Based on the coast of North Carolina and working across the state since 1999, Working Films is among the very first organizations ever formed to leverage the power of nonfiction film for social and environmental justice. Our work in the last decade in North Carolina has included statewide tours that have engaged hundreds of partners and thousands of residents across our state, informing and involving them in meaningful action and long haul efforts to address critical issues in our state. These include Moral Movies, Coal Ash Stories, Democracy for Sale, Civics of Justice, Fracking Stories, Shore Stories, Stories Beyond Borders, and Revisioning Recovery.
Our history of partnerships is perhaps our greatest strength as we work to shift oppressive systems in North Carolina. Current and longtime recurring partners includes: Apoyo, Appalachian Voices, Black Workers for Justice, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Accion, Comunidad Colectiva, Carolina Jews for Justice, CineOdyssey Film Festival, Cucalorus Festival, Cape Fear River Watch, Duke Center for Documentary Studies, Faith Action International House, Full Frame Film Festival, the Hayti Heritage Center Film Festival, the Lumbee Film Festival, New Hanover County NAACP, New Hanover Disaster Coalition, New Hanover Resiliency Task Force, NC ACLU, NC Environmental Justice Network, North Carolina Humanities, NC Justice Center, North Carolina Black Film Festival, North Carolina NAACP, Seeds of H.O.P.E., Southern Documentary Fund, Student Action with Farmworkers, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Southerners On New Ground, Surfrider Foundation, Women AdvaNCe, among many others (whom you can read about by clicking the links above). We aim to co-create the upcoming Amplifying Abolition tour in North Carolina with groups and organizations who share our vision and goals, including Durham Beyond Policing, Education Justice Alliance, Emancipate NC, and the Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Taskforce.
Our efforts are responsive and timely. As North Carolina faces attacks on our systems of democracy, civil rights, and environmental protection, quick and creative methods are needed to inform and engage residents when sudden policy changes and unexpected events become a threat. At the same time, we focus on long haul movement building, equipping organizers to utilize film as an ongoing resource in their strategies for social change. Interviews and surveys with our partners overwhelmingly indicate that our work has built their constituent base; increased public comments at key regulatory and policy moments; helped grassroots campaigns win; strengthened intersectional coalitions; and forged tighter connections between advocates working in different geographies. Some of our most meaningful outcomes have been the relationship formed between our partners who were previously siloed in their work.
Working Films also serves Black filmmakers and Southeastern nonprofits and grassroots groups through the Cucalorus Works-in-Progress program, which involves local grassroots organizations and nonprofits in informing the direction of documentary films that elevate issues of racial, economic, and social justice. Through intimate, closed door film screenings local change leaders, whose lived experiences and work align with the films’ content, provide valuable feedback to artists as they continue to edit and plan for how their films can make an impact once they are completed. Through the WiP Lab, Southeastern groups and organizations have a unique opportunity to engage their members, supporters, and new audiences, around issues of critical importance, and to shape upcoming films that they will be able to use in the future to advance their work.
Our work with North Carolina filmmakers and audiences includes a focus on illuminating ethical considerations that lift up the need for consensual, transparent, and care centered approaches to storytelling.