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Friday, May 14, 2010

Making Your Media Matter Conference 2010: Not in Our Town

This session was a roundtable featuring documentary filmmakers who had created content and a social action campaign around their film. First up, Not in Our Town, a documentary about the residents of Billings, Montana who responded to an upsurge of anti-Semitic hate crimes in their town by taking a stand, through a partnership of religious groups, unions, artists and newspapers people made change – one of most dramatic symbols of this when the local newspaper took decision to print a paper menorah and 10,00 people in the town displayed it in their window. Since then the filmmaker has traveled the country documenting how the film being used – igniting change in communities.
Filmmaker, Patrice O Neill talks about this as a new model – this is not outreach – rather, this is making change by showing how others have done it. She talked about the importance of partners – in her case facing history/ and PBS. There is a sequel to Not In Our Town (as yet un-named) that will focus on the Long Island murder of Marcelo Lucero and the town’s attempt to take a stand against hate-crime directed at new immigrants. She talks about the intent of her work having an impact on her aesthetics -– story told by a chorus: a community of voices – discomfort is part of the landscape. She ended with a plug for BAVC producers institute – this is an intensive program offered by BAVC that pairs a documentary with a team of developers/interactive media designers and together you work to devise/prototype multi-platform tools to support the film and actions. not in our emerged from this – a key feature is of the site is a map where hate crimes / positive actions / facing history sites are plotted, another is the bank of 35 amateur videos that are made available for people to download and use – e.g. Gunn High School – now there have been 200,000 uses of the film.

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