FILMMAKER Q&A: SIMA 2018 IMPACT VIDEO WINNERS

The power of images to influence our perception is undeniable. By definition, impact video sets out to affect our interpretation of the world. Through allowing audiences to witness the influence of individuals and organizations, we fundamentally disprove any conviction in the impossibility of our ability to create change.

Both in front and behind the camera, this year’s films tell the stories of those who’ve allowed unjust circumstances to catalyze their role in changing them for others and themselves. We applaud the storytellers behind this year’s winning impact videos for their tireless commitment, evocative passion, and fierce drive to impact the world for the better.

Here’s what the directors have to say about their award-winning work:

A CHANCE TO SEE AGAIN | HUMANITAS

2016 | 6 mins | Namibia, Mbala
“We saw the story unfolding on our edit screens, and later as it was flickering across screens around the world, we were changed by the experience of having contributed to this story.”

By PAM HULING, COO of BLUE CHALK MEDIA

What motivated you to make your impact video?

The mission of SEE International is to restore sight to blind people. It doesn’t get more essential than that and to have the opportunity to tell that story, and encourage others to support what they do, was an honor and a privilege.

How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

When our team first set out to capture this story, we were unaware of the work that Dr. Ndume was doing in Namibia. Having been introduced to her by our client, SEE International, we were stunned to learn of her accomplishments and the struggle she had endured in her life. We were with her as she retraced her steps back to where she had crossed over during times of war as a refugee and listened as she told her amazing story of transformation toward a life of helping others, as she had been helped. When Dr. Ndume told us about being recognized with the first-ever Nelson Mandela Award, we were gratified to see that good work yields many benefits beyond even the joy of restoring sight. We saw the story unfolding on our edit screens, and later as it was flickering across screens around the world, we were changed by the experience of having contributed to this story. By communicating in a medium such as video, this story has the power to impact many others who did not have the opportunity to be there in person and that is the greatest reward of all.

What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

When a filmmaker is granted access to a person’s unique story, it is beyond humbling. My advice to other impact filmmakers is to do justice to the person who is entrusting you in this very special way and, above all, seek the truth.

Tell us about the work or organization featured in your video:

SEE International provides sustainable medical, surgical and educational services through volunteer ophthalmic surgeons with the objective of restoring sight and preventing blindness to disadvantaged individuals worldwide.

What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

I would hope that viewers of the video will be reminded about how fortunate they are to have sight, and how lucky we all are that individuals like Dr. Ndume exist.

Interested parties can donate and help SEE International continue do its very important work. Visit: https://www.seeintl.org/


73 QUESTIONS | CREATIVE ACTIVISM

2017 | 10 mins | USA
“Inspiring curiosity over pity is more fun and effective.”

DIRECTOR: LEAH NICHOLS

What motivated you to make your impact video?

I am always motivated to represent under-represented populations, and specifically, I was motivated to reverse the cultural stigma of homelessness by expanding the limited, traditional way in which people who are homeless are visually represented in mainstream media.

How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

The entire style was initially intended to be live action. Only after viewing the footage, which was horrible quality, was it decided this would be an animation. And it turns out the animation style was one of the main factors in the story.

What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Inspiring curiosity over pity is more fun and effective.

Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video:

I am working to reverse the cultural stigma of homelessness and expand the currently limited visual representation of people who are un-housed or living on the streets.

What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

Narratives about public problems and/or underrepresented communities deserve creative attention and can be whimsical, funny, etc.

What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Connection or partnership with California homeless shelters or community centers that want to showcase more media or discussion around the representation of people who are un-housed and/or living on the street.

More info: http://blog.sfgate.com/inthemission/2017/11/14/with-73-questions-capp-st-resident-paints-a-warm-portrait-of-a-neighborhood-character/


THE TYRANNY OF DISTANCE | IMPACT

2017 | 9 mins | Liberia
“We found the most mundane yet telling moments of their day to piece together this narrative of the work they do.”

DIRECTORS: GABRIEL DIAMOND

What motivated you to make your impact video?

I was fascinated by the work of Nidan and how they had organized so many street vendors throughout India to the point of actually having the law (and I think the constitution?) changed so that they would be recognized and protected. Though that law did not mean their rights were suddenly protected. The people still needed to be organized to continue to stand up for their rights.

How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

I arrived without a strong sense of what the story would be and asked Arbind a wide variety of open ended questions about his work. I then followed him and a collector around for a day to get a sense of a typical day in their life. From there we found the most mundane yet telling moments of their day to piece together this narrative of the work they do.

What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Let them tell their own story. Always say please and thank you.

Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video:

Nidan facilitates the empowerment of poor and marginalized people through community-based and pro-poor participative interventions. They seek to evolve and facilitate a broad-based movement for recognition and implementation of the rights of unorganized laborers — in education, health, livelihoods, and the protection of children working in the informal sector.

Nidan’s primary target group has always been unorganized workers, be they migrant laborers, street vendors, or rag pickers who don’t benefit from statutory protection against systematic exploitation, and who remain outside the purview of labor welfare and protection policies.

The organization is guided by the vision of establishing a just, democratic, and non-violent society where citizens enjoy their rights without any discrimination on the basis of gender or class, and live in mutual co-operation.

Nidan organizes informal workers into legal entities such as associations, cooperatives, self-help groups, and small businesses, thus greatly increasing their bargaining power vis-à-vis the state and the private sector. Programs launched by Nidan have brought together more than 500,000 workers from the informal sector.

What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

Give some deep thought into the challenges facing street vendors in India.

What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

http://www.nidan.in/