Tips for Using New Day Films in the Classroom

  • Choose films that tell a compelling story. Stories provide the conduit for conveying information. Most people don’t remember pure facts – but we are hard-wired to remember stories. Ask students to share their own stories as a counterpoint to the film’s stories.
Students take in a screening of "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines"
Students screen New Day film “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
  • Check if the film has a companion study guide. Many New Day films include guides that offer detailed background information on the film’s subject, notes on running a successful discussion, a sample lesson plan, and additional resources.
  • Frame the film prior to viewing. Explain which elements relate to the course, e.g. anthropology students might identify moments of cultural significance and their relationship to the topic of study. Film is a rich medium, and students often need framing to notice and process the types of information most relevant to their learning.
  • Assign a feature film like you would assign a book. Use class time for discussion and collaboration. This allows students to time-shift their learning, review the film on their own, and take notes at their own pace. Most New Day titles are available via online streaming.
  • Don’t discount the power of the moving image. Students often learn in a deeper and more thorough way through visual media!
  • Pair two films together. Contrasting films on similar subjects from different regions, eras, or cultures can highlight commonalities and differences across a wide spectrum of issues.
  • Use a film to open up discussion on a difficult topic, such as race, gender, religion, adoption, or sexuality. Film is an emotional medium, and social justice documentaries can often elicit deeper and more thoughtful classroom discussions than texts.
  • Ask students to write down three quick “take-aways” from the film, before discussion starts. What did they find enlightening, compelling, or relevant? Collect the statements and share them aloud. The variety of observations may be surprising.
  • Organize a cross-disciplinary screening series. Including multiple departments helps save funds in tight budget times, and also inspires rich interdisciplinary discussions about issues that can be looked at from many points of view.
  • Use a film as a starting point for research or project assignments. Films are a powerful tool for getting students interested in a particular topic. Ask students to identify an element in the film – a character, a group, a location – and create an independent project around it.
  • Invite the filmmaker to your class, to enrich the students’ understanding of the material. Ask students to turn in questions for the filmmaker ahead of time, and prepare a few questions of your own. Many New Day filmmakers are available for Q&A, either via Skype or in person.
Filmmaker Kristy Guevara Flanagan fields some questions
“Wonder Women!” filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan participates in a student-led Q&A
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New Day Films for November

November is Native American Heritage Month

E Haku Inoa To Weave A Name square stillAt the turn of the 20th Century, various Native Americans campaigned for a national day of recognition for the contributions of the first Americans to the culture and heritage of the United States. A hundred years later, we have an entire month designated for that purpose! Check out New Day’s titles that tell the stories and history of indigenous people in the United States and beyond.

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I Am New Day: Debbie Lum

DLum_Headshot2I’m a San Francisco-based Asian American woman who was born in Virginia and raised in the Midwest. All my life I’ve been hit on and harassed by men who are obsessed with Asian women, and I’ve always wanted to know why so many Western men develop “Yellow Fever” or “Asian Fetish.”

My documentary film Seeking Asian Female tells the story of two strangers – an aging white man with an “Asian fetish” and a young woman from China. They meet online and attempt to build a marriage from scratch in California. During the filming, I became their translator and eventually their marriage counselor.

“Asian fetish” and the objectification of Asian women is a very loaded issue in the Asian American community, yet had always been unrecognized by the mainstream. I tried to approach the subject with honesty and a sense of humor to engender open discussion and shed light the assumptions and prejudices that exist on all sides. Seeking Asian Female ‘s raw, intimate drama is a universal love story for the ages — albeit a complicated one.

Learn more about Debbie and her work here.

 

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I Am New Day: Kimberly Bautista

Kimberly-Bautista-headshot(1)I had been involved in solidarity work since 2003 to raise awareness about the violent murders of women in Juarez, Mexico, and that work connected me to feminists working in Guatemala. I began production on a documentary film, Justice for My Sister, which follows a Guatemalan single mother of five on a heroic journey to hold her sister’s killer accountable. When I myself became a target of sexual assault, and experienced first-hand the corruption and complicity of the Guatemalan justice system, I decided my film needed to do more than raise awareness – it needed to be part of a bigger violence prevention campaign. I formed the Justice for My Sister Collective with advocates in Guatemala and Los Angeles, and we’ve published a trainer’s training guide, a text-message campaign toolkit, and an activity booklet. We’ve held workshops and screenings with indigenous communities, immigrants, survivors of violence, service providers and police in 20 countries and counting. The film has won Best Documentary in Holland, Los Angeles, Bolivia, and Central America. I have toured universities and embassies to promote healthy relationships, and have since established a non-profit organization in LA to continue the campaign’s work.

For more information about Justice for My Sistervisit  http://www.justiceformysister.com/

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New Day Films for October

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Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15

LatinHeritageHispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period. New Day has an extensive collection of films — including several brand new ones — that celebrate and explore the culture and politics of Latinos in the US and beyond.

October is National Community Planning Month

CommPlanningEach year the American Planning Association sponsors National Community Planning Month to raise the visibility of the important role of planners and planning in communities across the U.S. The theme for 2014 is Health and Prosperity. New Day has an exciting array of films about urban planning and related issues that can raise dialogue and encourage participation in your community.

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New Day Films Inspire Social Justice Heroes from Edward Snowden to Amanda Blackhorse

by Lynne Sachs, New Day Member

For most New Day filmmakers, the reason we make documentary films has as much to do with social and political impact as it does with festival awards, box office returns or DVD sales. Though we all know our films contribute to education and change in broad ways, in this article we look at how change can be sparked when just one person sees the right film at the right time.

Most_Dangerous

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was being interviewed via Skype by Daniel Ellsberg at the recent Hope X conference, and at the head of the interview, after thanking Ellsberg for his service, Snowden went on to say, “I watched a a documentary of your life as I was grappling with these [whistleblowing] issues myself.  It had a deep impact; it really shaped my thinking.”  The documentary Snowden was referring to was The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, by New Day filmmaker Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich. 

In search of an example of an older New Day film’s influence on the sway of history, we communicated with Amanda Blackhorse, the Navajo social worker who decided to sue the NFL in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc. Since she was an undergraduate at the University of Kansas, Blackhorse has been profoundly troubled by the use of the name “Washington Redskins” as a mascot. She took this concern to court and on June 18, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office voted to cancel the six trademarks held by the team in a decision that held that the term “redskins” is disparaging to a “substantial composite of Native Americans.” Of course the case is already in appeal, but nevertheless we decided to ask Blackhorse if she had ever seen Jay Rosenstein’s In Whose Honor, a 1997 documentary that takes a critical look at the practice of using American Indian mascots and nicknames in sports, and is still widely used today.

Here’s what Blackhorse had to say:

The documentary influenced me as far as understanding the way in which Native mascots perpetuate the dehumanization of Native American people. Seeing how disrespectful and brutal people were toward Charlene Teters (in the film) was an eye opener. The waters are usually calm until a Native American stands up to injustice and the backlash has no mercy. I saw first hand how power, money, and white privilege hold more power with regard to Native mascots than do Native Americans themselves.”

Whether we’re looking at the astonishing array of recent Global Warming themed films, the surge of Gay and Lesbian voices in our culture, or our very earliest documentaries that speak to the women’s rights movement of the 1970s, films like these in our New Day Films collection continue to reveal the way that media can change the direction of American history, sometimes by inspiring one person.

 

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New Day Makes the B-Corp A-List!

By Isabel Hill, New Day Member

Earlier this year, New Day completed an intensive process that resulted in a designation of “B Corporation” for our social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency as a company. We are proud to announce that New Day has now been placed on the 2014 B Corp “Best for Communities” List!

We were given this honor because we earned a community impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive evaluation of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

New Day is one of 86 businesses that earned this score, placing us in the midst of an exciting global movement. In fact, 34% of our fellow “Best for Communities” winners are from outside the United States. These are companies that have taken the lead in delivering beneficial products and services, building local living economies, creating Fair Trade supply chains, and innovating through diversity.

We celebrate being in the forefront of a global movement to redefine success in business and it is our hope that one day all companies will compete to be not just the best in the world but the best for the world.

For more information about B-Corps visit: http://www.bcorporation.net/b-the-change

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Wrapping up the 2014 ASA Annual Meeting

On the last night of the ASA meeting, we were joined by an even younger set of New Day filmmakers-in-training: Debbie Lum’s daughters Nina and Anna!

photo 1 New Day’s youngest representatives at ASA 2014.

Later on, we got to attend the plenary session, where the keynote speech was by author and intellectual superstar Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell spoke about privilege, discrimination and tokenism, focusing on the examples of Elizabeth Thompson (Lady Butler) and Moses Mendelssohn. The sociologists really gave him a hard time during the Q&A afterwards – challenging both his assumptions and methods (Gladwell comes from a psychology background, and openly acknowledged that his academic perspective might be different). But overall his talk was warmly received, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

photo 2 Malcolm Gladwell delivers the keynote speech at ASA 2014.

Attendance was really high in the exhibition hall on the last day – we had people still at our booth asking questions a full ten minutes after the 1pm cut-off! Yun and I were pretty exhausted by the end, but New Day classics member Frances Nkara came to our rescue, helping us get everything packed up into a remarkably small number of boxes. We shipped everything out to the east coast team that will be representing New Day Films at the National Media Market later this fall.

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Frances our Fairy Godmother takes charge of the packing-up process.

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