Other Roles: Producer, Independent Filmmaker, Editor
Areas of Focus: Documentaries, Shorts
Organization: Don't Take That Receipt!
Alexandra Pinschmidt is a filmmaker and educator, and works to amplify the perspectives of others through video training and outreach. Ali recently served for four years as the Western MA Program Director of Transformative Culture Project – a youth media organization that provides education and employment for young people living in low-income neighborhoods. Ali is the Founder and Director of 1° Shift Productions, a small video production business focused on social issues, and has taught at Holyoke Community College and Clark University. She is currently the Director of the “Don’t Take That Receipt!” Video and Campaign.
Ali holds a Master’s in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, where she later taught Video for Social Change. Ali has worked with several international and US-based nonprofits in the fields of education, poverty alleviation, and direct service, and served as Site Manager for the Interfaith Homeless Shelter in Northampton, MA. Over the years she has worked with a number of organizations that use video as a tool for empowerment and impact, including Community Supported Film in Boston, Video Volunteers in Goa, India, and through a collaborative exchange with La Poderosa Media Project in Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador. Ali also serves on the board of Holyoke Media, and previous served on the educational and film-selection advisory boards at React to Film.
Don't Take That Receipt! (2017)
Don’t Take That Receipt! is a 3 minute comedic video about the toxicant BPA in cash register receipts. The main character, a woman shopping in a grocery store, becomes increasingly concerned about BPA exposure as her surroundings start interacting with her.
The Don’t Take That Receipt! Campaign is a public health and environmental justice campaign based around the video. Our mission is to educate vulnerable populations — those who work in stores and restaurants – and the general public, about the presence of bisphenol-A (BPA) (and bisphenol-S (BPS) in receipts. We also provide tips and assistance for reducing exposure and creating systems changes that benefit the health of workers and customers.
BPA and BPS are used to coat thermal receipt paper and rubs off onto skin with contact. Counterintuitively, using hand sanitizer increases the rate of absorption. These phenols can interfere with hormonal regulation and are associated with nearly a dozen health problems; they are most harmful to women, pregnant women, teens, and kids. Our goal is to educate about this widely unknown issue that affects nearly everyone. After creating a humorous video, an educational website and handouts, and an outreach strategy, we are now launching our campaign.
We will be addressing several audiences through this campaign:
1) Our regional store-to-store outreach will focus on having face to face conversations with cashiers and store/restaurant managers, beginning in Holyoke this summer and expanding to regional towns throughout the fall, winter and spring. We will be providing bilingual tip-cards to cashiers and managers, and will be tracking and evaluating tangible steps that are taken to make employees and stores safer.
2) Our online outreach to share our video and informational website will strategically reach Massachusetts-based nonprofits, environmental health groups, businesses, unions, schools, activists, cashiers, fast food workers, healthcare professionals, bank tellers, librarians, and customers, as they have a vested interest in understanding and sharing this information. Our social media outreach aims to garner over 100,000 views of the video in the state and nation-wide.
3) Our online outreach in collaboration with our partners will also focus on two specific state and national corporations, TJX Company which has over 40 stores in MA and is headquartered in Framingham, and Target, which has nearly 20 stores in the state. Our joint efforts with Safer Chemicals, Heathy Families, Ecology Center, Green America, and Mamavation will engage the public to sign petitions and share social media messages to encourage these companies to switch to phenol-free receipts and paperless POS technology. An early adopter of these better protocols, in response to this group pressure, is Trader Joe’s, which also has nearly 20 stores across MA.
4) We aim to garner regional and statewide print, radio, television, podcast, and online media coverage of our campaign and video, our messaging for how to reduce exposure, and our campaign success stories.