Our world is changing. The cycles of our local weather, once familiar, are becoming unrecognizable. The changes are complex, and the ways people experience them can sometimes be devastating. Turnaround Films documents these changes, explores why they are happening, and introduces the people who are finding innovative ways to mitigate or adapt to them.
Turnaround Films’ goal is to provide quality, accurate videos to educators, students, legislators, and activists who need to communicate with the public about climate change. These people are on the frontlines of addressing problems and organizing workable solutions. They often don’t have the means to create video content on these specific issues. Our films are designed to be used in presentations, in classrooms, in town and city meetings, or on websites and social media — anywhere that well-told stories might inspire people to feel more empowered to become part of the solutions to problems caused by climate change.
Turnaround Films presents each environmental problem as a film series. In the first episode of each series, we show a problem we are facing and how it will affect us. In the subsequent episodes, we tell the stories of the individuals and organizations that are working to find solutions or a new way of adapting our lives to live with this change. In this way, we can look deeply into issues like stormwater flooding, renewable energies, education, environmental justice, sea-level rise, and many more.
We intend to keep the Turnaround Films project fully subsidized through donations and grants so that our films can be distributed as inexpensively as possible and that the audiences are never restricted by financial means.
“This is so big, and it doesn’t have a name,” said a student to me back in 2013 when we were editing our film Celling Your Soul explains No App For Life founder Joni Siani. Siani found that when she was trying to explain the harmful elements of our new digital world, she would get caught up in the either good or bad elements of technology. “We have to make a distinction between the utilitarian uses of technology as a tool of mass communication, and the way we use these tools to develop relationships and how we process the values and norms of a society.”
With the support of Filmmakers Collaborative, Celling Your Soul, went on to win more than 20 film awards. The cautionary tale of the first digitally socialized generation and their courage to speak out to say “something just didn’t feel right,” was the power of Celling Your Soul.
When the truth is known it can no longer be ignored, just denied.
We now have a young population more anxious, stressed, depressed – and, ironically, the most digitally connected generation are now the loneliest.
The stories and awareness of our mission now continues with our No App For Life Podcast. As big tech continues to squash and hide the damaging and harmful elements social media poses as a part of life, The No App For Life Podcast offers a powerful voice for those who want to feel a little less alone, learn the shocking activities that are a part of a teens experience, and how to address the mental health issues that have been connected to digital socialization.
In our series – The Harms – you’ll hear from parents who bravely share their stories of how they lost a child to some “silly” online challenge, anonymous apps that exacerbate bullying behavior, deadly drugs that are sold online, even advertised by drug dealers without any accountability.
You’ll also hear from teens and college age students who had no idea that their online behavior was linked to their struggles with depression and anxiety. We’ll also bring you conversations with the leading authorities on digital use and the human experience.
You can support our efforts with your donation. You can also sponsor a production! If you have a like-minded organization that meets the mission of the podcast, contact me directly if you’d like to be a guest!
Learn more at: NoAppForLife.Com
Listen on Apple – Spotify – Audio Boom: https://audioboom.com/channels/5032239
OUR TURN TO TALK features high school senior Anastasia Vlasova whose obsession with Instagram led to a full-blown eating disorder. Silence and shame followed. Anastasia discovered that once she started talking openly about her mental health, she started healing. That inspired her to launch a podcast and travel across the country to invite other teens to share their own stories about how depression, anxiety, racism, LGBTQ discrimination, and the COVID-19 pandemic are taking a toll – on them and on their whole generation. Driven by the evidence that storytelling saves lives, Anastasia and her peers show us the courage and power of something as simple as talking.
Directed and Produced by Beth Murphy& Patrice Howard
Established in the fall of 2021 by Alastair Moock and Stacey Babb, The Opening Doors Project, Inc. aims to elevate voices of color and advance conversations about race through the arts. By bringing new cultural experiences to suburban Boston communities and viewing audiences across the nation, Opening Doors strives to promote racial justice work. Our programs are rooted in our conviction that white people have a role to play in advancing racial justice; that fulfilling this role requires interaction with new ideas and perspectives; and that the arts are a powerful medium for sparking advocacy.
To date, we have produced an online music and interview series hosted by co-founder Alastair Moock. The series features top national and largely BIPOC talent playing music and discussing issues related to diversity and inclusion.
The Opening Doors Project also produces live events that celebrate artists of color in our community and beyond. We aim to encourage family conversations around why DEI matters we hope to develop an ongoing series of visual art and live musical events featuring a diverse roster of artists and performers under the banner of “The Opening Doors Project.”
Storybooth is an award-winning digital storytelling platform that collects real stories from teens in their own words and voices, animates and distributes them across multiple digital media platforms. Since launching in July 2016, storybooth has become one of the fastest growing youth channels on YouTube. garnering over 4.55 million subscribers, and1.6 billion views. Over 600,000 story submissions from young adults all over the world have been submitted on a variety of topics – from bullying, self-esteem, racism and tolerance, to the everyday triumphs and challenges facing them as they journey toward adulthood. Recognized as a media property that is having a significant impact on kids and teens, Storybooth has won some of the most coveted awards in their category – the Webby Award for Best in Youth, two Shorty Awards and the Streamy Award for animation.
Storybooth was created in response to the rising challenges that adolescents face. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. These numbers have been rising steadily; between 2007 and 2012, anxiety disorders in children and teens went up 20% and the rate of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers have doubled over the past decade. Bullying is now formally a “public health problem” and high school graduates register 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago. The platform’s mission is to empower and unify young people through authentic storytelling, giving teens a safe space to express themselves, share their real stories, and to find out that they are not alone in all that they are going through.
Storybooth meets GenZ where they are at, and uses emerging technologies that are integral to teens’ lives to distribute its content. In addition to its animated content format on YouTube, Storybooth has a daily podcast on Spotify – where every day a new story from a young storyteller is shared. Storybooth also has a book coming out in July 2022, published by Harper Collings Publishing.
We believe that high-quality, thoughtful stories can impact the world.
Unfortunately, too often in our world, those with power are the ones with the loudest voices. Using money and influence, they can control the public discourse while millions of unheard voices are drowned out. Our team has fought against that notion through our documentary work, but there is only so much a single film can do, which is why we needed to create a new way to shine a light on wide-reaching societal issues and amplify those voices who needed it most.
We call it VIDA Voices.
Through crowdfunding efforts, VIDA Voices will craft & amplify stories about often overlooked societal issues by connecting unheard voices with filmmakers & storytellers looking for meaningful, paid work. With expertise from our team and our network of various filmmakers and storytellers, we plan to produce 12 mini-documentaries, ranging in length from 7 to 20 minutes, covering a myriad of often overlooked societal issues like tobacco harm reduction, dyslexia, and much more.
Each production will also include a “focus group” portion where those with a deep understanding of a specific topic will be asked to review a draft of the piece. We will then ask those individuals to provide overall feedback on authenticity and potential impact before releasing the final report to the public.
We believe in a future crafted through storytelling and are thrilled to craft it together.
Special Acknowledgment to donors over $10,000:
Mark Hamdan ($49,990)
Chicago is regarded by many to be the birthplace of inner-city gangs or organizations. In Chicago, in the early 60’s, the two top gangs were Jeff Fort’s Blackstone Rangers (later to be called the P. Stones or El Rukns) and Larry Hoover’s Gangster Black Disciples.
Fork & Stone is a coming-of-age, hour docudrama series, which chronicle’s young friends, Jeff Fort, charismatic and mysterious, and Larry Hoover’s, passionate and articulate, ascension from community organizers and protectors to becoming the infamous leaders and masterminds behind two of the nation’s most ruthless street gangs.
“Think of the most fascinating conversation happening at the table next to you.–that goes somewhere. We’re taking on an issue every year that no one wants to talk about, and this year, it’s The Value Gap. Because it’s not about the glass ceiling–it’s about the foundation.” —Michele Mitchell
The Cocktail Conversations is a chat-genre podcast that will take on a new topic every year about something nobody wants to discuss. After all, the world is filled with tough issues that don’t simply disappear because we’re ignoring them. And for our inaugural season, we’re taking on something no one really wants to talk about: the value gap.
Women are not valued as much as men in the United States, across the board, by any measure. It’s time to take this on—but not just the symptoms—the sources…and the solutions. This last one is what sets us apart from the 850,000 podcasts out there. A conversation—even the most authentic, insightful and entertaining—needs to go somewhere in order to be satisfying. By the end of the season, we will have academic, cultural and policy goals and plans to execute a strategy to reframe the parity issue: it’s not about equality—it’s about equity.
A considered audience of up to 12 participants around the U.S. will come together to speak with an expert featured speaker, moderated by award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist Michele Mitchell in up to 20 episodes. Held virtually (the 9 to 12-episode “Aperitifs,” which tackles the symptoms) and, COVID-requirements possible, in person (the 4-episode “Big Pour,” delving deep into sources, and the 4-episode “Last Call” which finds solutions) in key locations, recorded, edited and highly produced.
Confirmed participants include Patricia Sellers (International Criminal Court), Nancy Hogshead-Maker (US Olympic gold medalist/Champion Women), David G. Smith (Naval War College), Dr. Caroline Heldman (Representation Project), Trish Costello (Portfolia), Yasmeen Hassan (Equality Now), Lauren C. Anderson (FBI, ret.), Jason Amerine (US Special Forces, ret) and more. Episodes include “What the F*** is the Value Gap?”, “What’s at Stake,” “The Good Guys: There’s a Value Gap?”, “Crazy/Difficult,” Title IX and the billion-dollar intentional gap, access to growth capital, women’s health (wait until you hear the title of that one!), the Placebo Effect and more. And, we’re back many of the crew that brought us awards in television and film in order to create 20-minute and 40-minute episodes, plus “extra” content, exciting beverage pours, and, most importantly, something else.
Our brand is hope: We are not part of the anger industrial complex that has divided us for decades. We’re here to bring honest conversation–not screaming talking heads–into our lives. Real information, transparent intent and a hell of a good time along the way– it’s time for something new and constructive.
“The Value Gap” is an evergreen topic—so why now? We are in an unprecedented crisis, a half-century removed from the social revolution of the women’s movement. As the economy tightens and the pandemic pushes on, there is an urgency to find a better way forward together. And as old systems flail, this is an unprecedented moment in time to actually change the operating procedure. And true, informative conversation just might do it.
An Analogy Pictures Production
“Ever dream things could happen exactly the way you wanted? When you realize how many ways this story plays out, you’re going to laugh your ass off.” — McGinnis, THE CHRONIC ADVENTURE STORY
One day Samuel Gibson finds himself in a lawsuit over his bestselling novel—but this all looks too familiar; like he’s lived through this already; like this story has been told before…
THE CHRONIC ADVENTURE STORY puts the viewer in the seat of the storyteller; doing what has never been done before. Composed of four acts, each structured in a way that they can be arranged in any order, the narrative presents a multitude of ways to view the same story. Borrowing from our high school stats lessons; finding the factorial of the total number of acts, we arrive at a total 24 ways to view the same narrative. Utilizing a form of storytelling never seen before, THE CHRONIC ADVENTURE STORY presents audiences with the world’s first ever rearrangeable narrative; comprising elements of both a film and a tv series bundled in one.
The concept has been a passion of Eric Bergquist’s since he was a student in college; it’s true aim being to educate, despite being a form of fiction; it’s premises serving to deconstruct the traditional three-act narrative arc while also demonstrating the overt impact of mathematics on our perception. Having aligned his efforts as a student around SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers)—providing opportunities for students to learn about the film and media industries while meeting professionals in their field—years later Eric seeks to follow down the same path; allowing youth on set for the unique opportunity to shadow cast and crew members while learning about the ins and outs of production for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The production is currently gearing up for filming in the heart of Boston, employing a talented and heavily local cast and crew, and with even such components as an application for a patent on the way. The team hopes the project will serve as an enduring source of creative inspiration; and a novel addition to the world of film and television.
This collaborative video project is a local response to the unprecedented and overwhelming societal effects of the Coronavirus on nearly every aspect of our lives. We will create a documentary that is filmed virtually within our new reality of social distancing guidelines. The video will be an edited compilation of interviews conducted remotely with phones and computers, focusing on the impacts of the Coronavirus here in Western Massachusetts. The goal is to hear firsthand from young people, adults, and families about how this pandemic is shaping and impacting people’s lives. This project is currently in the planning stages, and is a collaboration between filmmaker and filmmaking teacher Ali Pinschmidt, and two youth filmmakers Mayrangelique Rojas-De Leon, and JanCarlos Rivera-Torres. Due to the personal networks of the filmmakers, this film will focus primarily on the lives of people living in Holyoke and Springfield, though interviewees may come from other Western MA cities and towns.
All disasters and calamities take the largest toll on those who have the least resources and fewest safety nets. With 29% of the population off both Holyoke and Springfield living below the poverty level, it is clear that these communities will have immense financial setbacks, which are typically also tied to setbacks in physical and mental health outcomes. This project will provide a platform for youth, adults, and families – many from lower income neighborhoods – to talk about how their lives are impacted, what their requests are to their neighbors and community leaders, and what their advice is for others. We anticipate that this could be cathartic and empowering for those interviewed, and supportive and informative for those who watch the video. With permission of those interviewed, we may share shorter clips of video through social media during the interviewing and editing stages of the film, so that people can begin to hear these stories sooner rather than later.
Interview topics for youth include the impacts of being sequestered at home with family; being away from school, friends, and activities; worries around Coronavirus; and how their school or community should be responding. Interviews with adults will cover how COVID-19 has impacted work and finances; coping physical and mentally; the impact of the media; and thoughts they want to share with community leaders. Interviews with families will include what it’s been like being home together, and what suggestions they have for other families.
We anticipate our final video will reach thousands of local viewers through online distribution. The video will also be aired on Holyoke Media, Focus Springfield, Northampton Open Media, and Amherst Media – reaching thousands more.
Alexandra Pinschmidt is a filmmaker and educator, and works to amplify the perspectives of others through video training and outreach. In addition to her work at 1° Shift Productions, Ali founded and directs Don’t Take That Receipt!, a youth-adult collaboration in Holyoke that educates local businesses and institutions about toxic chemicals on thermal paper products and provides tools for reducing exposure. DTTR uses their award-winning educational film to spread awareness. Previously, Ali served as the Western MA Program Director for Transformative Culture Project, launching a Holyoke branch to the Boston-based youth media organization. TCP in Holyoke provided media education to over 200 youth and part-time employment for over 40 youth producers in training from low-income neighborhoods.
Mayrangelique Rojas-De Leon is a 20-year-old filmmaker and aspiring journalist. She came to Holyoke from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria left her high school closed. She now studies media production at Springfield Technical Community College and has produced or co-produced several short student films. She participated in a summer Youth Producer program at WGBY in Springfield, and studied filmmaking with Transformative Culture Project during her senior year in high school. She is also the proud mother of her 9-month old daughter.
JanCarlos Rivera-Torres is also a 20-year-old filmmaker who graduated from Holyoke High School. He was a youth participant in the Sustainable Holyoke Youth Leadership program for two years, as well as a participant and Youth Mentor with the Transformative Culture Project video program. JanCarlos has made several short films, was on the filmmaking team with Don’t Take That Receipt!, and has a passion for editing. He is also an avid BMX biker.