11th Annual Media That Matters Film Festival will be held on Friday, June 8, 7:00pm at Scribe Video Center (4212 Chestnut Street 3rd Floor). This is a free event.
The Media That Matters Film Festival is the premiere showcase for short films on the most important topics of the day. Local and global, online and in communities around the world, Media That Matters engages diverse audiences and inspires them to take action. From gay rights to global warming, the jury-selected collection represents the work of a diverse group of independent filmmakers, many of whom are under 21. The films are equally diverse in style and content, with documentaries, music videos, animations, experimental work and everything else in between. What all the films have in common is that they spark debate and action in 12 minutes or less. http://www.mediathatmattersfest.org/
Walking Home (4:03 min, USA) Director: Nuala Cabral Throughout my 20s I lived in several cities and saw that street harassment was present everywhere. I realized that navigating street harassment is an art. Growing up I would ignore catcalls and other kinds of harassment, but later found myself in spaces where ignoring these behaviors could lead to violence. I found this fascinating and disturbing, and as a filmmaker, I felt compelled to respond. Walking Home attempts to question and disrupt the acceptance around these normalized, everyday interactions.
After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffee Lands (6:11 min, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua) Directed by Brian Kimmel, Producer, Laura Peterson In a recent survey of small-scale coffee famers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, over 67% indicated they were unable to maintain their normal diet for 3-8 months of the year. After the Harvest is a film that brings the day-to-day challenges of the thin months to life in the voices of coffee farmers themselves, and shares the successes of creative projects that have been established to eliminate this annual period of food insecurity.
Amen (4:35 min, USA) Directed by Yusef Haron. Producer, Michelle Chan Amen is about two men from different faiths and race, who come to an understanding in a local dinner, that they aren’t as different as they may have thought.
Article of Faith (10 min, USA) Director and produced by Christina Antonakos-Wallace I was living four blocks away from the Twin Towers on 9/11/01. That day was devastating; not one of us who witnessed the destruction will ever be the same. And yet, it has been heartbreaking to see our suffering in NYC used as an excuse to violently target Muslims and Arabs, as well as people perceived to be Muslim, such as Sikhs and South Asians. Article of Faith is part of a larger documentary project entitled with Wings and Roots currently in production.
Burning Barriers (8:16 min, USA) Producer: Tribeca Film Institute/ Summer Arts Program Female firefighters have been protecting homes and saving lives for thirty years but continue to remain in the shadows of their male colleagues. Burning Barriers aims to highlight the struggle of these brave women to gain acceptance inside the firehouse as well as in their communities and families. As filmmakers, we were able to bring some attention to an important and troubling issue: the history of gender discrimination and its ongoing role in women’s lives.
Everybody’s Nuts (12 min, USA) Director and producer Fabian Euresti In the beginning, my inspiration for making this piece was a way to escape summer doldrums. It was the summer between my second and final year as a grad student at Cal Arts. I was still months away from shooting my thesis and discovered my little point and shoot camera shot video. I started shooting around images around the house. The more images I shot, the more I started thinking about the accompanying narrative.
Isa’s Final Draft (9:24 min, USA) Produced by Global Action Project By choosing to focus on the personal journey of a young undocumented woman, the youth producers highlighted both the interpersonal (an immigrant parent who doesn’t understand the institutional challenges that their child face) and institutional (the young person’s struggles with a system that blocks her from rights to an education) challenges that disempower their community.
It’s In Your Hands (2:34 min, USA) Director and produced by Andrew Hinton What is It’s In Your Hands about? Well, the short answer is get your film featured on the YouTube homepage. The slightly longer answer begins in Maharashtra, where I met a young couple working in health and sanitation during a recent visit to India. They’re supporting local villagers in implementing solutions to improve water access and quality, and raising awareness of sanitation issues. The figures are pretty startling. 3.5 million children die annually due to diarrhea and acute respiratory infection worldwide – more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. But the good news is that a ridiculously simple act can save large numbers of these kids: hand washing with soap.
LGBT Teens in Chicago (5:13 min, USA) Produced by Free Spirit Media LGBT Teens in Chicago was created by five youth working with Free Spirit Media in partnership with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Free Spirit Media is a non-profit organization that provides access and opportunity in media production to under-served urban youth through hands-on in school and after-school educational programs. The youth filmmakers wanted to explore the topic of homosexuality in high schools in Chicago, exposing various youth perspectives and seeking to promote understanding and respect.
My Fellow American (2:49 min, USA) Directed by Rob Gardner. Produced by Alex Kronemer and Unity Productions Foundation This 2 minute PSA-type film makes these points by juxtaposing a few recent, actual public pronouncements about Muslims against images of American Muslims going about their every day lives, contributing through their various professions and vocations to the fabric of our country. The film gives commonly recognizable faces, faces of neighbors and friends to the people that the angry rhetoric vilifies as being “all terrorists.”
Sick Wid It (10:01 min, USA) Directed and produced by Ryan Malloy and Briar March It is impossible to witness TURF dancing and not become intrigued by this unusual and compelling style of interpretative dance. We first encountered young TURF dancers busking outside of a BART station in downtown San Francisco. Not long after our initial introduction, we made our way to a dance battle, where we met the primary subject of our film, Antoine Sawyer. Not only was Antoine an amazing dancer, but his story acutely demonstrated the power of creativity and self-expression to triumph over violence and hatred. We quickly learned that TURF dancing had not just saved Antoine, but had also saved countless other teens who turned to it and away from the violence prevalent in many urban neighborhoods around the Bay Area.
Talking About It (5:04 min, USA) Director: Isaac Haney-Owens Producer: BAYCAT The film provides people with a snapshot into my life, living with Asperger’s, and my art. Besides turning the camera on myself, I asked my mom Karen a few questions, and I also included some of my photographs at the end. As I say in the film, I wish for people with disabilities to find ways to cope with their lives and challenge themselves to do things that a “normal” person would do. I hope my film fights isolation and creates solidarity.
Talking About It (12:02 min, USA) Directed by Julie Winokur. Produced by Julie Winokur & Talking Eyes Media When I was asked to become a media fellow for the Vietnam Reporting Project, I jumped at the opportunity to try to take a fresh look at a subject I had grown up with, during the Vietnam War era in America. My first reaction was, “isn’t this an old story?” But once I got into the research and realized two very compelling facts: 1) young generations in America and around the world did not know what Agent Orange was, and 2) due to the transmission of the ill effects of dioxin (the active ingredient in Agent Orange), new generations of babies with disabilities were born in both Vietnam and America. That last fact is devastating. My mission is not to point fingers and place blame. It’s to create awareness towards making sure proper care and support is provided for the families and survivors of this ongoing impact from a war that ended more than 35 years ago.