PicMo Monthly Reel: April

It's now been over 50 days since our team has worked in the same space together, and we imagine your experience is similar. This physical distancing has not diminished any of our needs for social connection, nor our desire for shared stories and experiences. So for the last six weeks we, along with everyone in this industry, have been trying to imagine the future: How can we use film and story to "remote connect"? 

We still don't have the perfect answer. But, we do have some tested strategies, a few great case studies, and a brand new virtual screening room. So today we want to use this newsletter to share with you what we've created, accomplished, and learned.

We also want to express our gratitude for all the amazing clients and partners who joined us on this journey. You have been willing to try new tech and test new ideas -- and when we couldn't find what we needed, you worked with us to create something unique. We're also grateful to have learned with our industry friends. You surveyed to identify the need, provided resources to support creatives, created spaces to commune for impact, and live-streamed to share the knowledge. If there was ever a group to create a better future for impactful storytelling, it's this community. And we're proud to be a part of it. 

With Resilience and Love, 
The PicMo Team


Students Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with Jane Goodall: The Hope

Last week, we celebrated Earth Day alongside National Geographic by bringing together thousands of students and teachers from around the country for a virtual screening of Jane Goodall: The Hope. Thanks to some industry friends, we were able to build, test and launch our new virtual screening room. The Hope showcases Jane Goodall’s mission to spread awareness about human rights and the climate crisis while igniting positive change around the world. Through PicMo’s virtual screening room, over 5,000 students and teachers tuned-in at the same time for a a special 45-minute presentation of the film, watching together from their own homes. After the film, students were prompted by an “Act Now” button within the platform to take a virtual tour of National Geographic Museum’s current exhibition “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall". Teachers were also given a post-screening discussion and activity guide as an additional classroom resource to share with their students. 


Organizers Connected With College Behind Bars Through An Exclusive Virtual Event

The 4-part documentary series, College Behind Bars, tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the United States – the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). When the quarantine hit, we were in the middle of our screening tour, with over 25 live screening events about to take place imminently. The health and safety of everyone was the primary concern of the filmmakers, as was ours. So we canceled all upcoming in-person events and instead invited every confirmed and potential screening host to join the film team in a private conversation about how we can transition their events to virtual. On April 3rd, we showed clips of the series, shared how the hosts could bring their event online, and enabled screening hosts to directly interview three amazing people: College Behind Bars series director Lynn Novick, BPI director of National Engagement Jessica Neptune and BPI Alumni and series participant, Dyjuan Tatro.

Since then we've been working with colleges across the country to set up and launch their virtual events, and are excited to share an update. While we know nothing beats connecting in person, by going virtual and removing the need to travel, this tour has enabled BPI alumni to speak at many more events and directly connect with a larger audience. 


Let's Continue to #BreakFreeFromPlastic with The Story of Plastic

The Story of Plastic takes a sweeping look at the man-made crisis of plastic pollution, focusing on the worldwide effect it has on the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it. Through the Story of Plastic virtual screening tour, we are working with organizations, schools, and activists around the world to organize virtual screenings of the film and push for policy change to help us all #BreakFreeFromPlastic. On Earth Day we facilitated 78 virtual screenings for communities big and small online - and still have hundreds more in the coming weeks. We've learned that environmental and plastic prevention activists are quite active online, and that while we're in our homes we have much control over our plastic use, reusing, and recycling. 


Nurses and Health Care Professionals Screen Blood Sugar Rising

Blood Sugar Rising is a PBS special that puts a human face on diabetes statistics, exploring the history and science of the illness through portraits of Americans whose stories shape the film. We've been working with WGBH for a few months to organize local community screenings and conversations with health care providers, medical institutions, and medical/nursing schools as well as those who work in the field of nutrition. When the stay at home ordinances began to affect our events, we sought online opportunities. Since Blood Sugar Rising is a PBS film produced by WGBH, we had a great opportunity to work with the screening and conversation platform Ovee. We produced an event for our partners and screening hosts on April 13th, and and are thrilled to say it deepened our partner relationships, generated new social media support, and sparked ongoing conversations about the film online. 


👩‍💻 We're Here to Help 👩‍💻

These short case studies demonstrate how we're getting strategic and creative about what impact producing looks like in a virtual world. If you're interested in chatting, send us an email at hello@picturemotion.com


📷 PicMo Team Member Snapshot 📷

Meet Zoe Malhotra! Zoe is our Impact Strategy Coordinator based out of our LA office who loves diving deep and getting creative within a variety of impact spaces. She makes documentary films as well! 

Where she’s from: I grew up in Washington D.C., a city filled with exciting social action-oriented groups and opportunities. I was introduced to impact storytelling through organizations like Conservation International and the Smithsonian Institute and loved watching IMAX films at the Natural History Museum. I left DC to attend film school in Los Angeles at USC, but continued to pursue social impact film as I focused my studies on documentary storytelling.

Campaigns she has worked on: I’ve worked on a range of Picture Motion campaigns including The Nightcrawlers, The Rest of Us, A Thousand Cuts, After Parkland and Born to Be.

Favorite recent film: I LOVED the recent Oscar-nominated documentary For Sama. I was absolutely floored by the intimate and unique voice of Waad Al-Kateab as a mother, journalist, and woman, navigating war in her home city.

A fun fact about Zoe: I'm obsessed with food documentaries, and last year made a short film about a mother-daughter pair of chefs. It’s currently screening at 12 festivals and counting around the world. You can watch the trailer here!

Say hello! zoe.malhotra@picturemotion.com


  • Watch Jane Goodall: The Hope on Hulu, Disney+, and Nat Geo TV. After seeing the film you can take a virtual tour of the National Geographic Museum of its current exhibition “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall
  • Do you know a science teacher looking for online-friendly classroom content? Invite them to host a virtual screening of the third season of Cosmos: Possible Worlds for their class.
  • Interested in joining the gender justice movement or further supporting equal rights for all? Global Fund For Women’s series Fundamental is available for virtual screenings now and in-person events in the fall - sign up here to learn more!
  • Abortion access is still under attack during COVID-19. You can host a virtual screening of Planned Parenthood and We Testify’s Ours To Tell, and kickstart a conversation about what can be done to protect reproductive health access now, and in the future.
  • Many community spaces and schools are exploring digital options to come together during the spring and summer, host a virtual campus or community screening of Born To Be!


Film and TV Charity, BFI create COVID-19 relief fund | Realscreen

How to Host a Virtual Screening & Conversation During COVID-19: Webinar & Resources | Picture Motion

Now or Never? Doc Industry Pivots to Lock in Buyers, Audiences During Coronavirus | Variety

Watched a Film in a Virtual Theater: Helping Independent Theaters Survive | Picture Motion

We Can't Let the Virus Infect Democracy | TIME

50 years of progress—and setbacks—since the first Earth Day | National Geographic