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AFI DOCS Screens "India's Daughter"

After Jyoti Singh was attacked, Indians took to the streets in protest. Photo Credit: www.IndiasDaughter.comThe AFI DOCS film festival screened Leslee Udwin’s retrospective documentary, “India’s Daughter,” last week in Washington, D.C. The film is Udwin’s directorial debut and her first documentary, although she has produced six other films and worked as a professional actor for decades.

The hour-long film chronicles the case of Indian medical student Jyoti Singh, who was brutally raped on a bus by a group of men in December 2012. The night Singh and her friend were attacked in Delhi, they were returning home from an early movie. She had just finished a year of medical school – a remarkable triumph for a girl who had grown up in poverty. Singh survived the attack, but she died of her injuries only days later. Her case spurred public backlash against the cultural norms and laws that may tacitly condone gender-based violence in India.Read more...

Journalism, Web Docs Are Key Topics at AFI Docs Conference

'FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath delivers the keynote address at AFI Docs.This article was original published on Documentary.org (Documentary magazine) by the International Documentary Association. 

"Why isn't FRONTLINE more like Minecraft?"

In her keynote address to the AFI DOCS Filmmaker ConferenceFRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath relayed her 9-year-old son’s question posed at an MIT Open Docs Media Lab event. (For the uninitiated, Minecraft, the virtual reality creation game, is the hottest activity around for the most native of digital-natives, the pre-tween iPad generation.) Aronson-Rath spoke of being inspired at her week-long immersion into nonlinear storytelling ideation at MIT, and the importance of paying attention to the Minecraft question—and a Minecraft-playing audience—as the future of documentary storytelling continues to unfold.

For the filmmakers, strategists, industry professionals and film students in attendance at this year’s Conference (June 18-19), the future of documentary was a central theme, along with risk-taking in the blurred lines between documentary storytelling and investigative journalism. The Washington, DC-based conference, presented in partnership with IDA, also focused on its own native themes: the deep impact and connection between documentaries and public policy, legislation and public affairs.Read more...

Nuestra Cuba: Women, Filmmaking and Equality

Young girls in Regla, HavanaAfter the Cuban revolution of 1959, cinema would become a major component in the socio-political revolution of the Cuban consciousness. Some filmmakers would experience a rise to fame, while the names of other filmmakers were almost forgotten in the public memory.  In March, as a graduate MFA candidate in the American University School of Communication, I embarked on the filming of Nuestra Cuba (Our Cuba), a documentary that follows the untold stories of the Institute of Cuban Cinematographic Art and Industry’s (ICIAC) first women and Afro-Cuban filmmakers: Sara Gomez and Gloria Rolando.  Read more...

Q&A With Georgiy Molodtsov, Winner of the "Media That Matters" Award for UNBIND YOURSELF

Poster for "Unbind Yourself" - a social cause marketing campaign in KyrgyzstanGeorgiy Molodtsov, a Fulbright scholar in the MA program at American University, was this year's winner of the "Media That Matters" award for his work on "Unbind Yourself". The project was recently presented at Cannes Lions, the biggest advertising festival in the world.

This interview has been edited and condensed.Read more...

CMSI Co-director Brigid Maher's Social Impact Documentary THE MAMA SHERPAS: MIDWIVES ACROSS AMERICA Premieres in California

From left: Executive Producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein; Director/Producer Brigid Maher; Co-Producer Kari Barber and Associate Producer Kelsey Marsh. Photo taken by: Jenny Quicksall PhotographyNearly four years after having a VBAC delivery attended by a hospital nurse-midwife, CMSI co-director Brigid Maher’s social impact documentary The Mama Sherpas: Midwives Across America premiered this week at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA and at the UCSF Nursing School in San Francisco, CA. Executive producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein (The Business of Being Born) were in attendance.

The premiere events were organized to raise awareness about barriers to midwifery practice and specifically brought light to California AB1306, a full practice authority bill currently pending in CA legislatureRead more...