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Pull Focus: Rachel Lears & Robin Blotnick

Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick codirected "The Hand That Feeds," a documentary about a group of workers in a New York bakery who risked deportation and unemployment to unionize and fight for better conditions. For our 15th Annual Human Rights Film Series, Lears and Blotnick came to the Center to teach a master class and to talk to us about their experiences on the picket lines.

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Pull Focus: Katy Chevigny

Katy Chevigny

Katy Chevigny is an award-winning filmmaker and a co-founder of Big Mouth Productions. For her latest project, Chevigny teamed up with fellow filmmaker Ross Kauffman ("Born into Brothels") to make "E-Team," a documentary which follows an elite group of human rights abuse investigators as they document and expose atrocities in war-torn Libya and Syria. The film premiered at Sundance 2014, where it won the Cinematography Award for US Documentary, and has garnered multiple other awards. 

Chevigny's previous credits include "Election Day," which premiered at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in 2007 and was broadcast on PBS in 2008, and "Deadline," an investigation into Illinois Governor George Ryan's commutation of death sentences. "Deadline," which she co-directed with Kirsten Johnson, was nominated for an Emmy Award and won the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award, among others.

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Go to: Katy Chevigny - Transcript

Pull Focus: Jessica Yu

Jessica YuJessica Yu is the Academy Award-winning director of “Last Call at the Oasis,” a documentary on importance of water and the often-overlooked yet seriously damaging effects of the global water crisis. The film, which was inspired by Alex Prud'homme's book “The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the 21st Century,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before moving to theaters.

On a recent visit to the Center, Yu sat down with American University professor Larry Kirkman to discuss her involvement in “Last Call,” the development and impact of the film, and her upcoming documentary “Misconception” on the implications of population growth.

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Go to: Jessica Yu Video Transcripts

Pull Focus: Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter Photo

Dawn Porter is a director/producer and the founder of Trilogy Films. Realscreen named Dawn one of their 2012 Doc Hot Shots 15 emerging directors to watch. Her lastest film "Gideon's Army" follows the personal life of three young public defenders in the deep south, who devoted their lives fighting with a broken criminal justice system. "Gideon's Army" premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO Documentary Films. 

Porter recently visited the Center to share with us her experience in making "Gideon's Army", her relationship with the characters and the film's social impact. Watch her interview unfold below and check out the film’s website for more information.

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Pull Focus: Bernardo Ruiz

Bernardo Ruiz

Bernardo Ruiz is a renowned director and producer who has contributed to numerous award-winning documentaries with Latino themes. His latest film "Reportero" tells the story of a veteran reporter and his colleagues at an independent newsweekly who defy powerful drug cartels and corrupt officials to continue reporting the news.

Ruiz is also the director and producer of "American Experience: Roberto Clemente" (PBS, 2008) and the co-producer of "The Sixth Section" (P.O.V.). As a director and producer for hire, he directed programs for PBS, MTV, the Discovery Networks, Travel Channel, Planet Green and the National Geographic Channel. He founded "Quiet Pictures" in 2007 to create a platform for more activist documentary films.

Ruiz recounts his experiences filming in Tijuana, providing insight into Mexico's current state of affairs and the reaction "Reportero" has acquired in these regions and internationally. Watch his interview unfold and check out the film's website for more information.

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