Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Molly Bennett, a Colby College alumna, freelance writer, audio producer, and assistant to an author in New York City. 

MOLLY BENNETT

I work as the personal assistant to an author and do freelance writing and audio production on the side.

Education: Colby College, 2011 (Anthropology/Creative Writing double major), Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, 2011, Hollins University, 2014 (MFA in Creative Writing)

2009 Summer Documentary Program
Video: How does your garden grow?
Radio: Tool Library

Do you have any recent work you'd like to share? Here's some of my food writing for Paste. And here's a chapbook (see below) I wrote that came out this fall.

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
Learning about tool libraries, working cameras at Pickathon (with Rose!!)

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
I just saw the Contemporary Color documentary (officially out next year) and it is the most whimsical, emotional, riveting thing I've encountered in a long time. I did not know I wanted to see high school color guards perform with indie bands but it turned out to be the thing I wanted most in the world! Books: West of Eden by Jean Stein (my boss). Obviously I am biased but this book is an oral history masterpiece. Podcasts: Right now I'm really into The SporkfulOn Being, and Reply All. Those three tend to hit most of the parts of my soul.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Molly!

Growing Gardens promotes home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition, health and self-reliance while enhancing the quality of life and the environment for individuals and communities in Portland, Oregon. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2009 Summer Documentary Program by Molly Bennett (Colby College '11), Kira Fisher (Vassar College '10), Jensen Power (St. Olaf College '10), and Rose Holdorf (Macalester College '11).

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Adrienne Picciotto, a Mt. Holyoke College alumna who works for a film marketing company called Causeumentary. 

ADRIENNE PICCIOTTO

Education: Mt. Holyoke College, 2016 ( Film Studies and Anthropology double major)
2014 Summer Documentary Program
Video: Urban Oasis
Radio: Street Roots

What are you working on now? I have been working on the marketing for I Voted?, which is a new documentary produced by Katie Couric that explores our nation's electoral system. The film exposes the loopholes of this system to advocate for paper ballots and meaningful post-election audits. You can check out the film's website and read People Magazine's article about it here. Also, check out my company, Causeumentary, when you have the chance - we work on the marketing for films with a cause. 

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
One of my lasting memories from my summer with MISC is the end-of-program soiree, where my class presented our summer's work to the Portland community. The soiree made me realize how powerful documentary art is for communicating with the public - after the presentation, someone from a local Portland television station approached to ask if he could broadcast the short documentary my partner and I worked on to about 45,000 families affected by our piece's subject matter. That moment still sits fresh in my mind - the community gathering, the friends I made standing proudly by their work, and a socially-conscious local who wanted to use our film to spread awareness about an issue to those affected.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
I would recommend the podcast Another Round. Hosted by Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, the show discusses intersectional feminism, race, gender, politics, and pop culture - with booze, of course. In addition to being informative and downright hilarious, the podcast has hosted an array of high-profile interviewees, most notably Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ta Nehisi Coates, respectively. Everyone should check it out.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Adrienne! Watch the trailer for I voted? below and learn more about the Summer Documentary Program

How do you know your vote counts? Executive produced by Katie Couric, I Voted? premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Robin Hertz, an Reed College alumna Ph.D. student at the University of Oregon. 

ROBIN HERTZ

Currently working on my Ph.D. studies at UO. My most recent project is an interdisciplinary, theoretical, and empirical literature review of the impact of child maltreatment on development, and more specifically the impact of child maltreatment on parenting the next generation. The research angle is, can mindfulness (i.e., the consciousness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, nonjudgmentally) practices help ameliorate the risk of the intergenerational child maltreatment? I am also working part-time as a psychotherapist in training at the Eugene VA Behavioral Health Recovery and Reintegration Services clinic, and working as the clinic assistant coordinator at the UO Psychology Clinic.

Education: Reed College 2010 BA Psychology; University of Wyoming 2013 MS Psychology; University of Oregon Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in progress.

2009 Summer Documentary Program
Watch Robin's student video project: A Home of My Own
Listen to Robin's student radio piece: Returning Veteran's Project

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
I still vividly remember the presentations we gave at a Portland City Council meeting that we attended. I look back fondly at the camaraderie and purpose we shared together - that was wonderful!

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel, MD - an approachable, science-based book about overcoming personal limitations that stem from the difficulties we encounter in life. Informative and inspiring! Since the election, I have discovered podcaster Dan Carlin (Common Sense and Hardcore History); he's got a great voice and refreshingly nonpartisan perspective on politics - highly recommended!

Thanks for sharing with us, Robin! To learn more about the Summer Documentary Program, visit mediamakingchange.org/sdp.

At the base of the American dream is homeownership. But, as current economic troubles tell us, it is not so easy. A Portland-based program helps to place families in land-trust homes. A short profile by students from the 2009 Northwest Institute for Social Change summer program.

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Savannah Tracy, an Oberlin College alumna and Communications and Engagement Fellow at a nonprofit in Pittsburgh. 

2015 Summer Documentary Program
Video: A Second Chance
Radio: Portland Mercado

SAVANNAH TRACY

Currently, I am doing a year-long volunteer service program with the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE). During my time in Pittsburgh, I am living co-op-style with 4 other volunteers and working at a nonprofit. The nonprofit I was placed in, The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), works nationally to support children who have apraxia of speech and their families. As the Communications and Engagement Fellow; I work with different kinds of media to help the organization tell its story and impact. Later in the year, I will hopefully be helping them develop a podcast for their wide audience of parents across the US and North America.

Education: Oberlin College, 2016 (Sociology and Religion double major)

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
I’ll always remember the friendship my team formed with Emanual Price (the Executive Director of SCAFÉ and the subject of our film) as a highlight of my time in Portland. I felt fortunate to get to know him and his incredible work while documenting his organization.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
My go-to podcast right now is Strangers. The storytelling is exquisite. It makes me cry about 75% of the time - while *you* might not want that in a podcast, it does speak to the power of the stories. And Peter Frick Wright and Robbie Carver’s (two instructors in our Summer Documentary Program) Outside Podcast! It’s so good. I also read and loved Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts recently. It’s a memoir of her relationship with her non-binary partner. As a poet, her prose is lyrical and full of moments that ask you to think.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Savannah! Learn more about the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience, the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America, or the Summer Documentary Program

Emanuel Price is an educator, community organizer, activist, founder of a non-profit, and also an ex-con. His organization, Second Chances Are For Everyone, (SCAFÉ), is committed to opening doors who have done their time and want to get back on track. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2015 Summer Documentary Program by Kendra Pittman (Virginia Commonwealth University '16), Savannah Tracy (Oberlin College '16), and Rebecca Reibstein (Smith College '16).

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce North Bennett, a Junior at Whitman College and very recent alumni. Thanks North!

NORTH BENNETT

For the next two weeks I'll be camped out in the library, but after the semester ends I'll be doing my first paid video work for a non-profit back in my hometown of Bellingham, Washington.

2016 Summer Documentary Program (see North's student media work below)
Video: Olive & Dingo
Radio: Rescuing Food and Fighting Hunger

Education: Whitman College, planning to graduate in May 2018 with a B.A. in Environmental Humanities.

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
I keep looking back to the afternoon Lindsey Smith (Co-Director of Olive & Dingo) and I spent with Dingo Dizmal and Olive Rootbeer in front of The Pie Spot. It was a warm, sunny day and not many people showed up for their Storytime show. Still, they did a great performance (and Lindsey and I got some of my favorite shots in the film). Afterward, we had a fantastic off-camera conversation with them and they let us try riding their tall bikes. It was the first time I felt like we had really gained their trust and friendship, and that they cared about us and our film too.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
My history teacher shared the digital art piece "1945-1998" by Isao Hashimoto with our class, and I found it absolutely bone-chilling. The way it portrays nuclear testing and builds momentum throughout time is powerful, terrifying, and thought-provoking.

In addition to attending classes, North produces original video content for Whitman College's newspaper, The Whitman Wire. Click below to watch a short film by North about a recent march in Walla Walla, Washington against the Dakota Access Pipeline and another about a speed Rubik's Cube genius at Whitman. 

250 protesters walked down Main Street and up Third Ave. to the Army Corps of Engineers office to deliver a signed letter requesting that the Walla Walla branch of the Corps denounce the pipeline and urge a halt to construction. Read more: http://whitmanwire.com/news/2016/11/16/students-march-against-dakota-access-pipeline/ Video by North Bennett
Videographer North Bennett splotlights Whitman student, and talented rubix virtuoso, Ian Bourn. Ian provides insight into his process and mindset as he solves these complex puzzles while making it look all too easy.

And here is North's media from summer:

Over the past decade, Portland clown Dingo Dizmal has personified the pinch many artists feel in the city--the struggle to stay true to their punk roots while still making enough money to afford staying in Portland's increasingly expensive housing market. Priced-out of the notorious Clown House he established on Alberta Street, Dingo now performs with wife Olive Rootbeer in local coffee shops, at children's parties, and during community events. Today, Olive and Dingo live out the current tension between Portland’s quirky recent past and increasingly gentrified present. Filmed during the 2016 Summer Documentary Program by North Bennett (Whitman College 2018) and Lindsey Smith (Macalester College 2016).

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the exciting work they're up to around the country. So, without further ado, we're proud to introduce Colin Christopher, one alumni helping to make inspiring positive change in his community. 

COLIN CHRISTOPHER
Executive Director of Green Muslims, a national faith-based environmental education and advocacy non-profit organization; Deputy Director of Government Affairs at Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center, the largest mosque in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area

2010 Summer Documentary Program (see Colin's student media below)
Video: Urban Chickens 
Radio: Mercy Corps NW: Empowering Women Through Microfinance 

Education: George Washington University, 2006 (B.A. in Political Science)
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013 (Master's in International Public Affairs)

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
The intersection of the creative process with political advocacy was a constant theme throughout the summer, providing us with an understanding that these two worlds, often needlessly separated, are best activated when they work together!

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan HaidtIf we don't understand how people understand the political landscape through their various moral lenses, we will never be able to reach certain groups and effective communicate our progressive messages. This is truly a must-read book for policy advocates; especially progressives who are still confused about how a Trump Presidency is upon us.

Read this article from The Washington Post on Colin's reaction to President Elect Trump's call for a registry of Muslim Americans and watch for more alumni profiles in the coming weeks! To learn more about the Summer Documentary Program, visit mediamakingchange.org/sdp

Watch this short film, Muslims Taking Action with V.O.I.C.E., about Colin's his work toward interfaith community engagement.

Pictured below: Colin greeting President Obama for his first visit to an American mosque in February 2016.

Urban Chickens illustrated how backyard chicken coops can reduce carbon footprints. Made during the 2010 Summer Documentary Program by Colin Christopher (George Washington University and University of Wisconsin), Katherine Bascom (Wesleyan University ’10) and Caroline Koehler (Whitman College ’12).

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Colin!

Documentary films submitted for Academy consideration, listed in alphabetical order:

As a companion article to November's MISC Member Newsletter, here we've listed the documentary films submitted for this year's Academy Awards. Read about five of our favorite films on this list in this month's newsletter, and sign up for future monthly member newsletters at mediamakingchange.org/connect. Membership for the Media Institute for Social Change is $25 annually and includes monthly recommendations for new documentaries, or interviews with journalists, or radio podcasts we believe you will find smart and informative. 

The Abolitionists

Abortion: Stories Women Tell

All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone

Almost Holy

Amanda Knox

Among the Believers

Anne Frank Then and Now

The Anthropologist

Apparition Hill

Art Bastard

The Ataxian

Audrie & Daisy

Author: The JT Leroy Story

The Bad Kids

Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story)

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

A Beautiful Planet

Beauty Bites Beast

Becoming Mike Nichols

Before the Flood

Behind Bayonets and Barbed Wire

Behind the Cove – The Quiet Japanese Speak Out!

Best and Most Beautiful Things

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

A Billion Lives

Black Women in Medicine

Blood on the Mountain

Boy 23: The Forgotten Boys of Brazil

The Brainwashing of My Dad

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

By Sidney Lumet

The C Word

Cameraperson

Citizen Soldier

City of Gold

Class Divide

Colliding Dreams

Command and Control

Dancer

Danny Says

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War

Disturbing the Peace

Do Not Resist

Don’t Blink – Robert Frank

The Eagle Huntress

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

Eating You Alive

Equal Means Equal

Eva Hesse

Everything Is Copy – Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted

A Family Affair

Finding Babel

Fire at Sea

The First Monday in May

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life

Francofonia

Generation Startup

Gimme Danger

Gleason

Harry & Snowman

Hate Rising with Jorge Ramos

Holy Hell

Hooligan Sparrow

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

Huntwatch

I Am Not Your Negro

Indian Point

Into the Inferno

Iron Moon

Ivory. A Crime Story

The Ivory Game

Jim: The James Foley Story

Kate Plays Christine

Keepers of the Game

Landfill Harmonic

The Last Man on the Moon

Life, Animated

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

Look at Us Now, Mother!

The Lovers and the Despot

Magnus

Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing

Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame

Mavis!

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Mifune: The Last Samurai

Miss Sharon Jones!

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

My Love, Don’t Cross That River

National Bird

National Parks Adventure

Never Surrender

Newtown

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

Notes on Blindness

Nuts!

O.J.: Made in America

Off the Rails

Older than Ireland

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

On the Map

100 Years, One Woman’s Fight for Justice

Our Last Tango

Presenting Princess Shaw

The Red Pill

Rigged 2016

The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip across Latin America

Rooted in Peace

The Ruins of Lifta

Seasons

The Seventh Fire

Shadow World

Silicon Cowboys

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Solitary

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

Starving the Beast

The Syndrom

Thank You for Your Service

Theo Who Lived

They Will Have to Kill Us First – Malian Music in Exile

13th

This Is Life

Tickled

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

Tower

The Trans List

Trapped

Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria

USS Indianapolis The Legacy

The Uncondemned

Under the Gun

Under the Sun

Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro

Unlocking the Cage

Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe

Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience

We Are X

Weiner

When Two Worlds Collide

The Witness

Zero Days