European Social Documentary (ESoDoc) 2013

Working Films is happy to announce that ESoDoc is now accepting applications for their 2013 sessions. In the past, executive director Robert West and senior social media strategist Kristin Henry have participated in their workshops as trainers. ESoDoc is a great opportunity for European filmmakers, new media professionals, and NGO film practitioners to learn new ways to develop their documentary and film projects to drive social impact. At ESoDoc, participants are able to plan their project in a creative environment and learn new financing, production and distribution strategies during 3…

Brooklyn Castle Screening + Youth Chess Event

For kids in our hometown of Wilmington, NC that love chess, even a summer thunderstorm couldn’t keep them from coming out to play the game in the park and watching an outdoor screening of Brooklyn Castle. Thanks to our co-hosts for the event, Cape Fear Independent Film Network, we had four big tents to keep us dry while students from local elementary and middle schools competed against one another on the chess board. The kids and their families had a great time competing before the film, and by the time…

Reel Power Update from Mini-grantees

Last March, Working Films announced the fourteen mini-grantees for the Reel Power Film Festival, a series of documentaries that bring you stories from the frontline of our energy future. Organizations hosted Reel Power events to encourage cross-pollination of grassroots organizing strategy and to inspire their communities to leverage local resources and networks. Here are some of the exciting report backs that we’ve received from the first screenings: Frack Free Catskills is a group fighting fracking in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Communities, as well as throughout New York State. They organized…

Reel Economy Update

Fireworks on Independence Day start the month of July out with a bang, but for Working Films the real excitement came at the end of the month. That’s because we had the pleasure of hosting our Reel Economy residency and convening July 23-26. Supported by and presented in collaboration with Chicken and Egg Pictures and The Fledgling Fund, Reel Economy brought together six documentary projects that tell personal stories of the most pressing economic issues with a group of nonprofit organizations, foundations and other allies that are working for economic…

Judith Helfand Guest Blogs for PBS.org on Mentor George Stoney

As Thoughts of George Rise Up: Judith Helfand on Long-Time Mentor George Stoney Original Post can be found at PBS.org’s POV Films Blog Page Soon after the news of George Stoney’s passing was made public, POV asked me to write a few words about him and our work together on The Uprising of ’34, which was broadcast on POV in June 1995 — a fact we were both so very proud of. Life’s divine symmetry had me start writing this on the way to a complicated shoot that I was…

George C. Stoney, a founding member of WF, dies at age 96.

“What happens when the lights come up and the credits roll? What’s the ASK of the audience?”  This classic George Stoney question of social justice documentary filmmakers inspired the creation of Working Films in 1999. George was a founding member of our board of directors and we were deeply saddened to learn of his passing this past Thursday.   He instilled in us, and so many others, a sense of responsibility for the strategic use of film – and powerful storytelling – in fights for social and environmental justice. He…

The Waiting Room needs your help!

The Waiting Room, supported in part by our friends at The Fledgling Fund, is a film and hyper-local media project that presents a day-in-the-life perspective for patients and their caregivers in Highland Hospital’s E.R. waiting room. The film by Pete Nicks recently picked up the Special Jury prize at Silverdocs and is described by Variety as a “rock-solid vertié docu that provides ample evidence why our national health care system needs fixing.”Currently, tens of thousands of patients are not receiving the medical attention they need due to lack of health…

Story Leads to Action @ SilverDocs

On June 19th I had the pleasure of moderating our Story Leads to Action panel with my colleague Judith Helfand, co-founder of both Working Films and Chicken and Egg Pictures. This year’s panel featured the award winning documentary Brooklyn Castle. After watching several clips from the film where we saw the championship chess team and their teachers in action and learned about how budget cuts affected the after school program at I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, we launched into a strategic conversation about how the film can continue to be leveraged…

Back in the U.K. at Sheffield!

Last month, Working Films returned to the Sheffield Doc-Fest, June 13 – 17, hosting a third year of our highly interactive Story Leads to Action panel, co-hosted with the Festival. Coordinated by our UK staffer Sarah Ross, and facilitated by Robert West, Story Leads to Action brought together filmmaker Frederick Gertten, and his new film Big Boys Gone Bananas*, with Marcos Zunino, a legal officer at Article 19 in London specializing in freedom of expression and international law. In 2009, when Frederick Gertten’s film Bananas!* was accepted into the Los…

Reel Education Updates!

Working Films is still hard at work with the filmmakers of the Reel Education collective. We’re excited about plans we have in the works to bring the Reel Ed films to cities across the country, where they can advance education organizing and advocacy on important issues such as arts education, the achievement gap, after school programming, and positive approaches to school discipline. We’re also delighted to announce that we’ve added two new films to the collective, A Community Concern which tells the story of how community organizing can be a…