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.

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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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ASA Conference, Day 3

By Vanessa Warheit, New Day Member

Today, Debbie Lum joined the New Day team at Booth 301 – and a lot of ASA attendees were delighted to meet the celebrity star of “Seeking Asian Female”!
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Debbie Lum with a “Seeking Asian Female” fan from Connecticut

We had another whirlwind day of conversations on a wide range of topics. Among the many visitors to our booth, we chatted with Josh LePree, a PhD candidate and sociology instructor from CU Boulder, who teaches diversity, race/ethnicity, and classes on gender, race, and the state. Josh told us, “I love showing films in my classes – and I feel so blessed to know there are filmmakers like you who see the world the same way we do! And my students really love it when I show films – I think it’s one of the reasons why I get such good teaching scores.”

Photo 2“I’m so happy that New Day exists!” says Matthew Eddy, assistant professor of sociology at Minot State University in North Dakota. Shown here with New Day filmmakers Yun Suh and Debbie Lum.

Photo 3Vanessa Warheit with Ted Cohen, Professor and Chair of Sociology & Anthropology at Ohio Wesleyan University, who told us: “I’ve never used a New Day film I didn’t love!

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Vanessa Warheit with Boaz & Eva Kahana, a husband-and-wife team from Cleveland State University.

Our crew also sat in on a few of the many relevant panel presentations – including sessions on gender, diversity, and indigenous populations. And we’ve finally got the discount code sorted out! Hooray for the New Day web team!
Photo 5

Debbie Lum, trying to sort out the ASA discount code…

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ASA Conference, Day 2

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.

photo 3Regan and Yun chatting with sociologists at ASA14.

photo 4Regan and Vanessa at the New Day Films Booth #301

For instance – Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, of U.T. Austin, whose work focuses on sexual violence. When she first came by the booth, she looked skeptical, and didn’t even want to put her card in our drawing (we’ll be giving away a free DVD to one lucky winner at the end of the conference). But after talking with us for a while, and learning that we are a collective formed out of the feminist movement, and learning about the range of films we have on offer, her whole demeanor changed – and we’ve now got a new fan.“I’m so glad you guys exist!” she told us. “And yes, you can quote me on that.” We are super glad that Gloria exists, too!

photoYun Suh, Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, and Regan Brashear at Booth #301

The hours have flown by, talking with a lot of really interesting people like Gloria, who are teaching and researching a wide variety of social topics. In addition to inequality, visitors to Booth 301 have shared their interests in race, climate change, deviance, families, addiction, healthcare, and transnational movements – as well as the ever-evolving “social problems.” Sociology is an incredibly rich and diverse field, and we’ve had fascinating conversations with a diverse range of people – from grad students to tenured faculty, coming from institutions right here in the Bay Area and places as far-flung as Australia and Portugal. (“Do you have any films that are subtitled in Portuguese?” asked a woman visiting our booth this morning. Vanessa and Yun started to shake their heads in dismay, when Regan piped up with “Oh, yeah, my film is subtitled in Portuguese – the science museum in Lisbon provided it when they screened it.” Who knew?)

Which brings up an interesting dilemma for those of us representing the collection as a whole. We made a huge effort to see as many New Day films as possible prior to the conference – and to spread the viewing out so at lease one of us would have seen any given title – but with so many titles, and more arriving every day, it’s hard to keep up. Nevertheless, we’ve managed to get a pretty good handle on the collection – and it’s exciting to come up with films that satisfy a  particular need. (Disability & sexuality? How about Sins Invalid?! Environment and development? Try Taking Root! Families and disabilities? Read Me Differently! and more!)

We also got a visit from the Deputy Editor of the Teaching Sociology journal, Michele Kozimor-King, who was interested in finding films to review. The journal often pairs films with books on a relevant topic. We sent her away with a catalogue, postcards, and a few DVDs – but other New Day filmmakers should contact her if they are interested in having a specific new title reviewed!

The smallest visitor to our booth was Goby Greene, a Chihuahua service dog. Her mom – sociologist Dana Greene – told us that Goby is on Facebook (she is), and gave us one of her cards. We dutifully entered her into our drawing to win one free New Day film. If she wins, what will she pick? The Shrimp? Eating Alaska? Or maybe Bag It?

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Goby and her owner, Dana Greene
photo 1 goby card

 Goby’s business card

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