PR 03/09: BAVC ANNOUNCES 2009 PRODUCERS INSTITUTE PROJECTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2009

Press Contact: Wendy Levy
(415) 558-2170

EIGHT NEW DOCUMENTARY TEAMS TO PARTICIPATE IN BAY AREA VIDEO COALITION'S
2009 PRODUCERS INSTITUTE FOR NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES

Internationally recognized public media lab in San Francisco helps
award-winning documentary producers create interactive social justice
projects.

San Francisco, CA. Eight documentary teams have been selected to develop interactive Web, mobile, multimedia, and game projects at the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) in San Francisco from May 29 - June 7.

Projects
selected for 2009 include stories from local, national, and
international producers on a wide range of social justice topics
including racism and apartheid, public health and the environment,
human rights, and the global food crisis:

AMERICAN MEAT
Alejandro de Onis

In the documentary "American Meat", producer (Alejandro de Onis) and
director (Graham Meriwether) explore the impact of the recent economic
downturn on industrial agriculture, and how one farmer in Virginia,
Joel Salatin, is leading a small but growing group of farmers who are
looking to expand the influence of local small-scale farms

THE ELDERS PROJECT
Marc Boothe

"The
Elders Project" is a major cross-media project that will engage
intergenerational participants using a combination of photography, oral
history, video, spoken word, text and interactive digital platforms to
document and preserve the untold stories of the first generation of
African-Caribbean settlers who came to Britain in the early 50's. The
Elders Project will provide a voice to under-represented young people
and elders both in the UK and the US, engaging new, transitional
audiences with innovative ways to tell their stories. The project will
create both live physical and virtual spaces where participants can
experience and create content through a remix in the tradition of ‘call
and response' in a unique cultural mashup. Through a partnership with
the Tate Modern, this ambitious project will incorporate a major
photographic exhibition, a social networking platform and content
management tools. Marc Boothe is the Executive Director of B3 Media,
one of the UK's leading creative hubs for emerging black and minority
ethnic artists and producers.

G.COM
Corey Tong

Transcending
social, cultural, linguistic, generational and national borders, G.com
is a multi-media, multi-platform, global channel and web portal - an
intimate digital storytelling forum by, for and about international
LGBT culture. G.COM will include professionally produced original
content, including a documentary series featuring international news,
social justice and public interest stories from global LGBT
communities, along with user-contributed stories uploaded from queer
artists and activists around the world. Additionally, the website will
include aggregated resources and networks within an interactive map
interface that will link LGBT NGOs and human rights organizations to
each other, as well as to media and tools relevant to their work.
Producer Corey Tong is developing this project with Emmy & Academy
Award nominated director Johnny Symons.

HAVE YOU HEARD FROM JOHANNESBURG
Connie Field

Have
You Heard From Johannesburg (HYHJ) is a new a six-part documentary
series that tells the story of the global movement that took on South
Africa's apartheid regime and reveals how everyday people helped bring
one of the most brutally repressive political systems in the world to
its knees. Pulling together the many threads of this global story for
the first time in any medium, "Have You Heard From Johannesburg" is an
inspiring example for citizens and movements across the world. At the
Institute, Academy-Award winning director Connie Field and her team
will build an interactive, educational platform where drag-and-drop
media "modules" created from "Have You Heard" footage will connect to
blogs, online videos, maps, social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc),
RSS news and digital photo feeds to create a dynamic, participatory
lesson planner and civic engagement tool.

HOPE AND HIGH WATER
Peter Nicks

More
than one third of all Americans have no health insurance. And as more
Americans lose their jobs, public hospitals are experiencing an
increase in people seeking care. Hope and High Water is a documentary
about a young band of public health executives at Highland Hospital in
Oakland, California, persevering despite daunting systemic and
financial obstacles. At the Institute, Emmy Award winner Peter Nicks
and his team will develop Public Medicine/Public Lives, a hybrid,
multiplatform public media experience that will bring the film into the
conversations at center of the public health crisis, including
"face-wall"-style video exhibitions in Emergency Rooms, public Twitter
stations that will include reports from people living without health
insurance, and a unique online portal that will distribute these
stories nationally and become an archive for the testimonials that will
highlight the urgency of the national dialogue around health care. The
Executive Producer for this project is Academy Award winner Rob Epstein.

MINE
Jennifer Gilomen & Sally Rubin

To
keep up with our increasing demand for energy, humankind is mining the
earth for natural resources and putting communities worldwide at risk.
Through an intimate, human story, the documentary "MINE" tells the
story of a town deep in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky,
where coal is king. Through an integrated media campaign that includes
a podcast series disseminated through Appalachian Voices' "Most
Endangered Mountains" Google Earth collection, educational curriculum
and community action kits, "MINE" will have a deep impact with a
diverse audience. At the Institute, Co-directors Jennifer Gilomen and
Sally Rubin will build a 3D Virtual Mine in order to bring the
experience of mountaintop removal mining to a new level, empowering
communities that now live in the shadows of extractive industries.

SANDS OF SILENCE
Chelo Alvarez-Stehle

In the documentary "Sands of Silence," we learn some gruesome facts: there
are 27 million slaves in the world today; and human trafficking is a
global business that yields $9 billion annually. Every year in the
United States, 18,000 women and children are trafficked and turned into
sex slaves. Rooted on the filmmaker’s own experience of seeing her sister being taken away as a child, Sands of Silence juxtaposes the tragedy of human trafficking in California’s Latino Community with stories of resilience and fortitude, exploring
the hearts of women who have been subjected to the most hideous degradations, yet have recovered their dignity and are today an
inspiration in the fight for a world without slavery. This documentary film is an intimate, poetic portrait that explores the universality of gender violence and suggests that breaking the silence is the first step to put an end to it. At the Institute, Award-winning producer Chelo Alvarez-Stehle and her team will develop "SOS_SLAVES",
a unique, avatar-based video game to raise awareness about global human
trafficking. In a geo-located, media-rich environment, players will
learn how to avoid being sold and exploited, and how to identify a
captive person, call a hotline, alert authorities, and get involved in
the issues on the ground in their own communities.

THE WAY WE GET BY
Gita Pullapilly

"The Way We Get By" is an intimate story of three senior citizens in America
as they struggle with growing old and rediscovering their reasons for
living. Dedicating their lives to greeting almost 800,000 troops at a
tiny airport in Maine, Bill Knight, Joan Gaudet, and Jerry Mundy find
the strength to overcome their personal battles and demonstrate the
meaning of community during a time of need. At the Institute, Gita and
her team will develop a mobile interface and social networking tool
using MMS and Flash Lite to enable troops and the military families,
veterans, and other visitors to participate in a robust, global support
network - featuring customized e-greetings and an interactive,
searchable archive. Producer Gita Pullapilly is an award-winning
television journalist and Fulbright Scholar whose stories have aired on
CBS, CNN, and ABC.

Major funding for the Producers Institute is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Additional
foundation support for the Producers Institute is provided by The
Nathan Cummings Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
and The James Irvine Foundation.

The Producers Institute for New Media Technologies connects independent
producers and their socially relevant content to emerging models of
storytelling and distribution. Through the Institute, documentary
production teams from across the US, Europe, and South America spend
ten days at BAVC working with technologists, designers, storytellers,
and programmers to develop new models of participatory media. Mentors
from leading technology companies, including Apple, Adobe, Google,
Mobile Active, Phantom Compass, Pentura, Map Office and others, work in
teams to design and develop working prototypes, which are presented to
international funding and review panels at the end of the Institute.

Projects from past Institutes
include: a virtual, 3D Guantanamo Bay prison in Second Life; a national
hate crime social network and Google Earth mash-up based on the
national PBS broadcast series "Not In Our Town"; an interactive web
portal for the international justice movement incorporating live
twitter feeds and SMS based on the award-winning film "The Reckoning."

Patrice
O'Neill, producer of" Not In Our Town" has said of the Institute, "As
filmmakers and people trying to create the right media tools for them,
we have been under funded and have had such a lack of institutional
support . . . [the Producers Institute] is the most support we've
received in twelve years. And it has been incredible."

 

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The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) was founded in 1976 to support
freedom of expression by making advanced media technology accessible to
independent media makers and nonprofits. We teach. We empower creative
expression. We preserve the past. And we develop future media makers
and innovators. BAVC's mission is to be the nation's most advanced
noncommercial media access and training center. Visit BAVC on-line at www.bavc.org.