From the Executive Director
“We are part of each other and part of something bigger than our own egos. An artist should bring into the world some vision. They should ask, “What is their work in service of?” – Bill T. Jones
Hey NAMAC people—there’s so much going on this month, its hard to know what to highlight. Between the kickoff of the HatchLabs, planning the ALLIANCE 2016 Conference (registration available NOW), and doing outreach for the next Creative Leadership Lab at Sundance (deadline the end of this month!)—NAMAC Consulting Producers have their hands incredibly full.
As I’ve been tracking myriad conversations about the breathtaking sexism in Hollywood, I’ve also been in conversation with some extraordinary women who are taking the lead in the arts and culture sector; Jax Deluca at the National Endowment for the Arts, Roberta Uno at Arts in A Changing America, Sarah Crowell at Destiny Arts Center, and others. As women in all sectors of the arts step into leadership in new ways, we can imagine and build new pipelines of funding and sustaining support for women’s creativity.
I know the recent news from MacArthur Foundation that they would no longer be directly supporting documentary projects hit the filmmaker community hard this month; where it might at first feel like a consolidation of resources for a chosen few organizations—collectively, those organizations are more empowered to support a range of independent and emerging documentary voices. NAMAC’s role will continue to be as a facilitator of collaboration, innovation and growth for media arts and culture work; we will offer new models for content creation, distribution and impact, spaces to come together to discuss and advocate for the issues we care about, and do what we can to support all our members to be able to create the abundance for the work that needs to be done.
BRAINTRUST FOR A GLOBAL COMMUNITY
If you haven’t had a chance to do a NAMAC Bay Area Braintrust, I highly recommend it. Last month, our amazing member organization World Pulse, came down from Portland to hang at the Oakland Impact Hub (another member organization and fiscal sponsoree!) with a table of NAMAC consulting producers, filmmakers, creative technologists, impact strategists, journalists, and designers to help re-imagine their new web platform. Thanks to everyone who participated—the room was on fire and great ideas were everywhere. The braintrusts are a benefit of membership—so if you haven’t joined yet, we’d love to have you.
Brittani Sensabaugh’s 222 Forgotten Cities is a new photography project in NAMAC’s Innovation Studio addressing the disconnect between the popular, media-informed perception of a city and the reality of the people who live there
NEW PROJECTS IN THE INNOVATION STUDIO
I’m also excited to announce two new projects in the Innovation Studio: Brittani Sensabaugh’s 222 Forgotten Cities and Chasing the Sun by those awesome Canadians known as the Goggles, Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge.
Chasing the Sun is an immersive online story about the Arctic. It is a provocative, imaginative interactive story that is part film, part book, part something new—we will work with the creative technology team to better understand how a multi-platform environmental web doc develops a cult fan base, creates inroads and changes conversations in both science and culture, and investigate how the newest digital technologies can be both embraced and resisted for the sake of a story and its audiences. An interactive case study will be published and shared—we hope to discover new insights about how social movements can leverage creative approaches that transcend the desperate limitations of “charity storytelling.”
222 Forgotten Cities is a photo series aimed at visually dissolving the disconnect between the popular, media-informed perception of a city and the reality of the people who live there. The numerical title is inspired by the six most formative years of photographer Brittani Sensabaugh’s life; the two after receiving her camera, the two after her brother died, and the two after she moved to New York. “It’s an example of anybody that is breaking society’s boundaries, giving unconditional love and compassion to their craft, building—and just anyone that’s out here battling,” she says of the project. “Around the time when I created it, I was battling so much and creating was really my only outlet.”
Brittani Sensabaugh is a young documentary photographer deeply committed to a social practice that goes outside the lines and connects deeply into people’s lives. In the Innovation Studio, Brittani will work with mentors to develop a new photo workshop training model for urban youth, and an interactive photo book project, From Forgotten to Remembered.
Don’t forget to register for ALLIANCE 2016—the NAMAC Conference this June. It will be seriously off the hook. And stay tuned for the video report from Black Lives Matter and the Future of Storytelling, which goes live this Friday. If you are subscribed to this eBulletin, you’ll get a special eBlast with the content.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to plan something, envision the future, turn an idea into a thing—firstname.lastname@example.org.
Member News and Notes
Mark Strandquist’s ‘Windows from Prison’ Opens at JMU
Artist, activist, educator, and new NAMAC member Mark Strandquist’s project “Windows from Prison” connects currently incarcerated men, women, and teens with those on the outside via the collaborative creation of images representing aspects of prisoners’ pasts—and, last month, an exhibition of work from the project opened at James Madison University.
Meridian Hill Pictures’ City of Trees to Screen at DCEFF
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital kicks off later this month, and NAMAC member Meridian Hill Pictures‘ documentary City of Trees—profiling a DC nonprofit’s efforts to implement a “green jobs” program paying unemployed residents to plant trees in city parks—is part of the lineup, screening on two Wednesdays, the 16th and the 23rd.
Youth FX Film It’s Natural Selected for Portland’s POW Fest
It’s Natural, a short documentary directed by new NAMAC member Youth FX youth filmmakers about black women and hair, screened yesterday at POW Fest, the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival, after winning Best Documentary at the Rockland Youth Film Festival last year.
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Media Policy Watch
The big media policy news of the past month has been Apple’s ongoing legal battle with the FBI over access to the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, and recent coverage has teased out a few interesting threads from the case. Most recently, the FBI acknowledged that it was responsible for locking Farook’s iPhone, by resetting his iCloud password, thus locking themselves out of the device, as The New York Times explains.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a number of articles recently on a related case, in which the government seeks access to an iPhone 5C as part of a New York drug case, writing here, for example, about how Judge James Orenstein’s rejection of the government’s demand that Apple unlock the phone correctly recognized that acquiescing to such demands could lead to “virtually limitless” surveillance powers—all based on a dubious interpretation of a law from 1789, the All Writs Act.
Free Press has also written on the recent Apple cases, noting that while the government has sought to minimize the importance of the San Bernardino case as being only about “one phone,” the Justice Department is currently pursuing court orders to make Apple unlock 12 other devices—none of them terrorism-related, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
The EFF also outlines a newly proposed British spy law that would similarly compel Apple and other tech companies to comply with government demands for access to devices like iPhones.
In other news, you can get up close and personal with filmmaker Laura Poitras‘ Freedom of Information Act requests used in the making of her documentary Citizenfour—they’re currently on display at the Whitney Museum in New York City as part of a new exhibit, Laura Poitras: Astro Noise.
And finally, February 26th marked the one-year anniversary of the FCC’s new net neutrality rules—Public Knowledge’s Meredith Whipple breaks down where we are today with regard to net neutrality, and what’s happened in the past year.