Changemakers: Documentaries That
Spur Social Movements
How are innovative women filmmakers across the globe using documentaries to inspire social movements?
Award-winning filmmakers from Iran, India, the United States and Mexico reveal how they are combating women's rights abuses, anti-immigration laws and human trafficking using the power of the documentary. The panelists will share their inspiring personal stories and talk about how they use various media, including social networking tools, to get their messages out to the international community.
Laura Castañeda is a freelance journalist and an assistant professor of radio and television at San Diego City College. She has reported for Cox Communication's news magazine San Diego Insider and ABC affiliate KGTV. In addition, Castañeda worked as a general assignment reporter and anchor at KGUN-TV, the ABC station in Tucson, for four years where she covered law enforcement and a variety of assignments along the U.S. Mexico border. Castañeda was recently nominated by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for an Emmy for the news magazine show Stories de la Frontera.
Jesse Erica Epstein's film Wet Dreams and False Images received a Short Subject Jury Award at the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival and is part of a larger project called Body Typed, produced by Chicken & Egg Pictures. She recently received a grant from The Fledgling Fund for Audience Engagement, a website and video game on media and physical perfection. Epstein was named one of "25 Filmmakers To Watch" by Filmmaker magazine and her most recent work, 34x25x36, was broadcast nationally on POV last summer.
Nancy Kennedy is a New York based editor who has worked on several award winning films including Sundance Grand Jury winner Why We Fight (2005) and Sundance winners Thank You and Good Night and Riding The Rails. She has also co-directed and edited several independent documentaries, most recently Blue Grass Journey and Who's On First (Baseball Comes to Greece) and is currently directing a film about feminism She's Beautiful When She's Angry. Her many editing credits include work at all the major networks on television series such as Great Performances, American Experience, Wide Angle, 60 Minutes and National Geographic specials.
Bitta Mostofi is the co-founder of Where is My Vote, New York. Where Is My Vote is a grassroots initiative consisting of students, teachers, lawyers, artists and academics, working to strengthen the efforts of Iranian people in their struggle to further social and political rights. The group promotes the work of hundreds of Iranian documentarians, videographers, citizen journalists and bloggers in order to raise awareness about human rights abuses and violations in the aftermath of the disputed June 12, 2009 Iranian presidential election and to increase the level of international solidarity with the citizens of Iran.
is a filmmaker from Mumbai currently residing in Brooklyn. Her latest film, Made In India, co-directed with Rebecca Haimowitz, about the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogacy to India, is due to premiere at Hot Docs 2010. Her other films include the short documentary Red Roses
and Choose Life
, a short narrative about reproductive issues. She is also currently co-directing the film Kashmir. Previously, she worked as researcher and editing associate with filmmaker Richard Wormser at Videoline Productions. She has also worked for non-profit organizations in India that promote women's voices. Sinha uses filmmaking as a platform to explore and discuss socially sensitive issues.
Michelle Byrd, Moderator, ran the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) for over 12 years. Byrd became part of IFP in 1992, when she joined the membership and programming departments. She oversaw the expansion of the No Borders International Co-Production Market, The Gotham Independent Film Awards and Independent Feature Labs for both narrative and documentary programs. She has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival, been awarded the "Made in New York" career tribute by Mayor Bloomberg and appeared on Variety's Annual "Indie Impact List: 50 Who Made a Difference."
Produced by Tala Dowlatshahi and Madelynn Amalfitano
NYWIFT's Women's Film Exhibition Series is supported, in part, with grants from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Last updated: Aug. 2, 2010