American Spring: new media. new democracy?

Directed by PatchWorks Films and Five Steps Forward Media
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Bloggers, Tweeters, and Facebookers around the world are jailed for their pro-democracy activism, yet barely half the eligible voters in the U.S. care to cast a ballot. Online a different story unfolds—Journalism 2.0 meets Government 2.0 in an attempt to re-invigorate American democracy.

American Spring explores what democracy looks like in the 21st century as cell phones, laptops, and an ever-expanding toolkit of apps changes the power dynamic between citizens, the media, and politicians.

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Besides $, what else can you do?

Jump in! This will be a 360 degree project. If you have ideas about new media and democracy, share them with us in text or video. Films are a big undertaking. Through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, broadcast media, and finally the film, we will use this effort (and your resources) to share innovative ways to enhance, cultivate and learn about the sausage making endeavor of democracy.

Get in touch by contacting: info@americanspringthefilm.info

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PatchWorks Films

PatchWorks Films specializes in telling stories exploring contemporary social issues through intimate character stories, and building innovative partnerships for their use with NGOs, activists, and advocates. Their award-winning documentaries have been broadcast worldwide and shown at museums, libraries, schools, universities, community centers, street corners, conferences, and film festivals. Their last feature, Speaking in Tongues won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and is being used as catalyst for changing language education in public schools throughout the country. American Spring will be PatchWorks’ fifth feature documentary.

Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider founded PatchWorks in 1994 and have been producing and directing documentaries since. Their previous work includes the ITVS-funded Born in the U.S.A., which aired on the PBS series Independent Lens, and was hailed as the “best film on childbirth” by the former director of maternal health at the World Health Organization. Ken is also an accomplished freelance editor whose credits include films recognized with an Emmy, a Peabody, a Columbia-Dupont, IDA awards, an Indie Spirit, and top awards at Sundance, along with an Oscar nomination. These films have appeared on PBS’ American Masters, POV, and Independent Lens, and on television and in film festivals worldwide.

Five Steps Forward Media

Five Steps Forward Media is the production team of Chris Thomas and Dan Damman that has provided media services to the Netroots Nation conference since 2007. They have captured 400 hours of footage from the last five Netroots conferences including panels, keynotes, social events, and interviews and produced 270 hours of content and 12 video shorts for the Netroots Nation organization. They have also worked to help political organizations such as the Campaign for America’s Future, the National Conference for Media Reform, the California Democratic Party, and the Coffee Party use live web streaming, video archiving, and web video production to build their communities. They have produced humorous citizen engagement videos for Hammering the Issues and Do More than Vote as well as issue campaigns for the Courage Campaign, Barbara Boxer for Senate, and the Center for Media and Democracy. Chris served as the National Coordinator for Video the Vote in 2008, organizing over 3,000 volunteer videographers to document the last Presidential election and ensure that disenfranchised Americans were assured their right to vote.

Working Films

Working Films brings persuasive and provocative documentary films to long-term community organizing and activism. They are one of the nation’s leading independent media organization’s focused on the art of engagement. Their services include comprehensive documentary campaigns, residencies for filmmakers on engagement and non-traditional distribution, strategy meetings with leading NGOs and activists that tie their commitment to film, and social media development delivering authentic “take actions” for film audiences. Their film campaigns are changing toxic marketplaces, influencing equitable public policies, making communities more inclusive, and inspiring principled individual actions. Working films is headquartered in Wilmington, NC with satellite offices in New York and London.

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