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Josh Oppenheimer Wants to Reinvent the Human Rights Film

The Look of SilenceAt the Based on a True Story conference associated with the True/False Film Fest, filmmaker Josh Oppenheimer explained why his latest film, The Look of Silence, is not about past genocide but about current trauma.

The maker’s earlier Oscar-nominated work, The Act of Killing, followed Indonesian gangsters who are still congratulating themselves on their work in the mid-1960s murdering workers who were accused of being Communists. In The Look of Silence, he follows a survivor—the younger brother of a man whose murder was, unusually, witnessed. The survivor begins a process of confronting murderers who are still supported by the most powerful political forces in the society. Read more...

Hunting Ground Registers Impact on Its Debut

The Hunting GroundThe Hunting Ground, the latest film from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (The Invisible War), vividly demonstrates the power of well-told stories to effect change. At a private screening in Washington, D.C just before its opening on Feb. 27, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) discussed legislation to address the issues it raises about rape on campus.

Through interviews with women and men from campuses private, public and religious; old and ivied and mall-like regional; and from cozily small to anonymously big, The Hunting Ground shows the prevalence of rape and its long-term consequences of PTSD and disrupted lives. Read more...

Documentaries Telling Truth to Power

Dangerous DocumentariesMany of the issues most important to understand and discuss are also those that powerful people or institutions don’t want made public. How do independent makers of documentaries that tell truth to power cope with this reality? A just-released report by the Center for Media & Social Impact discusses the risks, and how they can be mitigated to encourage more and better expression on the important issues of the day.

The report, built on interviews with 53 people including makers, lawyers, insurers, funders and programmers, was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Read more...

Building Outreach Campaigns

Brigid MaherWith growing consensus about the importance of social impact in documentary filmmaking, many major funders: The Fledgling Fund, Pare Lorentz Doc Fund, and Tribeca Film Institute, among others, now require outreach campaigns be included in their grant outcomes. Can successful impact strategies can be catalysts for attitude and behavior change?  American University Professor Brigid Maher, Producer/Director of The Mama Sherpas, developed a trial impact study to evaluate society’s thoughts on midwifery; dispelling myths and altering mindsets about nurse-midwives and their practice. Read more...

Social Engagement with Social Television: Sharan Sklar on Media That Matters.

Sharan SklarThe 2015 Media That Matters conference is right around the corner, so we decided to let our #MTMDC panelists to introduce themselves and explain in their own words how they engage with media that matters.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS)’ director of business development, Sharan Sklar is responsible on the growth of OVEE a social TV platform. She will be presenting at  the Media Tools Showcase. Read more...