PicMo Monthly Reel: February 2020

We’ve missed you. How’s your 2020 been? 

In January, some of our team was at Sundance where we saw dozens of inspiring and heartbreaking films, some of our favorites include NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS, CRIP CAMP, SUMMERTIME, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA and the ACLU’s THE FIGHT. 

Big shout out to our friends at Refinery29 and UTA for co-producing a party with us to celebrate impact-driven films – and to the hundreds of industry friends that joined us! R29’s President and Chief Content Officer, Amy Emmerich and PicMo’s leadership duo Christie Marchese and Wendy Cohen kicked off the event introducing the Sundance World Premiere screening of EMBRACE. The Refinery29 show follows an Iranian American medical student in her quest to save her family with a new side hustle. The cast Kathreen Khavari, Eddie Huangr, and Mitra Jouhari joined in along with the film’s director, Jessica Sanders, and creator, Chuck Neal.

In early February, the Muslim American Leadership Alliance hosted screenings of THE CAVE in DC, Chicago and New York City. They partnered with us, National Geographic, and Osmosis to tell the story of humanitarian Dr. Amani Ballour and how she risked her life to provide medical support for the residents of a Syrian city under attack. The screenings were followed by a panel discussion and networking opportunity for everyone in attendance. 

Also. We’re hiring! We’re looking for someone to lead our Impact Distribution team! Apply here.

Warmly, Team PicMo

Maria Ressa Defends Democracy In A THOUSAND CUTS 

In the illuminating new documentary A THOUSAND CUTS, filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz sheds light on the erosion of democracy through social media disinformation and the suppression of the press. Nowhere is this more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, where journalist Maria Ressa places her freedom on the line in defense of truth and democracy.

We are worked with Luminate and the Committee to Protect Journalists to create “The New Authoritarian Guide to Suppressing Democracy,” a step-by-step how-to guide for anti-democracy figureheads that pulled in real facts on social media disinformation, press freedom, and human rights abuses. At the film’s world premiere at Sundance, we distributed 1,000 copies to audience and press at screenings, panels, and parties throughout Park City to amplify the film’s warning – democracy is dying by 1,000 cuts. Fortunately, we have Maria on the side of truth and freedom.

AFTER PARKLAND Inspires Meaningful Dialogue Around Gun Safety in our School

Filmed in the days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people, AFTER PARKLAND is an intimate chronicle that weaves together interviews, verité footage, and personal videos into a moving portrait of grief and one community’s crusade to turn tragedy into progress. We collaborated with the film team and their distributer Kino Lorber for a Nationwide Day of Conversation on February 12th, engaging organizations around the country to screen the film for their communities, and start meaningful dialogue that will lead to tangible change to end gun violence.

We also partnered TurboVote to create a customized voter registration portal to encourage attendees to check their voter registration status and developed a home viewing kit ahead of the film’s digital release. 

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS Highlights The Bard Prison Initiative

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS, directed by award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick and executive produced by Ken Burns, tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women earning college degrees and turning their lives around in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the United States – the Bard Prison Initiative. Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis.

We are currently working with academic institutions, activists and nonprofits across the country on a community and campus screening tour. While increasing awareness for the Bard Prison Initiative and their programs, our impact screening tour aims to inspire audiences, college students in particular, to get involved in criminal justice reform and anti-recidivism programs on their campus and in their community. Watch a 6-minute preview here!

PicMo Team Member Snapshot

Meet Eden Sapir! Eden is our Impact Distribution Coordinator based out of our NYC office who focuses on grassroots screening tours and community building for our documentary and narrative film projects in order to maximize their social impact.

Where he grew up: I grew up in North Jersey in a small town without any arthouse-theaters. But I was committed and would drive to Montclair to see foreign and independent films – stories that weren’t playing near me.

What is he working on right now: I’m actively coordinating impact screening tours for the feature documentaries MY BEAUTIFUL STUTTER & BORN TO BE, as well as the PBS 4-part documentary series, COLLEGE BEHIND BARS.

His favorite recent film: The best film I’ve seen recently is CLEMENCY, written/directed by Chinonye Chukwu. This film floored me from its opening scene. It’s a uniquely artful and vital narrative like no other, plus Alfre Woodard is a godsend and I am grateful to have witnessed her artistry. 

A fun fact about Eden: I love films and creating spaces that amplify unique independent films that reflect diverse voices and vital stories. As a result, I created a digital film hub, Cinema4Culture, to do just that. I write articles about international films, filmmakers and the distribution landscape. I also engage with other filmmakers and film lovers on my blog’s Instagram page: @cinema4culture

Say hi: eden.sapir@picturemotion.com

  • Bring Global Fund For Women’s new docuseries FUNDAMENTAL, to your community for International Women’s Day, March 8th. 
  • Learn more about the Bard Prison Initiative, featured in the documentary COLLEGE BEHIND BARS. 
  • Start conversations within your community on how we can end gun violence by watching AFTER PARKLAND on Hulu, and then register to vote or sign up for election reminders.
  • 30 million people in the US have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them are undiagnosed. Organize an educational opportunity on this important topic for your community through an advanced screening of BLOOD SUGAR RISING.
  • Spark an important conversation about the importance of de-stigmatizing abortion through hosting a screening of OURS TO TELL.
  • 30 grassroots screenings and conversations taking place around OURS TO TELL 
  • 18 advance community screenings of BLOOD SUGAR RISING 
  • 120 total community screenings confirmed for THE CAVE

Accelerator Starfish Launches Program for Diverse Talent | Hollywood Reporter

Creative Avenues & Other Takeaways For Financing Social Impact Entertainment | Picture Motion

Inside the High-Stakes Quest to Make ‘American Factory’ a Documentary Hit | Medium

Oscar-Winning Director Rayka Zehtabchi on Challenging Abortion Stigma with Storytelling | Harper’s Bazaar

ReFrame Partners With Delta Airlines for In-Flight Channels Featuring Female-Led Films | Hollywood Reporter

WATCH NOW: Record Number of LGBTQ Super Bowl Ads | Glaad

“…We Wanted Our Cameras to Listen and Play Witness”: Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman on After Parkland | Filmmaker Magazine

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