The culminating event of the BAVC Producer's Institute is a presentation of the eight projects being developed here to a group of potential funders, partners and distributors. The challenge presented to each team was to develop and present a prototype of a participatory media project that creates social change. It's an intense and nerve-wracking experience for the teams, who have only had five days to conceptualize, discuss, wireframe, and develop a prototype for their participatory media project.
Each team had a strict time limit of 15 minutes to present their project, which can incorporate film footage, photos, web site mockups, data visualizations, and other multimedia content to get across the essence of their work-in-progress.
- "American Meat": Inspired by a documentary film about the US food industry, this project seeks to create a marketplace for local farmers to connect with consumers through an e-commerce portal. Meanwhile, they want to inspire youth to think of themselves as change-makers by providing them with Flip cams to record short testimonials about how they will make the world a better place. So cool, and applicable to our Global Kids teens!
- "Deep Down: The Virtual Mine Game": Building upon a documentary about the stories of people effected by the coal mining industry in the Appalachian mountains, "Deep Down" is a 3D immersive game experience set within the virtual world of Second Life. Players will be able to learn about the effects of coal mining on local communities, as well as what they can do to reduce energy consumption, and what some alternative energy sources exist. I was impressed by how filmmakers of "Deep Down" really get the potential for virtual worlds as places for education and civic engagement.
- "The Elders Project": Inspired by an amazing series of photographs minorities in the UK, this is a rich cross-media project that will engage intergenerational participants using a combination of photography, oral history, video, spoken word, text and interactive digital platforms to tell the stories of African-Caribbean settlers who came to Britain in the early 50's. I love the word cloud on their site that allows the viewer to experience these images and stories in surprising and moving ways.
- G.Com: G.com aims to be an international support network for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trangendered people from around the world, using a mix of curated video footage, user-generated content, and social networking tools. They did a walk through of their site, showing how a closeted or semi-closeted gay person might use the portal to connect with others in similar situations, get advice, and share their stories.
- "Have You Heard from Johannesburg": Based upon a documentary series about the international movement to end Apartheid in South Africa, this project seeks to create a website to connect the historic global social movement to end Apartheid with a new generation of activists who can learn so much from the stories of the anti-Apartheid leaders of that time.
- "SOS-Slaves": Developed by the director of a powerful documentary about the global sex trafficking industry, SOS-Slaves is a web-based game that will use gameplay to get young people to understand in a deeper way the stories and struggles of women caught up in the sex trade, and inspire them to do something to fight this horrible crime. The beautiful illustrations and evocative film footage really moves me, and I am sure will move thousands and thousands more.
- "The Waiting Room": This project is about the public health care crisis in America, seeking to get out the personal stories of those suffering from the lack of affordable health care. Using physical installations in actual hospital waiting rooms, as well as uploaded video, email, and photos, "The Waiting Room" will document and disseminate the travails of the patients and their friends and family during this critical time in the public debate. I love the use of a physical booth in hospital waiting rooms to get people sharing their stories.
- "The Way We Get By": This web-based project builds upon a moving documentary about a group of elderly volunteers who welcome US soldiers going off to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. The site has a two-fold purpose: (1) to present the rich stories of the men and women who have fought and died for this country over the generations, (2) to tell the stories of soldiers currently serving the US, and (3) to enable people to send virtual care packages to soldiers, including messages, photos, video, and gifts from e-commerce sites like iTunes.
These quick snapshots don't do justice to the amazing work done by these eight teams. Luckily, BAVC has taken video of all of their presentations and will be releasing short synopses of their projects later.
Congrats to all of the teams on stepping out of their comfort zones, working collaboratively with a diverse range of experts, sharing their visions for a better world, and delivering inspiring and engaging presentations. While was here at the Producer's Institute as a mentor, I feel that I learned so much more than I might have taught to the groups I worked with.