2017 was a year of struggle and a year in which we saw the emergence of diverse community leadership and open dialogue about some of our most intractable social inequalities. In the context of so much change and upheaval, it is a gift to work with incredibly talented and passionate filmmakers, producers, community leaders, educators, philanthropists and many other dynamic and creative people who understand the power of non-fiction media to contribute to positive social change.
Today, December 14, 2017, marks five years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. For the past 18 months the documentary film Newtown has screened across the country. The film is an important tool to support a long term public health approach to sensible gun ownership.
Heroin(e), streaming on Netflix now, demonstrates the power of documentary film to make real impact. Communities across the country are convening public health officials, people who are addicted and their loved ones, criminal justice officers, harm reduction programs and other stakeholders to organize around the opioid epidemics in their community, using the film and the accompanying community screening guide.
We are sending our kids back to school this week against a political backdrop that is chaotic at best. What is clear is that teachers, parents and students need resources that address our national conversations about hatred, violence and protest, and break those overwhelming pieces down into manageable parts.
What do being 9 and 13 years old, having a deep love of animals, the documentary film Chasing Coral, and a snorkel add up to?
At first glance I couldn’t have imagined these things fit together at all, nor could I have predicted that last month I would be on a snorkeling trip with my family in the Red Sea and see, up close and persona,l the profound connections documentary film would have on my family’s lives.
For parents and educators, the more pressing question is, now that this well-produced and extremely popular show exists, how do we help our kids navigate it?
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Join us tomorrow, April 4th at noon Pacific/ 3pm Eastern time, when we’re honored to partner with Futures Without Violence to present the webinar: Activate Your School: Hosting an Audrie & Daisy Screening. This is what Blueshift strives to do, take that beautiful opportunity that documentary films create uniquely- when the audience is feeling deeply, empathizing openly, and wondering how to act - and give them tools to create lasting change.
In our current muddy political climate, rife with “fake news” and “alternative facts,” a documentary film like Saving Mes Aynak provides a lens to understand events happening around the world. Through the eyes of archaeologist Qadir Temori and his team, we can appreciate the courage and patriotism it takes for individuals to struggle against a government not always aligned with its people’s interests and against questionable corporate practices operating without public oversight or accountability.
The Bad Kids is a gorgeous film, visually and stylistically. It's about a group of students whose lives, in many ways, have been filled with uncertainty. We hear their stories of hunger, neglect, abuse, substance use, and poverty, and yet they show up to school, they strive, and, with support from the staff and faculty at Black Rock High School, they begin to thrive. They are resilient and they are capable of anything. Theirs are the stories we need right now.
According to teacher John Golden, “The importance of teaching film in the classroom - after the election and all the fake news - it’s never been more clear.” This is part of why we're so excited about the Doc Academy pilot project.