superman-300×233.jpg” alt=”Image from film Waiting for Superman” width=”237″ height=”185″ />I just watched Waiting For Superman (which for some weird reason is not an Oscar Nominee) and was inspired! Truly one of the best ‘advocay docs’ I’ve seen in a very long time. This is a film everyone interested in campaign communications should watch. Yet, it leaves me wanting… Here are some thoughts:
1. Clear articulation of a problem: Schools are failing. Kids lose out. The solution will not come from lottery or superman.
2. Clear articulation of solutions: Stop waiting for superman. Great people make great schools. Examples of success is showcased in parallell with exposing the systemic problems blocking reform.
3. Powerful storytelling: It’s a beautiful mix of an emotional, factual and personal journey which allows you to meet the people affected by the problem, the villains upholding the problem and the inspiring individuals working for change. And you end up wanting to join the changemakers!
4. Same old actions: Now, with regards to actions they have all the standard ones (text this number, write to your elected official, like it on facebook etc), nothing particulary new or groundbreaking. I’ve tweeted about it but I feel I could do more – I want to volunteer in a school or something… and I think this is our collective challenge. Even when we’re as successful as Waiting For Superman in telling the story, exposing injustice and inspiring action – we’re not particularly good at providing inspiring actions.
This is a problem that gets even harder if the topic we’re campaigning on is global: If your target is ‘world leaders’ rather than ‘local elected official’, or your aim is ending world hunger vs improving your kids’ school…How do we effectively make the actions we ask people to take more proportionate to the problems we present? What is the equivalent of ‘volunteering at your local school’ if the problem is global? Should our guiding light be to follow local media and give every global problem a local answer..? Is it so the only audience that matters is the one that feels the problem as their local problem…? online pharmacy no prescription
The End of Poverty was released in NYC cinemas this weekend and I attended a screening with director’s Q&A at the City Cinemas Village East. The movie, described by the Hollywood Reporter as “a sort of An Inconvenient Truth for global economics” opens with Martin Sheen's comforting yet authoritative narration posing an important question: Why, in a world of so much wealth, is there still so much poverty?
To answer this question, director Philippe Diaz spent three years traveling the world interviewing experts including William Easterly, Susan George, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz. No doubt an impressive list of pundits for those of us who live and breath these issues, but to be honest it sounds more like a great line-up for an academic conference than a blockbuster movie. And sadly, this is the impression I’m left with also after watching the movie. That said, this is an important film that everyone should see, but it likely won't reach beyond the converted as The Hollywood Reporter explains:
Though the topic is unappealing as entertainment, “The End of Poverty?” does an excellent job of informing the viewer without exploiting its subjects or their cultures. Prospects for theatrical success may be dubious. The title won't attract the unenlightened, but one hopes the film will make an impact over time.
A strength of the film is the voices we hear from people not mentioned on the ‘featured’ list above, but who experience poverty everyday in their lives from Kenya to Bolivia. Also, especially riveting – which perhaps warrants a feature movie of its own – are the confessions of former ‘economic hit man’ John Perkins. Mr Perkins reminds us that Western meddling in poor countries’ domestic affairs is not just a thing of the past (ask Eva Morales in Bolivia). During the Q&A Mr. Diaz, admitted that he had interviewed leaders like Lula, Hugo Chavez, and the Morales government, but felt including them would confuse the films message and give viewers license to ignore the message as leftist or socialist propaganda. However, I think the movie could have benefited from exploring in some depth at least one of these examples rather than assuming the viewer understands the complex issues at play. Such big revelations could've have been valuable in marketing the film. Like it or not, such explosive statements are needed to break through the noise — think the way Andre Agassi's crystal meth disclosure has been used widely to sell his new book. (more…)
Twitter users just have to tweet the hashtag #Read2Kids now until Wednesday, November 18. Lionsgate is donating one dollar per tweet up to $1,000. You can find the official message to retweet on Twitcause.
While this is a clearly worthy cause and will generate some great media exposure, Lionsgate isn’t exactly breaking the bank. They have capped their hashtag-to-dollar ratio at $1,000 and only run the project for 6 days, Nov. 12-18. A similar project by Haagen Dazs capped donations per hashtag at $1,000 per day. In addition, Haagen Dazs has already donated $500k to their chosen cause, research on Colony Collapse Disorder among honeybees. (more…)
Come out for a 25-minute preview of the forthcoming documentary The End of Poverty, and for a discussion with director Diaz and journalist Arun Gupta. The film draws a straight line between global inequities and the history of military conquest, slavery and colonization. They’ll also be giving away a limited number of tickets to see the film in theaters.
172 Allen Street, (between Stanton and Rivington Streets)
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Global poverty did not just happen. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, the problem persists because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -— in other words, wealthy countries taking advantage of poor, developing countries.
The Indypendent and Cinema Libre Studio invite you to a special 25-minute preview of The End of Poverty?, a feature-length documentary that explains how today’s financial crisis is a direct consequence of these unchallenged policies that have lasted centuries. A discussion will follow led by award-winning director Philippe Diaz and Indypendent reporter Arun Gupta. Can we really end poverty within our current economic system? Think again.