January 21, 2015 by Rondell Merrill
CAN WE PUT AN END TO IMPUNITY FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE?
THE PROSECUTORS, a documentary in progress, follows the lives of legal practitioners working to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict. Co-produced by the non-profit ART WORKS Projects and Kartemquin Films, THE PROSECUTORS spans three continents, focusing on prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Since filming began in March 2014, the footage was selected for screening in London at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, an international conference hosted in June by William Hague and Angelina Jolie. Footage was also featured in Chicago, Edinburgh, and at the 2014 IDFA Forum in Amsterdam.
Follow this film on its road to completion at http://www.theprosecutorsmovie.com/
MIDWEST FILM SELECTED FOR GOOD PITCH CHICAGO
RAISING BERTIE, directed by Margaret Byrne, is the only Midwestern film of the six selected to participate in Good Pitch Chicago. The film follows three young men over the course of five years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie (bur-TEE) County, a small African American-led farming community in North Carolina.
Good Pitch Chicago connects social and environmental issue documentary filmmakers with potential funders and/or campaign partners, NGOs, policy makers, and other groups and individuals to create coalitions and campaigns that are “good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.”
The inaugural GPC held in 2013 helped Midwest filmmaker Rebecca Parrish gain funding for her film about radical feminist nuns, RADICAL GRACE.
Good Pitch Chicago returns May 5. More info at https://goodpitch.org/films/raising-bertie
SUSTAINING AN INDEPENDENT FILM THROUGH INDIEGOGO
New York and Chicago Emmy nominated filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher are running an Indiegogo campaign to fund their film SUSTAINABLE. As of this writing they have raised $5,6555 of their $60,000 goal. You can support this effort through the end of the month by clicking here.
SUSTAINABLE is a documentary film that weaves together expert analysis of America’s food system with a powerful narrative of one extraordinary farmer who is determined to create a sustainable future for his community. In a region dominated by commodity crops, Marty Travis has managed to maintain a farming model that is both economically viable and environmentally safe. Through his example and various expert interviews, the film will explore options for reversing the issues facing America’s heartland.
SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED, BUT WEATHER HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT
The second episode of six from THE SCHOOL PROJECT will screen January 22 at The University of Chicago’s Logan Center. TSP is an independent cross-platform media project committed to the idea that a healthy public education system is essential to a vital American democracy.
Episode 2, entitled "CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: CLOSED" follows Rosemary Vega, a parent turned activist, through the maze of hearings and protests that preceded the largest school closings in American history.
For more information about this production and upcoming screening, please visit http://www.schoolprojectfilm.com
GRASS ROOTS CAMPAIGN SAVES INDEPENDENT LENS & POV AT WNET
On December 19 WNET in New York City announced they would be moving INDEPENDENT LENS and POV from their usual Monday 10 pm slot, later stating they would replace it with art program repeats. The Indie Caucus, founded by Midwest filmmakers, launched a campaign to keep the programs in their regular spot. A Change.Org petition was launched; various posts and sample letters circulated on social media; supporters, viewers, and donors contacted WNET. After hearing from nearly 1,200 people, PBS station agreed to continue airing the INDEPENDENT LENS and POV in their Monday time slot.
As of January 12th, Indie Caucus is organized a effort to further encourage PBS to continue to support diverse, independent programming; you can join the effort at http://www.indiecaucus.org
Rondell is currently in pre-production on a documentary about the experiences and identity transformation of Iraqi refugee women in the United States. She has completed a documentary short on Bernie's Book Bank, which can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/rondellm.