Skoll Foundation and Sundance Institute Present “Stories of Change” Screening

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Los Angeles, CA —As part of the 2012 Skoll World Forum, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP) and the Skoll Foundation will present asneak preview of three films created as part of their joint “Stories of Change” program.  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with participating filmmakers and social entrepreneurs and led by Sundance Institute DFP Director Cara Mertes. The screening and post-screening discussion are free and open to the public.  They take place on Wednesday March 28th beginning at 21:30 at the New Theatre in Oxford.

The three films that will be previewed include: ­­­­­

  • Barefoot Engineers – an observational documentary that follows three women of limited formal education as they travel from their villages in Africa and the Middle East to India in order to receive the training needed to become solar engineers.  Directors Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, Producer Mette Heide, Social Entrepreneur Bunker Roy.
  • Partners in Health – follows a remarkable public health charity organization operating in thirteen of the poorest countries around the world and the man who founded it.  Director Kief Davidson, Producer Cori Sheperd Stern, Social Entrepreneur Paul Farmer.
  • The Revolutionary Optimists – a lawyer turned social entrepreneur empowers children to become “health minders” in the slums of Calcutta.  Directors/Producers Maren Grainger-Monsen and Nicole Newham, Social Entrepreneur Amlan Ganguly.

The event is part of a Stories of Change convening, a series of private workshops focused on storytelling strategies as well as nightly networking events, film screenings and panels that will create a framework for defining entrepreneurs’ unique personal and organizational stories. The initiative, a five-year collaboration between Sundance Institute DFP and the Skoll Foundation, is dedicated to exploring film’s role in advancing knowledge about social entrepreneurship.  A select group of Skoll Foundation-awarded social entrepreneurs and filmmakers will participate.

STORIES OF CHANGE: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN FOCUS THROUGH DOCUMENTARY is a multi-year, $5 million initiative of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and the Skoll Foundation. The partnership began in 2008 with the goal of bringing the power of nonfiction storytelling together with the impact of social entrepreneurship. In addition to funding the creation of new documentary films, STORIES OF CHANGE connects leaders in documentary and social entrepreneurship through a global series of convenings and workshops, including the Skoll World Forum and the Sundance Film Festival. To date, the initiative has funded nine feature-length films and three short films and hosted fourteen events that have informed and inspired more than 150 filmmakers, media professionals, and social entrepreneurs. (

The Sundance Institute’s Cara Mertes will also participate in the Skoll World Forum as a speaker at a session called “Storytelling for Impact” which first occurs in the Nelson Mandela Theatre, Friday March 30th from 11:00-12:30 and is then repeated later that same day in the Rhodes Room, Friday 13:30-15:00 in order to accommodate capacity. In addition to Mertes, the session includes: NPR’s Science Correspondent Christopher Joyce; Senior VP and Publisher of HarperOne Mark Tauber; and Senior Strategist at Tomorrow Partners Wendy Levy.

“Sundance Institute and the ‘Stories of Change’ partnership allows social entrepreneurs to see the impact that storytelling strategies can have to accelerate and message their work globally,” said Sandy Herz, Director of Strategic Alliances, Skoll Foundation. “With these films and convenings, we can leverage multiple stories of innovation for wider public awareness of the solutions that social entrepreneurs are generating to the most intractable global issues.”

“Documentary storytelling has the potential to galvanize audiences and motivate them towards awareness and action,” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. “The ‘Stories of Change’ partnership leverages the incredible true-life stories of some modern day innovators, showing audiences that change, while difficult, is not only possible, but inevitable.”

In addition to critical funding from the Skoll Foundation, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is made possible by generous support from the Candescent Films, Cinereach, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, ESPN Films, The Ford Foundation, Hilton Worldwide, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and the the Woodruff Charitable Memorial Trust.

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nonfiction filmmakers worldwide. The program advances innovative nonfiction storytelling about a broad range of contemporary social issues, and promotes the exhibition of documentary films to audiences. Through the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Documentary Edit and Story Laboratory, Composers + Documentary Laboratory, Creative Producing Lab, as well as the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Creative Producing Summit and a variety of partnerships and international initiatives, the program provides a unique, global resource for contemporary independent documentary film.  

Sundance Institute
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. It has given almost $300M since 1999, including awards to 91 entrepreneurs in 74 organizations on five continents. The aim? Identify those already bringing positive change around the world and help them extend their reach, tell their stories, and maximize their impact. Jeff Skoll created the Skoll Foundation to help create a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. It has been led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001 and its Skoll World Forum is the premier conference on social entrepreneurship.

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Back to School
Director: Kirsten Johnson      
Producer: Julia Parker Benello
Social Entrepreneur: Sakena Yacoobi

Sakena Yacoobi’s Afghan Institute for Learning, a grassroots organization she founded 12 years ago, brings education to women in Afghanistan. Due to security concerns about filming a feature-length documentary in Afghanistan at this time; this project is a short film which premiered at the Skoll World Forum in 2010.


Barefoot Engineers (working title)
Directors: Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief
Producer: Mette Heide
Social Entrepreneur: Bunker Roy, Barefoot College

An intimate observational documentary that follows three women with limited formal education as they take a life-changing journey from their home villages in Africa and the Middle East to India in order to become educated in solar engineering.

Easy Like Water
Director: Glenn Baker   
Producer: Stephen Sapienza
Social Entrepreneur: Abul Hasanat Mohammed Rezwan

In Bangladesh, solar-powered floating schools are turning the front lines of climate change into communities of learning. As the water steals the land, one man’s vision is recasting the rising rivers as channels of communication and transforming people’s lives.

Partners in Health Project
Director: Kief Davidson
Producer: Cori Sheperd Stern
Social Entrepreneur: Paul Farmer, Partners In Health

This is the story of Partners In Health, a remarkable public health charity organization operating in thirteen of the poorest countries around the world and the controversial man who founded it, Dr. Paul Farmer. Dr. Farmer and his colleagues are larger-than-life heroes to millions, fighting to change the way the world cares for the poorest among us, by insisting on quality health care as a basic inalienable human right.

Poor Consuelo Conquers the World
Director: Peter Friedman      
Producer: Paul Miller
Social Entrepreneur: PCI-Media Impact

Poor Consuelo Conquers the World tells the story of popular soap operas and telenovelas that are being used to combat the effects of poverty around the world. The film makes the connection between the fictional stories and the real lives of the fans and shows that in the post-TV/Internet age, radio remains a vital way to reach millions of the world’s poor.

The Revolutionary Optimists
Directors/Producers: Maren Grainger-Monsen and Nicole Newham
Social Entrepreneur: Amlan Ganguly, Prayasam

In the slums of Calcutta, children are leading the way to saving lives. Amlan Ganguly, a lawyer turned social entrepreneur, empowers children to become “health minders” in their communities. As a result, malaria and diarrhea rates are dropping, neighborhoods being transformed, and children are blossoming. The Revolutionary Optimists shows both the desperate, flawed world that Ganguly is trying to change and the vibrant, colorful world his optimism is making a reality.

Directors/Producers: Annika Gustafson and Phil Jandaly
Social entrepreneurs: Camilla Wirseen and Anders Wilhelmson, Peepoople; Bob Erwin, MaxWest; Dr. Kamal Kar, CLTS; and Dr. Pathak, Sulabh International.

Access to clean water is a human right, but if we cannot talk about why the water is contaminated in the first place, change will not happen. Using animation to look at innovative ways of producing green energy from human waste, SH*T! is a socially minded film that plays fast and loose with taboo and relevant issues. It tells you how to save the planet, improve the economy while you do it, and have a laugh or two in the process. You’ll be sorry you flushed.

The Team
Director: Patrick Reed 
Producer: Peter Raymont
Social Entrepreneurs: John Marks and Susan Collin Marks, Search for Common Ground

Using a technique developed by Search for Common Ground to employ popular culture as a tool for reconciliation, Kenyans scramble to produce a dramatic TV soap-opera series, hoping taboo story lines can bridge deep divisions as their country is wracked by ethnic and tribal tensions in the wake of elections.

To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America
Director: Gayle Ferraro
Social Entrepreneur: Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America

This film journeys with Dr. Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate and the architect of microfinance, as he continues building opportunities for the poor worldwide through Grameen microcredit and his latest venture, social business. The film chronicles the first year of Grameen America and the challenge of marrying a process proven in developing countries to the American dream of immigrant women in Queens, New York.

Youthbuild Project
Directors/Producers: Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern
Social Entrepreneurs: Dorothy Stoneman, YouthBuild

This feature-length documentary follows a year in the lives of out-of school young people selected for a high-stakes community rebuilding project in North Philadelphia.

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