New Day filmmakers joined more than 300,000 people at the People’s Climate March on September 21 in New York City, adding our collective voice to the growing effort to force global leaders to address climate change. For post-march activities, check out New Day’s extensive collection of environmental titles here.
November is Native American Heritage Month
At 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.
I’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.
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 Sister, visit http://www.justiceformysister.com/
Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15
Hispanic 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
Each 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.
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.
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.
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
Frances our Fairy Godmother takes charge of the packing-up process.
By Vanessa Warheit, New Day Member
Debbie Lum, trying to sort out the ASA discount code…
By Vanessa Warheit, New Day Member
Greetings from San Francisco! New Day filmmakers Regan Brashear, Yun Suh, and Vanessa Warheit have been here for the past two days, representing New Day at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. The theme of this year’s conference is “Hard Times: The Impact of Economic Inequality on Families and Individuals” – and we’ve got a LOT of relevant material. Some of the sociologists visiting our booth already know about New Day (particularly those who have been working on reproductive sociology since the 70s), but for a lot of them our booth is their first glimpse into the wide array of films we have on offer.
Regan and Yun chatting with sociologists at ASA14.
Regan and Vanessa at the New Day Films Booth #301
Goby’s business card