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HomeBAVC @ Sundance: PI Alums, Stories of Change & Invisible War
BAVC @ Sundance: PI Alums, Stories of Change & Invisible War
Posted on: Friday, January 27 2012 |
by Kim Bender, Director of Development
For anyone at Sundance, I’m at the Filmmaker Lodge Outreach Table this morning from 10:00 to 12:45 to talk about BAVC’s Independent Media programs, MediaMaker Fellows (deadline 2/1/12) and Producers Institute. Please come by to say hi!
Wednesday night I saw Valley of Saints, a small, beautiful film about life on Dal Lake in Kashmir. A narrative feature by first time director Musa Syeed, it delicately wove social and environmental issues into a story about a man torn between the old way of life and a call to go elsewhere. The filmmakers participated in BAVC’s 2011 Producers Institute – the first feature film project to do so. Here is the description of their work at BAVC:
KASHMIR IS BEAUTIFUL is a unique, hybrid social game for Kashmiris who are rewarded online for doing real-world actions of environmental restoration in their communities. Inspired by the narrative film Valley of Saints, the game creates an online playspace within the locally popular Facebook platform that incentivizes players to share, support, and compete in cleaning and greening their homes and neighborhoods. Non-profit partner Mercy Corps is supporting the on-the-ground development, implementation, promotion and impact evaluation of the project. They plan to use KASHMIR IS BEAUTIFUL as a scaleable model for their programs in transitional communities in over 40 countries around the world. The goal is to empower and connect a global network of youth leaders and environmental stewards in regions fraught with conflict and ecological devastation. http://www.valleyofsaints.com/
I attended the panel “Celebrating Stories of Change” which showcased four projects, part of the “Stories of Change” initiative, a five-year partnership with the Sundance Institute and the Skoll Foundation to foster social entrepreneurship through documentary film. Very inspiring.
IndieGame: the Movie chronicles two independent video game developers as they bring their creations to market. For a decidedly un-cinematic subject, the filmmakers Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky succeed in making the geeky, self-identified “obsessive man-boys” into sympathetic characters, and the launches of their products very suspenseful. So much so that I found myself really rooting for the successful launches of “Meatboy 2” and “Fez.” I knew nothing about this small sector of game developers who work completely on their own, and gained a real appreciation for the work they do – and the enormous audiences who love their games.
How to Survive a Plague, directed by David France brought me right back to that terrible time in the 80s and 90s when so many friends were dying, before combination drug therapies for HIV/AIDS started to turn the tide on the epidemic. In addition to chronicling the amazing, brave work of ACT UP, TAG and individual heroes in the movement, it reinforces lessons on how a small group of individuals can grown into an effective movement that influences fundamental change in our society. These guys went up against Big Pharma, the FDA and Congress to up the ante on Aids research and hasten critical testing of drugs. Truly inspiring story of social change.
Invisible War directed by Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated) is on the other hand severely depressing. The story of women in the United States military who have suffered "military sexual assault" while enlisted. Horrible statistics: an estimated 30% of servicewomen are raped by their fellow soldiers. What's even worse is the way the military treats them afterwards, most often punishing the women if they come forward, refusing to pay for their related medical expenses, and no justice for the perpetrators who often go on to higher and higher ranks. The film was incredibly well-done. Super upsetting. At the end was the call to action for the audience: several suggestions were made for specific things people could do to help, from simply listening to veterans to helping change the laws around the military justice system.