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Lights, Camera, Action!

Posted by Kate Reese
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Lights, Camera, Action!

Each year, 21st Century Fox partners with Ghetto Film School Fellowsyoung people from traditionally underrepresented communitiesto provide them exposure to the film industry and an opportunity to produce their own short films. This year, the final product was screened at the Paley Center for Media and President of the Criterion Collection, Peter Becker, led a Q&A with the fellows.

 

The film, titled El Coche Rojo, was shot on location in Spain. During the Q&A, students were able to discuss the challenges and lessons learned from the production process. While the fellows were in high school when the movie was made, the experience was incredibly impactful and fostered personal growth. One fellow, Christopher Negron, said “I wasn't just responding to an assignment like I was in high school. I was putting myself into something and really bringing out some things in myself I didn't know were there."

 

Throughout the fellowship, students are given access to visit live sets on the Fox Studio’s lot, attend exclusive screenings, and meet with industry professionals to get support and advice. Ghetto Film School is one of many projects supported by 21st Century Fox Impact that supports their mission to enriching film education for youth.

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Spotlight on Arts & Business Partnerships in Chicago

Posted by Jordan Shue
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Spotlight on Arts & Business Partnerships in Chicago

The worlds of arts and business came together on June 13 during Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention Chicago, when three leaders from the local community came together for a session to discuss best practices in forming mutually beneficial partnerships.

 

Andrew Micheli, the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago; Raaja Nemani, the Co-Founder and CEO of BucketFeet; and Christine Hoisington, Director of Community Partnerships at Booz Allen Hamilton (a 2011 BCA 10 honoree), joined Americans for the Arts’ Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives, Emily Peck, for a frank conversation about what businesses want from partnerships with the arts.

 

Raaja Nemani, who co-founded BucketFeet four years ago after traveling around the world, spoke about the company’s work with Elizabeth’s Canvas, an arts organization dedicated to providing cancer patients, survivors, and their family members with free creative programs. BucketFeet, in addition to supporting arts groups, supports individual artists around the world by commissioning them to design shoes and other products, as well as accepting unsolicited proposals for new products. According to Nemani, “art is an agent of change…a way to bring different people together.”

 

Booz Allen Hamilton’s Christine Hoisington was very clear that businesses are not looking to sign checks for arts organizations; sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships are way to go. She suggested that since “arts organizations are the best to partner with for employee engagement,” groups could approach businesses with value-added propositions for how the arts can play into a businesses’ goals, rather than seek outright support through traditional means like donations and sponsorships. In addition to supporting the Environmental Film Festival, Booz Allen Hamilton employees volunteer and are involved each year in the event.

 

Employee engagement, particularly through skills-based volunteering, is the way the Arts & Business Council of Chicago began its operations 30 years ago today with its Business Volunteers for the Arts® program. Andrew Micheli spoke of the organization’s push to educate local arts organizations about forming arts and business partnerships. By fostering board placements, engaging business employees through professional volunteering, and more, the Arts & Business of Chicago serves as the local voice for arts in the business community.

 

For more information on partnering with business or building your message, browse through our tool-kits for arts groups.
 

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AT&T and Rooftop Films Make Movie Magic

Posted by Stephanie Dockery
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Rooftop Films is a nonprofit film organization, founded in 1997, that aims to engage and inspire diverse communities by screening films throughout NYC. The organization also produces movies, teaches filmmaking to youth, and rents low-cost equipment to the arts community. It is best known for their summer series, which offers a full schedule of independent film screenings that have not been presented in theaters. Since 2011, the organization has fulfilled a successful partnership with AT&T.

 

Rooftop Films' board member, Samara Daly, became aware of the company's mission to accelerate their support of cultural groups in NYC while working at Speaker Christine Quinn's office, before the mayoral run. Rooftop Films realized AT&T was most interested in providing support to homegrown, NYC cultural institutions. AT&T enjoys and benefits from Rooftop Films' connections locally and abroad, as they provide high-level access to the filmmaking industry.

 

The organization is best known for their Summer Series, presented by AT&T, a season of independent film screenings that have not yet been shown in theaters. 50 international and domestic films are shown throughout the summer, thus programming 3-4 events per week. This past summer, 35,000 people were in attendance, thus creating an attractive volume and reach for AT&T, as they aimed to benefit from Rooftop Film's ability to connect a wide, diverse audience. AT&T’s support keeps ticket prices low, supports live music at each show, and creates the reality for more big annual events. The company's contributions have provided multiple free screenings, including showings at Coney Island Beach, Metro Tech Center in Brooklyn, and Tompkins Square Park. Support also contributes to an "after party," which every ticket buyer is invited to, thus creating an open community with more engagement between their participants and funders.

 

AT&T was attracted to Rooftop Film’s ability to bring the independent film community together while reaching out to underserved neighborhoods. Resulting from the success of the Summer Series program is the Rooftop Films AT&T Feature Film Grant, for which AT&T also acts as lead sponsor. Filmmakers who have shown work through Rooftop Films are eligible for the grant which awards $10,000 in prize money. Additionally, one dollar from every Summer Series ticket sold goes to the fund, bolstering AT&T's main contribution. Notable recipients of the prize include Benh Zeitlin, for his Oscar nominated picture Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Sean Durkin, for the critically acclaimed Martha Marcy May Marlene. Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President-AT&T believes "New York is a hub for filmmaking, aiding our cultural and economic development, and AT&T is proud to be a part of this important citywide movement."

 

AT&T exemplifies how a company can connect with communities and artistic spaces to help strengthen their brand by bolstering the cultural landscape.

 

For more information on AT&T’s partnerships with the cultural community and other sustainability efforts, visit ATT.com. To learn more about Rooftop Films, visit RooftopFilms.com.

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Power of Storytelling for Social Change

Posted by Wendy Hawkins
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It is hard to imagine a more visceral and impactful medium for connecting to an audience than film.  And if our goal is to bring about social change, what better medium for getting people to step up and take action than a well-made film?

 

I had the pleasure last week of participating on a panel on the topic of storytelling for social change – particularly around documentary films – at the 2013 CECP Summit.  There Joe Brewster told of the 13 years he and his wife spent filming their own son and his best friend as they embarked with great anticipation on the journey of their elementary and high school education – a journey that took them to some darker places and greater challenges than they had ever anticipated for this much loved son of a middle class African American family in New York City.  American Promise is deeply moving and delivers tough messages about the role of assumptions and biases in defining the world in which these boys grow up – beyond the ability of their parents to shape and control.

 

Rashid Shabazz of the Open Society Foundations and Program Officer for Black Male Achievement told of the process by which he and his foundation decided that this film had the potential to move audiences in ways that other, more traditional grants might never reach.

 

Holly Gordon, Executive Producer of “Girl Rising” told of the evolution of a concept from its birth through the iterative creative process.  She talked extensively about the role that Intel, as partner and sponsor, played in supporting the production in ways that exceeded anything that either partner originally anticipated.

 

This gorgeous and powerful film stands as testament to the impact that a brilliantly conceived and executed film can have.  Audiences are building over time with hundreds of thousands more to see the film as it airs on CNN on Fathers’ Day, June 16, and around the world in coming months.

 

While the panel – under the deft guidance of moderator, Dawn Porter, a filmmaker in her own right and founder of Trilogy Films – was open and honest about the challenges of partnership between filmmaker/artists and funder/corporations, agreement was clear that the process and the product were worth the strains of learning to speak one another’s jargon, march to a different drummer, and bridge the cultural chasms between our experiences.

 

In our case at Intel, we were not only learning to work with the filmmakers, but were building and managing an internal coalition encompassing Corporate Affairs, HR and Corporate Marketing.  While we are very comfortable with the public-private partnership externally, there are subtle differences in working with internal partners!  We are all still very much engaged in this partnership, and are all agreed that our significant joint dollar investment has been generously repaid whether measured in employee loyalty and new hire recruitment, in public awareness and accolades, or in making a genuine impact of our goals of improving education access for girls worldwide.

 

In the case of the filmmakers and the 10X10 action campaign they created, they will tell you about the support beyond cash that was instrumental in helping them reach their goals: marketing expertise, introductions at the World Economic Forum and other global venues, employee volunteers in countries all around the world, and much more.

We all count ourselves willing and ready to share more of the behind-the-scenes (literally!), nitty-gritty experience of our efforts.  We encourage more corporate givers to consider film as advocacy and filmmakers as grant recipients, and partnerships internal and external to bring the film to life.  The benefits can  exceed your most ambitious expectations.

 

*This post was originally published by CECP on 3BL Media on Friday, June 14, 2013.

 

(This post, originally published on by CECP on 3BL Media on Friday, June 14, 2013, is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. - See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2013/07/02/power-of-storytelling-for-social-change-from-the-partnership-movement/#more-20897
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Booz Allen Hamilton to Sponsor the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Booz Allen Hamilton to Sponsor the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival

Booz Allen Hamilton, recognized as one of the most prestigious technology consulting firms in the world, is bringing its resources to the big screen. The company will be sponsoring the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital this month (March 12-24), which seeks to advance public understanding of the environment through the power of film.

 

From the official website of the Festival, "The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has become one of the world’s largest and most influential showcases of environmental film and a major collaborative cultural event in Washington, D.C. Each March, the Festival presents a diverse selection of high quality environmental films… Documentaries, features, animations and shorts are shown, as well as archival, experimental and children’s film at venues throughout the city. Selected to provide fresh perspectives on global environmental issues, most Festival films are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests, including national decision makers and thought leaders, and are free to the public.”

 

Booz Allen's Senior Vice President Gary Rahl first became interested in the Festival after attending a screening. The positive impact the film had on the attendees spoke to him in such a way that he suggested the company become a sponsor. Rahl is now a member of the Festival’s board of directors.

 

“Each year I’ve watched the Festival grow, but what remains constant is that the films are always an incredible blend of art, information, education and entertainment from unique points of view,” comments Rahl. “Some films are ‘calls to action’ about specific environmental problems, and others focus on people who are making a difference today, but each one explores some aspect of our relationship with the environment. While most commercial films want you to leave the theater feeling good, many of the films in the Festival aren’t afraid to challenge you. You may be inspired by one film and completely disagree with another, but either way you will broaden your awareness of the world we all ultimately share.”

 

Rahl feels, as a consultant in the energy and environment field, that the Festival can provide useful information to Booz Allen employees. The company believes that the arts and humanities are integral to the vibrancy of its corporate culture. The new partnership with the Environmental Film Festival serves to continue the company mission of arts development and preservation, while also educating employees on issues that may directly correlate to their work.

 

For a full list of screenings and film descriptions from the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, visit dcenvironmentalfilmfestival.org. For more information on Booz Allen Hamilton’s arts and culture work, visit BoozAllen.com.

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