Who better to speak about Reel Change than someone who’s already gone through it? I checked in with a few of the alumni from our first Managing Social Issue Film Campaigns workshop to find out what they gained from the training. Here’s what they had to say:

When I attended the 3-day Reel Change workshop last November, in New York City, I expected an intensive crash course in conceptualizing and executing a successful outreach campaign for my documentary, DAMELO TODO. Luckily, I got that and more. I met smart and thoughtful filmmakers who not only had amazing projects, but who also were generous in providing their feedback and sharing their skills and expertise. Coupled with the experience and generosity of the staff at Working Films and Fledgling Fund (co-organizers of the event), the insight I gained on those three days was invaluable. I especially appreciated the immersive element of the workshop — what a true luxury it was to spend an entire weekend fine-tuning audience-building strategies. Also truly transformative was our conviction that our films could make a difference and — coupled with grassroots collective organizing — help to effect change for a just world.
Felix Endara
Manager of Filmmaker Services, Arts Engine, Inc.
Producer, DAMELO TODO (IFP Documentary Rough Cut Labs, 2010)

Since taking the Reel Engagement Workshop, I have been able to expand “The Engage Media Project,” a resource portal and professional service I founded for filmmakers and other media producers, as well as activists, educators, outreach and engagement coordinators, interested in using media as a tool for social change. I am very proud to say that we will be coordinating the campaign for a Sundance documentary about the criminal case of seven queer women of color who fought back against sexual harassment on the street, resulting in a media firestorm and unjust prison sentences. Our campaign is an ambitious one that includes having the felony convictions overturned and empowering countless others who have loved ones incarcerated due to similar bias and over-sentencing. The workshop was both informative and inspiring, and has galvanized my efforts to use media as a concrete tool for social change.
Sabrina S. Gordon
Executive Director, The Engage Media Project

The Managing Social Issue Film Campaigns workshop was an eye-opening experience. I not only learned the conceptual framework behind community engagement, but was given concrete tools I could take back and use in our engagement efforts. Since taking the workshop, we have fostered vital partnerships with social issue activist groups, overhauled our website to increase audience engagement, and have worked with national advocacy organizations who will use the film as a tool to effect policy change. This training is a must for anyone making or involved with a social issue film.
Shira Potash
Co-producer and director, Food Stamped
Associate producer, Crime After Crime

The NYC workshop on social and community engagement helped to guide how we have structured the current Interrupters campaign. We’ve focused on gauging the right partnerships not just to raise public awareness but also to reach and affect audiences that are reflected as subjects in films. The workshop and the tools supplied have helped me and my team frame more finite and intentional goals for the campaign.

The NYC seminar also helped build on a foundation and added new tools to implement an impactful campaign…The three day seminar helped me reflect on unused competencies that I could apply in building a successful social engagement campaign.

I am positive that there is room to build much stronger and meaningful campaigns using not only documentary films but other forms of media as well. The Working Films’ and Fledging Fund’s Reel Change training is excellent for expanding this important and necessary work.
L. Anton Seals Jr
Community Engagement Specialist
The Interrupters Campaign, Kartemquin Films

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