San Francisco, CA, January 24, 2011 - The Global Social Change Film Festival and Institute (GSCFFI) is excited to announce the semifinalist films for its inaugural festival to be held in Ubud, Bali April 13-17, 2011.
The GSCFFI aims to create a space where activists, filmmakers and local communities come together and use the power of film to promote progressive social change and intercultural understandings.
Reflecting the GSCFFI's international vision, the semifinalists delve into pressing social issues from communities across the globe, including Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Turkey,Bali, Japan, Korea, Australia, the UK and New Orleans. Tackling diverse topics such as climate change, pollution, mountaintop removal, industrial agriculture, gender, gay rights, health care, midwifery, genocide, peace movements, cultural struggle and women filmmakers, the semifinalists share a commitment to using the power of film to raise awareness, fight injustices and prove that another world is possible. Films were selected on their ability to uncover new territory on a contemporary social issue, tell a compelling story, incorporate technical skill and creativity and inspire action.
"Beating the Bomb" by Meera Patel, "The Burning Season" by Cathy Henkel, "Carbon Nation "by Peter Byck, "Ciclovida" by Matt Feinstein, "City of Borders" by Yun Suh,"Climate Refugees" by Michael Nash, "Colour Change" by Fabio Cavadini, "Deep Down" by Sally Rubin, "Dog Sweat" by Hossein Keshavarz, "Fambul Tok" by Sara Terry, "In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee" by Deanne Borshay Liem, "Inclusion" by Kenichi Oguri, "Guerilla Midwife" by Déjà Bernhardt, "Megamall" by Vera Aronow, "9000 Needles" by Doug Dearth, "There Once was an Island" by Briar March, "A Village Called Versailles" by S. Leo Chiang, "Race to Nowhere" by Vicki Abeles, "Nothing Rhymes with Ngaparjti" by Suzy Bates, "Strange Birds in Paradise" by Charlie Hill-Smith, "The Last Survivor" by Michael Pertnoy, "Voices Unveiled" by Binnur Karaevli and "Women Behind the Camera" by Alexis Krasilovsky.
Terry's "Fambul Tok" follows John Caulker, founder of the Famul Tok, a grassroots reconciliation organization in West Africa's Sierra Leone that brings perpetrators and victims together in truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Set in the aftermath of the brutal civil war that devastated the country, the film weaves together stories of redemption, healing and community made possible through their culture of forgiveness. Revealing a side of Africa left untouched by mainstream international media, Famul Tok provides a powerful portrait of the strength and beauty of African culture and community that serves as a lesson to us all.
Nash's "Climate Refugees" and Byck's "Carbon Nation" present new perspectives on one of the most pressing and prolific transnational problems of our time: Climate change. "Climate Refugees" focuses on the displacement of entire communities worldwide by climate-induced environmental disasters, such as droughts, desertification, hurricanes, cyclones, fires, flooding and tornadoes. Exploring the plight of these diasporic communities, the film challenges viewers to imagine climate change as a significant human rights issue. Byck's "Carbon Nation," billed as "a climate change solutions movie (that doesn't event care if you believe in climate change)," recasts climate change in terms of monetary savings, job creation, patriotism and technological competition. "Carbon Nation" promises that increased investment in alternative energy research, development and production will rebuild the U.S. economy and provide a solution to the most urgent environmental catastrophe of our time.
The GSCFFI is hosting events, screenings and workshops in conjunction with the festival in hopes of supporting independent and emerging filmmakers dedicated to social change and empowering activists working in film. The theme for GSCFFI Bali 2011 is "Women & Film."
Multiple Emmy award-winning and two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Jonathan Stack will be hosting a four-day filmmaking workshop intensive to coincide with the film festival in Ubud April 13-17. Fifteen budding filmmakers will be selected for the workshop where they will get hands-on experience and professional training on the complete process of documentary filmmaking, from initial story development to a completed documentary. At the end of this once in a lifetime opportunity, the completed films will be screened in front of a live audience the last night of the GSCFFI Film Festival.
EngageMedia, an organization at the forefront of the social justice, environmental and new media movements in the Asia Pacific and the recipient of the first GSCFFI Innovator Award, will also be hosting a workshop during the GSCFFI Film Festival. Working with independent filmmakers, video activists, technologists, campaigners and social movements, EngageMedia creates wider audiences for movement messages through the creation of a peer network of video makers, educators, and screening organizations. The distribution network consists of EngageMedia.org, an online video sharing site, Plumi, a free and open source video sharing platform, and Transmission, a global network of media activists developing online video distribution tools.
Nia Dinata, Indonesia born filmmaker, producer, director, screenplay writer and GSCFFIhonoree, will teach a course on filmmaking. In addition to her own film work Dinata, an amazingly diverse and socially conscious, award-winning amazingly diverse and socially conscious, award-winning filmmaker, works to support aspiring and independent throughout Indonesia.
"We created this film festival and institute to promote and inspire film and media that entertain and engage audiences. The quality of storytelling is especially important for us as is the potential of a film to reach a wide audience and inspire social action," says GSCFFI Founder and Director Cynthia Phillips. "The inaugural GSCFFI Film Festival in Bali is already creating an international community of filmmakers and activists working for environmental and social justice and a support network for aspiring activist filmmakers everywhere," continues Phillips. Plans for the GSCFFI 2012 in New Orleans are already under way.
The eight finalists will be announced February 15, 2011.
Global Social Change Film Festival & Institute