2018 GIA Conference
Race, Space, and Place
Oakland, CA  |  October 21–24

Filmmaking on the Frontlines

How investing in storytellers is good for the arts and the environment

Monday, October 22, 10:00am – 11:30am

Room 207

Organized by Kerry McCarthy, program director, Arts and Culture, and Historic Preservation, New York Community Trust.

Moderated by Salem Tsegaye, senior program associate, New York Community Trust. Presented by Cody Lucich, director, AKICITA: The Battle of Standing Rock; and James Redford, chairman and co-founder, The Redford Center.

Every day, the urgency of our planet’s environmental crisis becomes more dire. Climate change "threatens to create the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen," and environmental racism has already negatively impacted the lives of low-income ALAANA and indigenous people worldwide. To mobilize the broad-based support the environmental justice movement needs, we require effective storytellers who can capture the public’s attention and show us how to be better stewards of the environment (and each other). Documentary filmmakers have been skillful innovators at this nexus of the arts and the environment. However, many environmental films lack hopeful, character-driven stories that center voices from frontline communities most affected by climate change. Moreover, philanthropy has not fully tapped into the art of filmmaking as strategy to tell ALAANA stories. This session invites grantmakers to engage in a discussion about the art of social justice and the future of documentary filmmaking with two award-winning filmmakers. Presenters will share insights from their expansive film careers, which include a recent documentary chronicling the activism of the Native American Water Protectors behind Standing Rock, as well as lessons learned from the Redford Center’s inaugural environmental filmmaking grants program, supported by The New York Community Trust.