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.
A new multi-platform television series that answers the #1 question about the world’s most successful inventions.
Why Didn’t I Think of That?® is based on the timeless notion that we are all inventors and entrepreneurs at heart. We’ve all got great ideas, but how do you turn great ideas into fortunes or use them to change the world?
Is it luck? Is it brains? Or both?
Why Didn’t I Think of That?® is based on a successful web site (ThinkOfThat.net) and nationally syndicated radio feature that focuses on the ‘eureka’ moment of inspiration that can change the world we live in!
The concept is being re-launched as a nationally broadcast TV series, podcast, digital destination and educational curriculum distributed worldwide!
Visit our website at https://www.thinkofthat.net/
Representation is the entertainment industry’s greatest opportunity.
Starfish is a first of its kind, creative accelerator investing in premium IP from mid-career storytellers of color. We are rooted in four core principles: radical ownership, authenticity, transparency, and community. Supported by Pop Culture Collaborative, the Doris Duke Foundation and Filmmakers Collaborative, STARFISH aims to lift up content creators on the periphery of the ‘mainstream’ industry. There is conflict within our culture due to gaps in representation in our collective story. STARFISH hopes to shift the narrative towards one of empathy and awareness. We are fiercely committed to the belief that creative success need not be born out of luck; it can and should come from sound investment.
Inspired by the tech accelerator model, and grounded in two years of discussions with dozens of mid-career artists, executives, and innovators of color, this six-month cohort program provides awardees with substantial development funding, a strategic community, and marketing necessary to focus on launching the next big idea. By designing a non-competitive ecosystem in which these creatives can thrive, STARFISH aims to address the narrative deficit disorder that plagues our culture.
STARFISH is unique in that it is a non-competitive ecosystem designed to benefit all who participate in it, be they creators, advisors, investors, or buyers. There are no strings attached — full ownership remains with the artists. Their pledge to pay it forward and support the cohorts that follow will help build a vibrant community to support creatives of color.
War Stories Peace Stories (WSPS) mission is to seed the critical work of getting news about peacebuilding and reconciliation more widely reported.
Peace efforts are nearly invisible to the public—they are rarely reported in the news. We occasionally see two leaders shake hands and sign a peace accord, but we rarely hear the meaningful stories that led to those moments, or what happened afterwards. These powerful, compelling stories need to be told across all media platforms to increase awareness and investment in peace.
The first WSPS Symposium convened in spring 2018 at the NY Times Center. 400 experienced practitioners, who engage daily and globally in this work, as peacebuilders or journalists, took a deep dive into highlighting best practices to improve reporting on peace and conflict. This hugely successful event fostered serious ongoing dialogue, and immediate tangible results in the form of news articles about international peace efforts published in global media outlets. The project was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize in Peace Journalism by the World Peace Forum.
The groundwork for a second Symposium, in Brussels, and for a third in Bogota, has been laid, with plans to follow in other major media centers around the world: London, Washington DC, Nairobi, Mumbai, Sydney, and Tokyo. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WSPS has pressed the pause button on in-person events.
Our team is focused now on transforming the WSPS website into a dynamic collaboration platform, capitalizing on the global online focus. The new web platform builds upon our commitment to bringing journalists and peacebuilders together to explore new approaches to writing about peace and conflict. And it lays the groundwork for in-person Symposia when these become possible once again. In creating an interactive online community that will generate networking and reporting collaborations, WSPS is making international peace efforts more visible.
Our extraordinary group of partner organizations includes the Alliance for Peacebuilding, American Friends Service Committee, Center for Global Peace Journalism, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Institute for Economics and Peace, Partners Global, Peace Direct, Search for Common Ground, Brussels Press Club, International Federation of Journalists, and the World Peace Forum. We’ve hired an award-winning team of web designers to help us implement the plan.
We need your help to continue to expand our work with these partners. Please make a tax deductible donation to the project through our fiscal partner Filmmakers Collaborative.
My name is Nicole Amelio-Casper and I am a veteran’s spouse. I am a documentary filmmaker and freelance producer for ABC News National.
I spent over 2 decades traveling with my family in the military. There were many years of good times. There was so much excitement moving from state to state and meeting new friends. Each community had its own tight knit military community. We even lived in Europe for almost 3 years which was such an adventure. We flew on military planes to different countries and sometimes we were the only family on the plane! The pilot would take my kids to cockpit – it was a C17 and if you know anything about military planes, they are mammoth. So We made a lot good memories. But then there were the deployments…
I am NOW a veteran spouse, – I was one of the many military spouses on the other side of the pond supporting my close girlfriends, my husband’s colleagues and friends and my husband as they endured deployments.
When they returned home with wounds, some were seen, some were unseen. Some came home with wounds so deep, they withdrew from others, and lost their a sense of normalcy.
These are the men and women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Currently, medical professionals give antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and even Botox to alleviate PTSD symptoms. However, sometimes masking the symptoms with medication doesn’t attack the issue(s) head on. And as many can attest, Veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam wars and are scarred with wounds that are hard to cope with and sometimes they fester inside; but once they do surface, many veterans conceal the symptoms as they reintegrate with their families, and in their communities, and in the workplace. I know this to be true because of my conversations with those in the film and with many conversations with my close friends and military family.
THE VA generally does offer trauma focused psychotherapies such as Prolonged Exposure therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and others. The VA has incredible resources and the therapies. However, they may not be effective for everyone.
This really hit home when one of my best friends in North Carolina who was in the Army for 24 years revealed to me she had PTSD. She told me her story – every single detail-from the moment of when the trauma occurred overseas, to what she copes with every day. She also stopped taking medication because there were negative side effects. My heart just went out to her and I wanted to help her and others like her in that very moment.
Wen we moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina I felt more than compelled to film a documentary that would explore different therapies to heal veterans and others with PTSD. I started connecting with non-profits in the Kansas City area that offered complementary therapies for veterans. When I shared my vision with the directors, they were on board right away to be part of this project.
After months of planning, my Journey began filming “The Journey Back to Normal – A Look at Complementary Therapies to Combat PTSD.” This film sheds light on truly effective complementary therapies in which veterans are immersed, to combat the adverse effects of PTSD. The film documents how these therapies can aid in the healing process in a holistic way AND it shows how these community heroes step in and step up to help our warriors in their hour of need. It’s important to mention some VA facilities do offer complimentary therapy programs – but there is NOT enough funding.
Testimonies shared in the film are focused more on present positive experiences rather than their past trauma. It is truly a hope-filled film and it really shows how men and women exiting the military can have a second LIFE – service members have such a strong sense of identity through the military and it IS literally what defines them. When they exit the military, they not only have some issues, but some have an identity crisis as well. These therapies can really give them a 2nd life in more ways than one!
There is some reality woven into the film-the statistics I include in the film are a bit shocking, but I wanted to make sure the audience realizes the critical nature of this issue.
Our ultimate goal AND mission IS to create awareness about true healing through this film –
I filmed on location at 4 non- profit organizations founded by veterans and families who were connected in some way to the military and the veteran community.
The non-profit organizations are located in the Fort Leavenworth area and in Dallastown, Pennsylvania. These outstanding non-profits are Camp Valor Outdoors, Horses and Heroes, Warriors Best Friend, and Equiteam Support Services. They provide outdoor recreation therapy, Eagala equine-assisted psychotherapy, canine therapy, and one other therapy I won’t reveal. It is surprising to me and it may be for you too. Please contact them for more information on how to be part of their amazing programs! www.campvaloroutdoors.org, www.horsesandheroes.org, www.warriorsbestfriend.org, and www.equiteam.org.
“The Journey Back to Normal – A Look at Complementary Therapies to Combat PTSD” documents how these therapies can aid in the healing process in a holistic way and it shows how these community heroes step in and step up to help our warriors in their hour of need. Testimonies that are shared by veterans are positive and do not focus so much on their PTSD and their trauma, but rather veterans speak on the effectiveness of these complementary therapies.
Many ask me why I wanted to film this documentary. My answer is this: 20 veterans a day. That is 20 veterans who commit suicide every day as well as active duty military. Over 6000 veterans committed suicide in 2018.
I had friends who were married to soldiers with PTSD after coming home from war and I had close girl friends with PTSD who also served overseas. Their lives were broken. Some marriages ended and some lives ended because of PTSD.
Our goal is to educate and enlighten the public and to save lives in our military and veteran communities and beyond!
Founded in 1997, NewEnglandFilm.com provides an essential online resource for the local film community, enabling members to find share and film gigs, promote themselves, and keep informed about the local industry. But NewEnglandFilm.com urgently needs your support to keep these services going.
For over 20 years, NewEnglandFilm.com has provided free membership to its users that offers free benefits such as a section to view and post jobs, volunteer gigs, and partnership opportunities; the ability to create industry directory listings for individuals and businesses; and access to updated industry news, interviews, profiles, and how-to articles. And in 2009, they launched the Online New England Film Festival, a collaborative festival that showcases short local films.
All of these services have remained and will remain free to the thousands of people who use them every month.
NewEnglandFilm.com operates on an incredibly lean budget. Our core expenses include site hosting, software and maintenance; email management software; our trademark and business licenses; and the stipend for our small freelance team including writers (yes, we pay them) and our Associate Editor/Site Moderator, who approves every single new account by hand, which ensures our site is always completely spam-free.
We need to raise $5,000 annually from our community. So, we ask those of you who regularly use and love NewEnglandFilm.com, please support us today with a tax-deductible donation through Filmmakers Collaborative. It could be $5. It could be $30. It could be $300. Every dollar will help.
We want to keep NewEnglandFilm.com going for another 20 years. But we will not be able to do it without your support.