January 23 – 26, 2008 – Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Utah
The initial “Stories of Change” convening brought together five internationally known social entrepreneurs to interact with documentary filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival. Participants included:
Albina Ruiz created a system of local micro-enterprises in Peru to collect and process garbage, creating employment and improving cleanliness and quality of life in the cities they served. After more than 15 years of promoting her concept, she founded Ciudad Saludable (Healthy City) in 2002.
Rupert Howes is the Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading marine eco-labeling and certification program for wild capture fisheries.
Susan Burns leads the overall strategic direction of Global Footprint Network, as well as being the founder of the pioneering sustainability consulting firm, Natural Strategies.
Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D. is a founder and Executive Director of Global Footprint Networks, a charitable research organization which supports the creation of a sustainable economy by advancing the policy-utility of the Ecological Footprint.
Sebastien Marot founded Friends-International, which aims to provide positive alternatives for street children around the world.
Leading international documentary filmmakers and documentary professionals who participated in presentations, dinners and discussions included Amir Bar-Lev, Michelle Byrd, Heidi Ewing, Eugene Jarecki, Steven Okazaki, Leena Pasanen, Ilda Santiago and Annie Sundberg.
The convening featured panel discussions, screenings of selected films from the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, gatherings with filmmakers and jurors from the US and World Cinema documentary competitions, conversations and engagement between all the participants.
March 26-28, 2008 – Skoll World Forum
Said Business School, University of Oxford
The second convening took place in Oxford, England, and occurred under the auspices of the Skoll World Forum. That forum facilitated discussion, debate and critical questioning around the theme of Social Entrepreneurship: Culture, Context and Social Change.
The Oxford convening featured four invited documentary filmmakers:
Alex Cooke directed United Gates of America for the BBC, as well as four films for Discovery Times’ Only In America series, including Gay Rodeo, Country Preachers, The Real 8 Mile and Fight Club.
Alan Hayling and Alex Cooke cofounded Renegade Pictures UK. Until June 2006, he was Head of Documentaries at BBC Television. He had previously been a Commissioning Editor in Channel 4’s documentary department.
Patrick Reed has collaborated with Peter Raymont on a number of award-winning productions, including Shakes Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire. He recently directed Tsepong: A Clinic Called Hope about doctors fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Lesotho, Africa.
Annie Sundberg, along with Ricki Stern at Break Thru Films, directed and produced the documentaries The Devil Came on Horseback and The Trials of Darryl Hunt. She also produced the independent feature Tully and the documentaries In My Corner and One Survivor Remembers.
The convening included panel discussions featuring Under Secretary General of the UN Dr. Nafis Sadik and Justice Karen Tse. In addition the panel “Storytelling in the Modern World” was introduced by Sundance Institute’s Executive Director Ken Brecher and moderated by Documentary Film Program Director Cara Mertes, and included Skoll SASE William Strickland, author Walter Mosley, humanitarian and author Dr. James Orbinski and filmmaker Annie Sundberg.
July 31 – August 3, 2008 – Sundance Independent Producers Conference
Park City, Utah
The final convening of 2008 featured distinguished filmmakers and the international social entrepreneurs whose organizations inspire their documentary projects.
Julie Park Benello has produced documentaries on health and environmental issues such as the award winning HBO documentary Blue Vinyl.
Sakena Yacoobi is Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, established to provide teacher training, education and health services to women and children in Afghanistan. Her work inspires Benello’s film Girls Post Taliban, which will interweave the stories of three young women who are being educated in the Afghan Institute of Learning.
Dorothy Stoneman is founder and president of YouthBuild USA, the national intermediary and support center for 226 YouthBuild programs nationwide. The program supports low-income youth who build housing for homeless and low-income people while they earn their own GED or diploma. Filmmaker
Annie Sundberg is an award-winning filmmaker currently in production on a film about Youth Build programs and the stakes involved for students and graduates.
Ross Kauffman, director, producer, cinematographer and co-editor of Born Into Brothels is filming Lydia, the moving story of a young girl from rural Tanzania.
Social entrepreneur Ann Cotton has worked as an advocate for children and girls’ education in Zimbabwe, and founded Camfed in 1993. Filmmaker Helen Cotton has produced and directed programs for the Discovery Channel and co-directed and produced the feature-length documentary Where The Water Meets the Sky.
John Wood is the Founder and CEO of Room to Read, and brings to it a vision for a scalable solution to developing world educational problems.
The series of panel discussion and interactions at the convening underscored the connections between filmmakers and social entrepreneurs. DFP Director Cara Mertes arranged for private sessions with leading field practitioners, including Margaret Drain, VP of Production at WGBH | Boston; Lynne Kirby, formerly SVP of Original Programming, Sundance Channel; Diane Weyermann, EVP, Participant Media and Dan Cogan, Impact Partners.