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Wednesday, June 2, 2010, brings the official launch of the 10th annual Media That Matters Film Festival. If you live in New York City, be sure to attend Wednesday night’s world premiere and online launch of this year’s collection. The evening kicks off at 6pm at SVA’s Visual Arts Theater with impACT salon, a pre-screening mixer featuring presenting partners and this year’s filmmakers. At 7pm, the screening begins. Go here to learn more, and buy tickets here.

On Thursday, Arts Engine will host MTM: Impact, a free, daylong event that they promise won’t be a boring, tell-you-what-you-already-know series of discussions. Here’s what that schedule looks like (their words, not ours):

Impact: In the Eye of the Beholder
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Join Pat Aufderheide, the Director of the Center for Social Media, as she moderates a lively panel of filmmakers who have shifted tactics or broken new ground to have a meaningful impact with their filmmaking. This lively conversation will offer a multifaceted debate on the variety of approaches served by short vs. long form films, working with provocative subject matter, and challenging audiences to take action.

Ronit Avni, producer of Budrus, and executive director of Just Vision
Abigail Disney, producer of Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Lynn True, co-director of “A Nomad’s Life” (MTM 8 film) and Summer Pasture (recent premiere at Full Frame)

Change-on-the-Go: React + Release Social Issue Media
1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

What does it mean to be a fast-acting filmmaker when it comes to social change media? Do you sacrifice craft to enact change quickly? And how do you mobilize resources to capture a story before it’s too late? Join Lina Srivistava (Principal of Lina Srivastava Consulting, LLC, former ED of Kids with Cameras) for an interactive discussion about the challenges and benefits of 1) creating fast and furious media campaigns and 2) reacting quickly to stories then produced as longitudinal documentaries. Zach Niles, a visiting faculty member from Haiti’s Ciné Institute, will share lessons learned from the organization’s recent experience of creating documentary content in response to the earthquake. We’ll also tackle the question of how to provide opportunities for quick and substantive action for audiences.

Sean Gardner, League of Young Voters
Zach Niles, Ciné Institute and co-director of Sierre Leone Refugee All-Stars
Jennifer Redfearn, director of “The Next Wave” (MTM 9 Jury Winner) and “Sun Come Up” (recent premiere at Full Frame)
Nancy Schwartzman, director of The Line

Making Media Matter in the Classroom
3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Lalitha Vasudevan (Assistant Professor of Technology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University) leads a conversation with four educators about how they’ve successfully incorporated Media That Matters films into their curriculum—as an introduction to issues of social justice, a means for inspiring change and a pedagogical tool for teachers. The second half of the workshop will be a working session. After viewing one film from this year’s collection, educators will break into groups and brainstorm strategies to incorporate the film into their classrooms, sketch out possible lesson plans and offer ideas for discussion questions.

Kim Allen, Middle School Teacher
Melanie Forstrom, Program Director at Brooklyn Bridge Academy
Britt Hamre, Curriculum and Teaching Lecturer, Teachers College, Columbia University
Maria Hantzopoulos, Assistant Professor of Education at Vassar College

The best part is that for those of you who aren’t able to attend either of the above events, you can still participate in the film festival thanks to Arts Engine and Media That Matters, who aren’t just putting this year’s crop of 12 new shorts online, but are still streaming previous programs dating back to the third festival. Watch a ton of passionate, engaged, short films right here, right now, and take the time to donate to the organization if you like what you see.

— Michael Tully

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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