In October, I did a series of workshops for folks in San Marcos CA about economic inequality, on behalf of the 1500 Stories project. 1500 Stories is a collaborative art, digital storytelling and civic engagement project about rising economic inequality in the U.S. Storygatherers in California have already conducted over 150 in-depth interviews with people from all walks of life, about their struggles and their work and their hopes at different economic positions. Storygathering has also begun in Wisconsin and Ohio. Here, you see a socially engaged art piece called the Stacked Deck, which asks participants to think about and reflect on economic inequality as it is expressed through a deck of thirteen cards featuring documentary photography. The project now has piles of unedited audio and video and is raising funds to edit those stories and make them publicly available on the website and for use at public discussions and forums about economic inequality. Consider making a donation to the project here, and be sure to choose "Other" in the program box and type in 1500 Stories. Everyone has a story to share. Help the project get these stories out.
This spring I wrapped up most of the research and development on my next documentary short, called The Spider Web, about the U.S. War Department's surveillance and propaganda campaign against feminist pacifists in the early 1920s. I visited archives in Chicago IL, Swarthmore PA, Ramapo NJ, and Washington DC. I also filmed interviews with Louise Knight, Jane Addams' biographer, and Dr. Kim Nielsen, who wrote an excellent book about anti-feminism during the First Red Scare. In the process of working on what will be my first historical documentary, I have discovered that I am a secret historian and archive nerd. Who knew?!
Audiences and directors at the Rincon Film Festival in Puerto Rico chose Berning Love as Overall Best Documentary Short. I had the great fortune of wearing many hats on the film--working as a co-editor, associate producer, occasional camera operator, and director of research for the film. Now, Berning Love is on to its next screening--at the Bay Area Women in Film and Media International Shorts Showcase in San Francisco CA, from 6-9pm on Thursday April 13th. You can get tickets to that event here: http://bawifm.org/event-2485003. You can see a trailer for the film here: http://www.berninglovethefilm.com/
Berning Love will be screening at the Green Mountain Film Festival as part of their Vermont Shorts slate. Join some of the crew for a Q&A after the screening. You can buy tickets at https://gmffestival.showare.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=259
I will be sharing archival materials I gathered for a historical documentary I am in development on about the feminist pacifist movement from 1915-1925 and the ways in which the federal government engaged in a direct campaign to splinter the women's movement in the wake of the first Red Scare in the U.S. Visit the California History Center website for more information about the CHC and about the exhibit currently on display through March 23 about the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
A few members of the Berning Love crew (myself included) will be visiting Berlin this week for our screening as part of Shorts Block 2 on Thursday February 9. We are insanely excited about this! Learn more about the festival here. Berning Love is a sweet and funny documentary short about love and politics during the waning days in Washington DC of the Bernie Sanders primary presidential campaign. You can learn more about the film, for which I was co-editor, associate producer and director of research, here.
Come see the first artwork to result from the 1500 Stories project on exhibit in the Justice for All? show this winter at the Euphrat Museum of Art from February 1-March 23rd. For more information about the show, visit http://www.deanza.edu/euphrat/inthemuseum.html. This piece is a collaborative work designed by me using photographs contributed to 1500 Stories by De Anza students as part of a documentary photography project called Visualizing Economic Inequality. Each pair of images documents an aspect of contemporary economic inequality while the overall design mimics the distribution of population and wealth in the U.S. Feel free to join us at the reception on February 16 from 5:30-7:30pm. Learn more about 1500 Stories, or make a donation, at https://1500stories.org/
Berning Love, a documentary short about the search for love during the waning days of the Bernie Sanders primary campaign, was accepted into the Berlin Independent Film Festival. I filled many roles on this film, including director of research, co-writer, assistant producer, co-editor and occasionally second camera. :) If you happen to be in Berlin from February 9-15, 2017, check it out! :)
Berning Love, a documentary short about the search for love during the waning days of the Bernie Sanders primary campaign, was accepted into the Bay Area Women in Film and Media Shorts Showcase. I filled many roles on this film, including director of research, co-writer, assistant producer, co-editor and occasionally second camera. :) The showcase promises to be a wonderful evening of film shorts that had women in leadership roles behind the camera. The showcase is on December 8 starting at 6pm at Second Act, 1727 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117. You can get tickets to the event here. Below are some outtakes from the film--Dr. Doug Pierce, political scientist, discussing the role of emotion in politics.
With #GivingTuesday approaching I am asking for your help with a project I work on called 1500 Stories. This project collects and shares stories about people’s lives at different economic positions in the U.S. to raise awareness about the human costs of our unprecedented levels of economic inequality. In the U.S. right now, the 20 richest people own more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans combined. The need for empathy and action has never been more urgent. The audio you listened to here is one short snippet of the dozens of stories that have been collected so far by volunteers. Storygathering creates a powerful person-to-person connection between the listener and the one sharing his/her stories.
However, in order to broaden the reach of these experiences beyond the two people involved, the project needs professional help. 1500 Stories is trying to raise $10,000 for #GivingTuesday to turn the unedited audio gathered by these volunteers into powerful stories that can be shared online. We need your help. Every dollar counts. You can learn more about the project at our website 1500stories.org. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the project through our fiscal sponsor, the Foothill-De Anza Foundation, here: https://secure.donationpay.org/fhda/. BE SURE TO WRITE 1500 STORIES IN THE “OTHER” BOX! Or if you can't donate, consider sharing the Facebook post about the project.
During my time as an intern at Stone Soup Films, I got to do second camera work and some of the editing for this short profile of University of DC professor Mchezaje "Che" Axum, an agronomist who is working on building people's capacity to grow high-nutrient density foods in urban areas, as part of Stone Soup's DC Heroes series. One of the things I loved about him and his work was the fact that he is also raising awareness about the early Egyptian roots of sustainable agriculture, as well as the complicated history in the U.S. of black people's relationship to farming. And as an academic myself, I am well aware that there is often not only no reward for university professors to engage in public, civically engaged scholarship, but often such activities are frowned upon. Dr. Axum is doing amazing work.
This video blog profiles the outreach efforts of Breast Care for Washington, a clinic founded to increase access to health care for women in DC living south of the Anacostia River. I edited this short while working as an intern with Stone Soup Films, a non-profit that makes pro bono videos for other non-profits.
Check out this wonderful story about Homie Universidad Popular and how the organizers are using the film Homie UP: Stories of Love and Redemption to raise awareness about the impacts of mass incarceration on Latino communities. As Lilian Serrano shares, “Everyone can talk about the numbers, but the film gives faces to mass incarceration. For every person that is in prison, there is a mother, a father, a sibling or even children. I think that is a contribution to the discussion that no one else is making and that’s what makes this project unique.”
It's not too late to make a tax-deductible donation to Stone Soup Films for 2015! I will be interning with Stone Soup Films from the end of January through the end of April, while I am studying at The Documentary Center at George Washington University.
Through the month of November 2015, you can see two of my pieces hanging at the Imaginarium show at the Rayko Photo Center at 428 Third Street in San Francisco. This piece, Americana, is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. The banjo is actually an African instrument brought to the continent thanks to the horrors of slavery and the artistry of African-Americans, yet that history has somehow been erased and it is now associated with white, rural folk music. Both images were produced using images from glossy advertisements (what is more Americana than consumerism?) that, thanks to the lusciousness of these alternative processes, now look homespun and artisanal. Anyway, if you make it to the SOMA district before December, check out the show--there are dozens of amazing images from De Anza art students.
Last year I came across Nicholas Nixon's amazing longitudinal portraits of the Brown sisters. It is rare in our culture to see any documentation of aging, let alone for the same individuals. Anyway, I decided to try to document this for myself through the time honored #handselfie. :)