CMSI Hosts the American Film Showcase

by Brigid Maher
Caty Borum Chattoo

Caty Borum Chattoo on designing for impact. Photo courtesy of Mayra Linares.

The Center for Media and Social Impact hosted eleven  filmmakers from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia, DRC, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Vietnam, China, Burma and Pakistan as part of theAmerican Film Showcase (AFS).

AFS is an American film diplomacy program that organizes screenings and workshops with American filmmakers in over thirty-five countries. AFS is a partnership between the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

The eleven international filmmakers were joined by CMSI’s new Women’s Film Collective, which provides student filmmakers with mentorship and production opportunities.

The workshop day kicked off with journalist and author David Shipler delivering an interactive seminar highlighting the cultural side of freedom of expression. Shipler who was an international reporter for many years and also the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times shared with the students his experience as a journalist and navigating issues of freedom of expression internationally.

Brigid Maher

Brigid Maher leads an interactive workshop. Photo courtesy of Mayra Linares.

Maher led an interactive discussion on how to approach shooting controversial material as well as how to navigate dangerous locations.  Filmmakers from Georgia, Egypt and Pakistan shared their experiences in how they overcame difficulties to capture stories.  Additionally students from the Women’s Film Collective brainstormed with the AFS filmmakers on how to approach the ethical implications of shooting in difficult areas. As part of the discussion, CMSI shared with the filmmakers the  Dangerous Docs and the Honest Truths reports.

CMSI’s Co-Director Caty Chattoo led a workshop on designing for impact through strategic planning of campaigns connected to documentary films. Using case studies of social impact films such as Blackfish, Chattoo highlighted how documentaries can be used to catalyze action beyond the screen and the methods of measuring the impact of films.

CMSI was honored to have participated in such an incredible day of discussion.


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