PicMo Monthly Reel: May 2020

May is Mental Health Awareness month. Given that we are amidst a pandemic, it couldn’t be at a more necessary time. In response to COVID-19, and now working from home, we ramped up our mental health efforts internally. We decided to share them with you all in case it was helpful even in the smallest way. 

🧘‍♀️Take Wellness Breaks: The 8-hour workday just isn’t the same anymore. We’ve been encouraging breaks throughout the workday for walks, naps, and calling family. Anything to help lift the mood! 

🧘‍♀️ Set a Routine: Setting a daily routine can help maintain a good headspace. Whether it’s making a morning tea, having some me-time before hopping on to a computer, setting a skincare routine, or getting up at the same time every day. 

🧘‍♀️Offering Wellness Sessions: Sometimes it helps relieve the mental burden to have someone make a choice for you. So, every week in May we’ve offered a one-hour team wellness break for yoga, meditation, or just having a group pet hang. 

🧘‍♀️Use Slack: We stepped up our usage of an existing  #HealthAndWellness Slack channel, where everyone shares their favorite yoga videos, apps, meditations, and opportunities to join virtual wellness activities.

🧘‍♂️Take Mental Health Days: Mental health should be viewed equally to physical health. So we take “sick days” to protect and take care of our mental health. This is especially important since we all work on tough issues, many of which personally affect us. 

🧘‍♂️Talk About Therapy: Help to reduce any stigma around therapy by talking about it. Put it in your calendar, especially if you have shared calendars at work or with family, and don’t cancel! 

🧘‍♂️Reach Out: The biggest tip we can share is to check in with each other. Since we don’t see each other in an office every day, we have tried to prioritize looking out for each other’s needs and keeping an open line of communication. Text your colleagues and industry friends today and just say hi. 

We also recognize that for many, especially in our field, financial health is also at risk. Thanks to the generous support of Perspective Fund, the Documentary Impact Producer Relief Fund will provide grants to help alleviate the acute hardships faced by freelance impact producers working anywhere in the world. Learn more

We hope you all are taking care of yourselves during these trying times. If you have additional tips and ideas, email us. 

Warmly,  Team PicMo

Communities Came Together To Discuss Michelle Obama’s Becoming

Ahead of Mother’s Day Netflix and Michelle Obama announced a Global Watch Party for Mrs. Obama’s documentary, Becoming. The watch party took place on Twitter and encouraged audiences to tweet along as they watched the on Netflix and became the number one trending topic in the US within an hour of its inception.  Following the themes of the film, we reached out to an array of organizations, non-profits, and communities to join us in nuanced conversations around the importance of community, education, and empowering young people. Partners included incredible organizations such as Black Girls RockRoom to Read, and more. With their combined reach of over a million followers, their custom hashtags were used hundreds of times and reaching millions. You can check them out by following #IAMBECOMING.

Supporting Women In Politics In The Time Of COVID

On Wednesday, we produced virtual event around the film Surge bringing together organizations supporting women in politics. The feature documentary covers the record number of first-time female candidates who ran, won, and upended politics in the historic 2018 midterm elections. Surge follows three candidates in Texas, Indiana, and Illinois who each were looking to flip their red district to blue and captures the struggles that female candidates face – struggles that will only be more difficult to overcome in the wake of COVID-19. 

The event included previewing select clips from the film followed by an interactive panel discussion with the film’s directors, Hannah R. Rosenzweig and Wendy Sachs; A’shanti Gholar of EMERGE America; executive producer, activist, and actress Alyssa Milano; 2018 Democratic Congressional Nominee and TX-6 Progress Texas Board Member Jana Lynn Sanchez; and U.S. Representative D IL-14 Lauren Underwood on how we can all support women in politics in the time of COVID-19 by turning out the woman voter and supporting female candidates. Audiences from key organizations learned how they can use the film in the future to support and engage women candidates and increase voter turnout among women as we look ahead to 2020.

Tomorrow’s Hope helps raise $1 million dollars for Early Education Program

On April 27, the Ounce hosted its annual fundraising event featuring a virtual screening of Tomorrow’s Hope, which highlights the community impact of Ounce of Prevention Fund‘s Educare Chicago school, an early education center on Chicago’s South Side that provides the highest quality early care and education for children from birth to age 5. The film follows three high school seniors from Educare’s first-ever preschool class who, together with their families, navigate their way forward through a sea of incredible challenges. The virtual event had 1,250 guests in attendance from across the country and began with a special introduction from Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot. After watching the film, guests shared that they felt moved and inspired and that they had a better understanding of the importance of early education, ultimately leading to $1 million in gifts to the Ounce! We encourage you to learn more about the film by visiting its website and to continue supporting the Ounce’s amazing work by donating here.

Ours To Tell Brings Reproductive Justice Advocates Together Virtually

Ours To Tell is the story of four people living beautiful and empowered lives because they had access to an abortion. Over the past few months, we’ve worked quickly to bring our tour online, ensuring the film could still be used to spark conversation and action, especially as abortion access faces continued and even increased attacks. We’ve been working with abortion providers like Northwest Quality Care, abortion funds, and advocacy groups like Our Justice, and statewide clusters of the Reproductive Health Access Project, an organization that mobilizes, trains, and supports reproductive health clinicians. The virtual screenings and conversations have been a chance for members of these groups to come together and discuss the importance of destigmatizing abortion through the film’s positive and affirming storytelling. As one viewer put it, “It’s so rare to see something as calming as Ours to Tell in the advocacy work we do. We are so used to fighting, to being in advocacy mode, to having to be strategic and in control. This film makes space for those of us engaged in this fight to reflect on what it is all for.” 

PicMo Team Member Snapshot

Meet Francisco Sanchez

What brought him to PicMo: I grew up in Banning, a small town in southern California. I moved to Fullerton, CA after high school to pursue my degree in TV and Film studies at California State University, Fullerton (Go Titans!) While there, I was able to get involved with the Association for Inter Culture Awareness (AICA) where I was able to learn and engage with different cultures with my peers. This is where I became activated in social justice and inclusion work. After college, I began working in film publicity, where my work on Finding Oscar introduced me to Picture Motion and the impact producing community. A few years later and looking to be more involved in impact producing, I joined the PicMo team!

What he is working on right now: With the coronavirus pandemic making in-person events impossible, I have been working with the impact events team and leadership team at Picture Motion to bring our in-person events and screenings to the virtual space. It’s been a quick learning experience and each day brings new challenges and insights in producing impactful virtual experiences.

Films he is looking forward to seeing: I was looking forward to seeing so many films before theaters closed across the nation. Some titles I am excited to see in theaters soon are MulanWonder Woman: 1984Candyman, and 007 No Time To Die.

His favorite recipe for a quick snack:

  • 1 bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
  • 1 lime or lemon (whichever one you prefer) 


Step 1: Open a bag of Flamin Hot Cheetos and pour Cheetos into a bowl
Step 2: Cut lime 
Step 3: Squeeze lime over Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Step 4: Enjoy! (Use chopsticks to prevent red fingers.)

Say hello! francisco@picturemotion.com

  • Join millions of people around the world to demand that massive consumer goods companies take responsibility and reduce plastic packaging by signing these petitions.
  • Take the Changemaker Personality Quiz: Story of Plastic Edition to see the role you can play in taking on plastic pollution in your community and beyond.
  • Tell us who you’re becoming on Twitter with hashtag #IAmBecoming and join the conversation around Michelle Obama’s documentary Becoming now on Netflix. 
  • Apply for Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab’s 2020 fellowship, which supports filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities. Applications close on June 22nd!
  • Apply for the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab before June 23rd! Now is not the time to lose our emerging storytellers, and Chicken & Egg Pictures’ dedication to supporting first- and second-time filmmakers is unwavering.
  • 136 classrooms screened Cosmos as part of their virtual curriculum. 
  • 180 educators across NY attended a virtual event for College Behind Bars hosted by the NYC Department of Education 
  • 96 virtual screenings of Me & My Robot hosted by middle school teachers took place in classrooms across the country.
  • 35 virtual grassroots screenings & conversations with reproductive focused organizations and groups were coordinated for Ours To Tell
  • 429 virtual screenings of Story of Plastic were organized with various schools and environmental groups throughout May
  • 2 Picture Motion team members celebrated their PicMo anniversaries from home! Join us in wishing a happy 1 year to Francisco and 2 years to Megan!

Film Festivals Aren’t Just Surviving Online, They’re Creating a Better Future | Indiewire

Film production is shut down but documentaries are still being made. Here’s how | Los Angeles Times 

Kartemquin Films, Hulu reveal first projects for accelerator program | Realscreen

Prepare For The Death & Rebirth of Hollywood | Medium

The Race to Make the First Coronavirus Documentary Has Begun | Vulture

What You Can Do From Home | Patagonia

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