology teacher, now the ASA Program Associate for Academic and Professional Affairs, believes it is important to integrate films into lesson planning and provide students with a variety of perspectives and an opportunity to develop diverse learning skills. She shared, “Regardless of what I am teaching, if I am lecturing, then it’s my own voice coming through. If I use film in the coursework, then I’m allowing another voice to teach. The students certainly will gain more from hearing a variety of voices in a variety of media. I believe this is important for a changing pedagogy, and a generation of students who have grown up with technology at the core of their paradigm. As educators, we must adjust to their perspective.”
Threlfall also oversees the conference screening room program. New Day titles have had a significant presence in the ASA conference screening room over the years and five New Day films were screened this year.
New Day member Dawn Valadez was inspired by the conference. “Many people came to our booth to express their love of a New Day film they teach with annually and others were excited to see our new titles.” Likewise, Alice Elliot was glad she made the trip to represent New Day. “Meeting and talking with our customers for four days was inspiring and exhilarating. There are so many smart, curious, and energetic teachers.”
Dr. Berberoglu concluded, “My gratitude to you and your colleagues to document, expose, and reveal much that is kept from the people so that they can again take control of their destiny and advance their interests and those of humanity in a positive direction. I hope that our students will apply what they have learned from watching New Day films to make a difference — by first understanding and then taking action to change society and the world.”