Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary

2011 Convenings

2011 Convenings

January 25-28, 2011 - Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Utah

The SFF 11 Stories of Change convening a working group of eight people that included two social entrepreneurs whose work focuses on preventing deforestation and a representative from a Skoll partner in the region. A fourth participant declined at the last minute due to health issues. This group engaged in a series of high-level working sessions, panels and networking dinners with journalists, media specialists and documentary filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival. They included:

Federico Bellone is an environmentalist involved in conservation and climate change in the Amazon. As Amazon Programme Manager for the AVINA foundation, he provides capacity building support to leading social entrepreneurs and institutions across the Amazon Basin countries, networking them into building shared agendas for sustainability. Born Italian, he has spent most of his life living and working throughout Latin America, and holds an MSc in environmental technology and water management.

Willy Foote began his career as a financial analyst in the Latin American Corporate Finance group at Lehman Brothers, and as a journalist in Mexico and Argentina. Mr. Foote is on the executive committee of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was a founding board member of the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) and currently serves on the boards of the Open Learning Exchange (OLE) and E&Co. Mr. Foote holds a B.A. from Yale University and a M.Sc. in development economics and economic history from the London School of Economics.

Michael Jenkins is founding President of Forest Trends, a Washington D.C. based non-profit organization, created in 1999 by leaders from conservation organizations, community leaders, forest product companies, research groups, multilateral development banks and private investment funds. Its mission is to expand the value of forests to society; to promote sustainable forest management and conservation by creating and capturing market values for ecosystem services; to support innovative projects and companies that are developing these markets; and to enhance the livelihoods of local communities living in and around those forests.

Christopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Oliver Morton is a writer and editor who concentrates on scientific knowledge, technological change and their effects. He is currently the Energy and Environment Editor at The Economist.

Wendy Levy is formerly the Director of Creative Programming at BAVC, and the Director of the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies. She is currently a Senior Strategist at Tomorrow Partners a full service creative agency with a focus on sustainability that collaborates with clients on what’s next.

Maren Grainger-Monsen is a physician and filmmaker-in-residence at Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. She directed Worlds Apart and Hold Your Breath, a large-scale project on cross-cultural conflicts in medicine currently used in 63 percent of U.S. medical schools.

Nicole Newnham is a documentary filmmaker and writer based in Oakland, California. She recently co-produced and directed the critically-acclaimed, award-winning documentary, The Rape of Europa and Sentenced Home.

In addition, outreach strategists and film producers were invited to work with the entrepreneurs for specialized media strategy workshops. In addition, entrepreneurs had one-on-one meetings with attending industry professionals.

Leading international documentary filmmakers, authors, performers and documentary professionals who participated in presentations, dinners and discussions included Pamela Yates (Granito), Matt Groening, Lucy Walker (Wasteland), Jeff Blitz, Doug Liman, Amy Goodman and David Carr.

The Convening featured panel discussions, screenings of selected films from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, gatherings with filmmakers and jurors from the US and World Cinema documentary competitions, conversations and engagement between all the participants.

Below is a sample of the SFF 11 Convening schedule activities:

  • Workshop sessions and a private meeting with Bill Haney (The Last Mountain), prior to the premiere of his film.
  • Dinner events were organized each night for networking purposes, which were followed by film premieres of The Last Mountain (directed by Bill Haney) and the Sundance U.S.A. premiere film, Life in a Day.

During the day the group attended panels at the Filmmaker Lodge and special events such as:

The Aha! Moment: How to Make Change Stick(y)
The twenty-first-century storytelling environment is about great storytelling and audience engagement, whether it’s watching, buying, organizing, or tweeting. Hear the masters and mistresses of film impact discuss the ways they broke new ground in the storytelling-and-change arena—from multiplatform strategies and games to geo-locational apps, and straight-up strategy. With Pamela Yates (Granito), Steve James (The Interrupters), Ted Richane (Cause & Affect) and Maren Grainger-Monsen (The Revolutionary Optimists).

March 31-April 1, 2011 - Skoll World Forum
Said Business School, University of Oxford 

The sixth Stories of Change convening at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England reflected a significant presence of the Stories of Change partnership, including the premiere of The Team, several storytelling workshops and individual meetings with a range of social entrepreneurs and Forum delegates. That forum facilitated discussion, debate and critical questioning around large scale change, ecosystems, networks and collaborative actions.

The Oxford convening featured five Sundance DFP-invited documentary filmmakers and film professionals:

Andy Ellwood is Director of Business Development at Gowalla, a social network inspiring people to discover and share amazing places with their friends. People around the world have now visited, commented on and photographed over 2.3 million places in 170 countries with Gowalla.

Kirsten Johnson is currently shooting a film about the work of Skoll entrepreneur Sakena Yacoobi (who attended the Convening at the Summit in 2008). Kirsten is a sought after documentary cinematographer, documentary director and is currently developing her first feature film. She is currently editing a documentary feature she shot and directed, I Dream Them Always.

Wendy Levy is formerly the Director of Creative Programming at BAVC, and the Director of the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies. She is currently a Senior Strategist at Tomorrow Partners a full service creative agency with a focus on sustainability that collaborates with clients on what’s next.

Pamela Yates has over twenty years experience working in independent documentary. She is the director of the Sundance Award-winning When the Mountains Tremble, the producer of the Emmy Award-winning Loss of Innocence and the executive producer of the Academy Award-winning Witness to War.

Paco de Onis is a co-founder of Skylight Pictures with Pamela Yates and has produced several internationally acclaimed documentaries and web projects. His most recent film, Granito, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Through out the three days of the Forum filmmakers participated in panel discussions, formal networking lunches and dinners, and extensive informal networking opportunities for the filmmakers and social entrepreneurs.

DFP staff and attending filmmakers participated in two highly successful workshop sessions on Tuesday prior to the Forum and Thursday during the Forum in a ‘Connect & Collaborate’ session including:

Multiplatform Strategies & Storytelling
Cara Mertes (Director, Sundance Documentary Film Program) and Wendy Levy (Director, Bay Area Video Coalition) led a hand-on workshop looking at how storytelling, technology and social media come together to create high-impact communications strategies that engage and activate your target audience. Note: This workshop provided actionable strategies in the moment and based on attendee feedback, paving the way for an in-depth multi-day “boot camp” later this year.

Storytelling for Impact
Led by Cara Mertes, storytelling experts from Sundance to soap operas to social media engaged with 60+ participants, exploring different strategies to reach key audiences and create impact that matters. Participants came prepared to share your own successes and challenges in this dynamic interactive discussion that examines when, where and how storytelling moves the mission and drives impact.

On the opening day of the Forum the second of the Stories of Change films to reach completion premiered at the New Theatre in Oxford. Patrick Reed and Peter Raymont, Director and Producer of The Team, were in attendance and participated in a post-screening Q&A with DFP Director Cara Mertes and Search for Common Ground founder John Marks. Mertes also moderated a panel on Friday titled “Say What? Storytelling, Language and Culture” with panelists included Lera Boroditsky, Professor, Stanford University, Naif Al-Mutawa, CEO, The 99, MartÍn von Hildebrand, Director, Fundación Gaia Amazonas.