Since 1999, Working Films has harnessed the humanity, power and vision of nonfiction filmmaking to educate viewers and mobilize communities for positive social change — at home, on the street, and in the halls where public policy gets made.

We’re asking you to give today to support Working Films’ unique approach to making “stories lead to action.”

2013 has been a year of transition. In June we tragically lost Robert West, our beloved co-founder and executive director, to brain cancer. Although deeply saddened, we renewed our commitment to carry out Robert’s vision for Working Films.  With the extraordinary support of our board, our co-founder Judith Helfand, our dedicated staff, and long-time allies in the field we have begun the next chapter for Working Films, and we’re reaching out now for your help.

In 2013 we watched a growing number of states become battlegrounds and testing-sites for ultra conservative policies that are eroding social safety nets, damaging the environment and threatening voting rights.  Working Films’ home state of North Carolina is a prime example!  We responded by putting our Reel Engagement initiative to work in the states, where change is happening.

Reel Engagement supports  organizations, issue leaders and on the ground organizers to use collections of films to reach critical audiences and achieve meaningful impact on some of the biggest issues of our time: climate change (Reel Power), education (Reel Education), the economy (Reel Economy), the growing aging population (Reel Aging) and Reproductive Justice (Reel RJ).

For the past year we’ve had our ear to the ground while field testing ways in which state level organizations working for social and environmental justice can use award-winning Reel Engagement films to build their base, strengthen their efforts, create coalitions, and actively address the critical issues at play. Here are some highlights of that work in 2013:

Strategic, sneak peek screenings of Inequality for All and Citizen Koch launched our Reel Economy campaign – now unfolding in Florida, North Carolina, and beyond.

With filmmaker Josh Fox, we designed a Southeast tour of the Reel Power film Gasland 2. The tour spotlighted the work of local organizations and anti-fracking networks in Texas and North Carolina.

We worked with film festivals like True/False, CIFF and Cucalorus to design and lead strategy summits among leaders in the fields of aging and reproductive justice.

In the last three months alone, we’ve convened over 80 organizations in states across the country to identify shared goals and specific strategies for using Reel Engagement films as a central component of new coalition efforts.

We’re excited about our progress, and we need your help to keep going!

In 2014, we’ll expand the Reel  Economy campaign in North Carolina, Florida and other states in partnership with United for a Fair Economy. We’ll use new Reel Power films like Come Hell or High Water, Bidder 70, and Gasland 2 in Texas and North Carolina to fight fracking and advance clean energy solutions.

We’ll help to strengthen the Moral   Monday/Forward Together movement in our home state of North Carolina, using documentary films from the Reel Engagement cohorts to educate citizens on important issues like fracking, economic inequality, education budget cuts and threats to reproductive rights and justice.

We’ll also train hundreds of social justice and environmental organizers and nonprofits in states around the country on how to make the best use of documentary films to advance their critical work.

Please consider a donation to support these efforts.

$50    helps cover a training session with a nonprofit partner.

$100  helps pay for screening rights fees for under-resourced groups and organizations

$500  helps support a strategic convening of filmmakers and organizers working to advance progress in states where the issues are at a critical tipping point.

We are trying to raise $20,000 in individual donations by December 31, 2013.  Please contribute today.

Thank you for your support of and belief in Working Films!

We wish you, your loved ones and your community a healthy, peaceful and hopeful holiday season.


Anna Lee and Molly Murphy

Interim Co-directors

P.S. Make an even bigger impact with a recurring monthly donation to sustain our work in the new year.

If you would like to make you contribution  in honor of Robert West’s life, vision and legacy, you can donate directly to the Robert West Reel Engagement Fund. Like Robert, the work supported by the Fund is nimble, creative and responsive to the needs and opportunities for social change.

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