Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reaching Out on Global Warming

On Sunday, April 15th Everything’s Cool co-director Judith Helfand and Robert West, co-founder and executive director of Working Films, participated on a panel at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival about using film to support the movement to end global warming. Working Films is coordinating the two-year audience and community engagement campaign for Everything’s Cool. The panel was sponsored by the Fledgling Fund and moderated by Fledgling’s founder Diana Barrett. Diane Weyermann and Lisa Day of Participant Productions were also on the panel speaking about An Inconvenient Truth.

The panel emphasized the need for filmmakers to listen to the needs of organizers in order to form a campaign that will effectively support the movement. Robert and Judith illustrated Working Films’ methodology for the audience by discussing their partnerships formed around the Everything’s Cool world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

Audience members asked: What comes first, the film or the movement? The panel made it clear that it has to be a reciprocal relationship. Robert said, “the environmental movement – like all strives for justice – needs the skills of filmmakers, crafting the stories that will incite and ignite audiences. Film and video hold unique power to move audiences to action.” Judith explained that it is helpful to get feedback early on in the production process in order to create a movie that can be used as a tool for the movement. By working in close partnership with the organizations and activists on the ground, filmmakers are able to connect their stories to current campaigns and initiatives which take the film and audience to another level of engagement – action.