How often can you eat your midweek dinner with a playwright, a chef, an accountant, a comedian, an architect, a banker and a builder, all meeting for the first time, at the same table? Last week, we were lucky enough to create such a dream dinner party scenario in the form of the first central-London Refugees Welcome to Dinner evening. We turned the office into a pop-up cafe, and invited new friends and neighbours from refugee backgrounds to break bread with us.
Members of the team dug out favourite family recipes and got to work, and people were soon piling in out of the rain. Guests from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Albania and Iran introduced themselves and gathered around the makeshift tables. Big pots of lamb stew and rice were served, there was apple crumble, backgammon and a lot of story swapping.
Shyness gave way to conversation and games as we got to know each other and began to understand some of the realities and obstacles people were facing upon arriving in London. These stories were hugely inspiring, humbling and complex. Beneath the optimism shared, we also heard stories of heart-breaking loss. Of relatives left behind in Syria, and others who were lost on the journey here. These stories left us determined to do more to support.
If you would like to host your own dinner party, find out more here.
London should be following Sheffield’s lead when it comes to the quality and quantity of our welcome. In 2007 Sheffield became the UK’s first ‘City of Sanctuary’ for asylum-seekers and refugees—a city that takes pride in the welcome it offers to people in need of safety. Last year, the city council pledged to double their efforts resettling another 75 Syrian refugees a year for the next three years.
We are heading to Sheffield ourselves next month for the Doc/Fest and so in celebration of that great British city, we'll leave you with this steel-city themed playlist for the train - featuring such local heroes as
Lust in the Movies // The Long Blondes
Sing it Back // Moloko
Disco 2000 // Pulp
A Certain Romance // Arctic Monkeys
team BRITDOC x
PROJECT SAFE & SECURE
Key partners have come together over the past year to address a long-neglected and increasingly critical issue at the heart of our industry - how we approach risk and security in documentary. It’s essential that we join forces to get serious about the risks that doc filmmakers are putting themselves - and their crews, subjects and sources - in to bring important stories to public awareness. A new awareness of the ubiquity of state and private electronic surveillance only underscores the vulnerability of teams and their subjects investigating state and corporate powers at home or abroad.
This collective focus has evolved into a new initiative: Project Safe & Secure. At a meeting at the Ford Foundation in 2016, the following funders of independent documentary signed up to this joint project, to be led by BRITDOC: Bertha Foundation, Catapult Fund, Chicken & Egg, Chicago Media Project, Compton Foundation, Filmmaker Fund, Fledgling Fund, Ford Foundation, Hartley Film Fund, HBO, IDA, Impact Partners, ITVS, Liminal Fund, MacArthur Foundation, Media Impact Funders, POV, Sundance Institute, Wyncote Foundation.
As documentary takes on more of the investigative journalism mantle from print, there is less room for error - either in the court of public opinion or in the court of law. More films are coming under the sort of legal challenge that established news organisations are used to, but independent filmmakers don’t have the experience, resources or support that news organisations have to meet these risks and responsibilities. That’s our challenge - ensuring projects can go through production and reach their audiences safe, secure, robust and insured.
Our Shit Creek panel will kick us off, at Doc/Fest on Saturday 10th June, at 12pm, Crucible Adelphi (more on this below).
Also at Doc/Fest, we will host a funders' breakfast to update on progress and preview the draft Safe & Secure Common Protocol on Sunday 11th June, 9am-10am.
The first funders' training day will take place in New York on Thursday 14th September.
For more information on the Safe & Secure initiative and the upcoming sessions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
COUNTDOWN TO SHEFFIELD
Only 18 days to go! We’ve been excitedly poring over the fantastic programme for next month's Doc/Fest.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR FILMMAKERS
Wonderful to see the Bertha BRITDOC Journalism fund-supported films An Insignificant Man (dir Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla), Trophy (dir Shaul Schwarz, Christina Clusiau) and Whose Streets? (dir Damon Davis, Sabaah Folayan) in the schedule. Last but in no possible way least is the UK premiere of Laura Poitras' Risk, first screening on the Saturday night.
Make sure you also catch the brilliant Thank You for the Rain (dir Julia Dahr), a Bertha Connect fund film, and the breathtaking Chasing Coral (dir Jeff Orlowski), a BRITDOC Circle supported project.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE GOOD PITCH FILM TEAMS
We’re proud to see so many Good Pitch projects amongst the programme; Unrest (dir Jennifer Brea), Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas (dir Joakim Demmer), Quest (dir Jonathan Olshefski), Even When I Fall (dir Kate McLarnon, Sky Neal), Lindy Lou Juror Number 2 (dir Jean-Baptiste Legrand) and Strong Island (dir Yance Ford) as well as films already mentioned above Whose Streets?, Chasing Coral, Thank You for the Rain - not-to-be-missed screenings.
JOIN US AT THE BRITDOC PANEL
We’re psyched to be bringing back Shit Creek: the hypothetical paddle game first seen at the IDA’s Getting Real last September, with new nightmare situations to walk through. When you’re filming, the ethical, legal, journalistic and security decisions you make could put you — and your collaborators and subjects — in court, hospital or jail. Our game show host and documentary legend Peter Dale will take our cast through some of these classic ‘oh shit!’ scenarios.
‘The Producer’ Charlotte Cook (Field of Vision)
‘The Lawyer’ Jennifer Robinson (Doughty Street Chambers).
‘The Funder’ Charlie Phillips (The Guardian)
‘The Filmmaker’ Ashish Ghadiali (Director “The Confession”)
‘The Trauma Expert’ Gavin Rees (Dart Centre Europe)
Come join us, participate and develop a whole new enthusiasm for smart risk management!
Sat 10th June at 12pm, at Crucible Adelphi.
Good Pitch is coming to Miami for the first time on June 20th, in our 10th anniversary year, and it’s shaping up to be pretty phenomenal. Eight exceptional film projects are presenting from the US, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala and Bolivia. Over 200 organisations are attending the event, with international guests coming in from across the Americas including:
Action Aid, Advancement Project, Americans for Immigrant Justice, Al Jazeera, Amazon Watch, Ambulante, Asoc. Americana de Juristas, British Council Colombia, CAA, Canadian Media Producers Association, CBS Miami, Chicago Center for Art & Technology, Cine Vagabundo, Citizen Schools, City of Miami Beach, CrossCurrents Foundation, Dream Defenders, Film Sprout, Firelight Media, Florida Investigative Reporters, Ford Foundation, Forest Trends, Fusion - Rise Up, Goldman Sachs, Good Pitch Australia / Shark Island, Harbor Institute, Hartley Film Foundation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Health Care Without Harm, Health Leads, Historias En Kilómetros, International Centre for Transitional Justice, Imazon, IUCN NL, Kickstarter, Knight Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting Project, Marshall Project, Miami Film Festival, Michigan People’s Campaign, MidCap Financial, MIT Open Doc Lab, Netflix Originals, New Media Advocacy Project, Nexus, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Omidyar Network, One Sky, Open Society Foundation, Peace is Loud, Philanthropy Workshop, Rap Sessions, Ryot, San Francisco Film Society, Skoll Foundation, Southern Documentary Fund, Spitfire Strategies, Story Matters Media, Sundance Institute, Transparency International, Tribeca Film Institute, UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Univision Communications Inc., Upworthy, Vera Institute of Justice, Voz Pro Salud Mental Jalisco A.C., Washington Office on Latin America, Wellspring Advisors, Witness, YouthBuild USA
We are bringing Good Pitch to Miami with our usual partners Ford Foundation and Sundance Institute and for this edition, we are excited to also be collaborating with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Fusion Media Group. 8 film teams from across the US and Latin America will present their projects to collaborators on June 20th at the beautiful New World Symphony building.
If you’re in Miami or can get to Miami, get involved!. Click here to attend on the 20th.
The next day, at Good Pitch Local on Wednesday 21st, we will turn our focus from the global to the local. We are inviting local filmmakers to gather to find partners that can enable stories made for, by and about Miami and the state of Florida to have the greatest local impact, and sometimes the potential for a national impact too. We are especially interested in online short form storytelling.
The partners we are gathering are Florida-based local storytellers, filmmakers and journalists, local lawyers, local organisers, local policy makers and officials, local funders and local media. What they will all have in common is an interest in putting a focus on stories and issues that matter the most to local citizens.
If you know a local Miami storyteller, organiser or funder you’d like to recommend the event to, please contact email@example.com
Earlier this month on May 4th, more than 400 specially invited Southeast Asian changemakers have witnessed the spectacular first edition of Good Pitch² Southeast Asia. The packed Goethe-Haus auditorium was filled with business leaders, leading policy-makers, philanthropists, NGOs and individuals who believe in documentary films and their innovative impact campaigns to resolve our society's pressing issues. More than USD160,000 of funding and more than 100 new partnerships have resulted from a day full of love, encouragement, and support for the brilliant filmmakers whose projects inspire us all.
We are absolutely energised that better education systems, better futures for disabled communities, greater rights for domestic workers and reconciliation for our dark history will be made possible by the wonderful films and collaborations that are brokered by Good Pitch2 Southeast Asia.
Congratulations to the film teams, to Amelia and Anasthasia and the whole team at In-Docs and to the constellation of international Outreach superstars Mandy Marahmin (Indonesia), Samantha Choo (Singapore) and Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala (Philippines) who pulled it all off.
To find out more about the projects, visit https://www.goodpitch2sea.org/films/
To join the line-up of powerful collaborations for the films and their impact campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Opposition team have been smashing it in Australia! It was the opening night film at the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) in Melbourne on the 4th May which sparked an encore screening on the 7th. This premiere wasn’t without controversy; the Paga Hill Development Company have continued their attempt to attack the credibility of the team as publicity around the story has increased. Despite this, Australian audiences have now witnessed the Paga Hill community’s struggle to defend their human rights against the ambitions of an Australian-run company determined to build a mega-complex on the land they live on.
A new petition has been launched by Aid/Watch to stop the Australian government funding the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (which will take place at Paga Hill) until the community who were brutalised are compensated - SIGN HERE http://www.aidwatch.org.au/theopposition/
Next up: Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and back to Melbourne for the Progress Conference. The team then head to new Zealand and the US. Watch this space!
Laura Poitras’s long awaited and highly anticipated film following the trials and tribulations of the Wikileaks team over the past 6 years is now out and is essential viewing. Risk is at cinemas and on Itunes in the US, and slated for UK premiere at Sheffield and British cinemas at the end of June.
Tickets are now on sale for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in NYC. Pamela Yates' Resistance trilogy, Heather White and Lynn Zhang's Complicit and Good Pitch Local's Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2 are part of the festival.
Til next month!