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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I attended the Media That Matters conference this weekend. This year's theme was Change For Good. The MTM conference is designed for social documentary filmmakers and everything involved in social documentary filmmaking. When you make a social documentary, you're doing more than just making a documentary, because the goal of your documentary, if you want to have a successful social documentary, is to enact positive change.

For example, let's say you make a documentary about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. And let's say that this film is called Budrus.

And let's say that this is the trailer...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQQ8F2W5eB0

Your goal is for peace to breakout between the Israelis and Palestinians. That's a hefty goal, for sure. So you take it one village at a time. Also, the website to the film can be found here.

Another documentary featured at the conference was Black Folk Don't.... This is a web series that, well, let me show you the trailer.

This is Season 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgkXhzvqKA

This series involves all black people, but no experts. These are people speaking from experiences alone (except for a special show in season two, which will feature only white people). The website with all of the webisodes can be found here (Season 2 hasn't been released yet, I don't think).

There were a lot of documentaries of all shapes and sizes featured and discussed at this conference, but I'll share with you one more: 30 Mosques in 30 Days. It started out as a blog, which reached out to all over the world (China, England, Luxembourg). Actually, it started out with a couple of jackasses on twitter and facebook (paraphrasing Aman Ali). Then people suggested blogging. And then while blogging, people suggested making a documentary. The entire documentary was funded by the people -- all online fundraising, no corporate sponsors. And during their 30-day trip, they slept in mosques or crashed at the homes of supporters.

The blog can be found here.

And this is the filmmakers on CNN (Also, Aman Ali is a standup comedian -- he was hilarious)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybc_1b5cokA

Also, The Interrupters will be on Frontline this Tuesday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS5Hjhy1RhM

I have 9 full pages of notes if anyone is interested. And I'll probably share more trailers and whatnot if there's any interest in this thread.
 

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Seems amazing. Wish i was here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So, I had to write a paper on the conference. This is that paper:

[SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!]Let's say you make a documentary about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. And let's say you call this film Budrus. And let's say that this is the trailer to Budrus [insert trailer here]. As a social documentary, your goal probably has nothing to do with ticket sales or box office numbers. The goal of a social documentary is, generally, to enact positive, social change. With a documentary such as Budrus, your goal might be for peace to breakout between the Israelis and Palestinians. That's a lofty goal, for sure, so you take it one village at a time. Budrus was just one of several documentaries featured at the 2012 Media That Matters conference at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, DC.

\tMeredith Blake, Founder and CEO of Cause & Effect-a strategy consulting and management firm in the business of high-impact social change-began the conference with an inspiring keynote speech, reminding the audience that "social change is hard work" and "isn't always sexy or glitzy." Social change is "longterm and ever-changing and does not happen overnight, or even with one documentary."

\tFeatured in Blake's speech was a case study for the "groundbreaking campaign" for the "critically-acclaimed" and "award-winning" PBS series, This Emotional Life. The campaign involved the researching of 24 psychological issues, such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), happiness, humor, and meditation, which lasted six months. These issues were featured in six hours of programming. A trailer for one of the issues, PTSD, was featured along with a trailer for one of the toolkit DVDs, Helping Military Families. The Helping Military Families trailer was interesting, but featured no servicewomen, despite there being nearly 300,000 women currently in the military who also leave families when they are deployed, like servicemen, to combat zones for a year or more at a time.

\tOn the second day of the conference, there were three panel discussions. One of the panels, "Thinking Big," dealt with the strategies of media makers who are targeting wide-scale change with practical actions. For his film Give Up Tomorrow, a documentary chronicling the case of a young man, Paco Larranaga, wrongly convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death in the Philippines, panelist Michael Collins' "Big Think" was saving Paco's life. After Paco's life was saved, Collins' next and current "Big Think" is freeing Paco. Collins had two other "Big Thinks" as well: abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines, and abolishing the death penalty worldwide. As of June 24, 2006, capital punishment has been abolished in the Philippines. Collins reminded the audience that "goals are constantly evolving."

\tIn another panel, "Partnerships for Change" dealt with how documentarians on the ground are working with web developers, nonprofits, and the audience to define the next generation of partnering. Panelist Aman Ali had an interesting partnership for his project 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a Ramadan road trip with his friend Bassam Tariq across the United States visiting 30 mosques in 30 states in, you guessed it, 30 days. What first started out with "a couple of jackasses on twitter and Facebook," eventually led to a blog documenting their visits to 30 mosques around New York, which led the following year to their 30 day road trip across the country. A road trip funded entirely from their audience using an online crowdfunding website Kickstarter. A Christian girl in Kentucky even set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the project.

\tThe final panel, "Small Acts Make a Big Difference," explored how filmmakers are encouraging small acts that lead to big change. Panelist Suzan Beraza's film Bag It, began from a "Small Act" - a less-bags challenge between the mayors of Telluride and Aspen - and ended up becoming something much larger, encompassing society's dependency on everything plastic, its origins, and the impact plastic has on our health and the environment. To help tell this story, Suzan decided to use a non-celebrity, insisting that "Hollywood hosts are too good looking, and you just don't trust them." Instead, she used one of her friends, Jeb Berrier, "a likable, goofy person [who] seems like a friend."

\tI was fortunate enough to attend this year's Media That Matters conference for free, but had I been forced to pay $50 like a normal person, it would have been well worth it. The Media That Matters conference is invaluable for anyone interested in enacting social change through both documentary and narrative film.[/SPOILER]
 
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