Film and Art That Speaks Truth to Power

February 27, 2019


Alex Rivera (CC ‘16) and his co-director, Cristina Ibarra, just premiered their film, THE INFILTRATORS at Sundance, where it won both the Audience Award and the Innovator Award. Through a mix of interviews, real-time action and reenactment, the film retells the story of six Dreamers who turned themselves into Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that they could organize other immigration detainees. Check out media attention that the film is receiving.

Early this month, Creative Change alumn Bakari Kitwana (CC ‘16) and Rap Sessions convened a discussion, "Mothers of the Movement Speak", for the kick-off of Black History Month at the College of New Jersey. The event featured Gwen Carr (Mother of Eric Garner) and Samaria Rice (Mother of Tamir Rice). On March 23, Bakari will lead a keynote panel called "Toxic Masculinity" at the Annual White Privilege Conference in Iowa City, Iowa. He will be joined by fellow Creative Change alumni, Darnell Moore (CC ‘16) and Jasiri X (CC ‘12, ‘13, ‘16).


The Laundromat Project, where Kemi Ilesanmi (CC ‘12) is Executive Director, recently released a new strategic vision of what it means to be a People of Color (POC) centered organization. Kemi says they are eager for feedback and wider use, where helpful.

Dawn M. Porter (CC ‘16) is producing a feature film about Congressional Representative John Lewis. She is currently on her way to the Selma bridge to film Lewis leading a congressional delegation. Learn more about her work

Molly Murphy (CC ‘16) reports that her production company, Working Films, is hiring a Development Manager (remote opportunity) and a Impact Coordinator (Wilmington, NC-based). Working Films is also welcoming applications to their Docs in Action Fund, which supports short documentaries to “expand the canon of films available for grassroots groups and NGOs to enhance their programs, extend their reach, and move their missions forward.” This year, two grants of up to $30,000 each will support of the production of short non-fiction films that support immigrants’ justice organizing and efforts to end racist attacks on immigrant communities. Find out more and apply by March 22.


Marisa Jahn’s (CC ‘17) solo exhibition, The Mighty and the Mythic, is on display at the Michigan School of Art and Design. The exhibit brings together three key Studio REV projects — CareForce, Bibliobandido, and MIRROR | MASK  — that highlight deep and meaningful collaborations with low-wage immigrants, caregivers, and youth. Our Communications Institute Fellows are also making news: Greisa Martinez (CI ‘18) was quoted by The Intercept in an article about activist reaction to the Trump Administration’s border deal to avert a shutdown; and Capitol Pressroom interviewed Topeka Sam (CI ‘) about her new organization, New Yorkers United for Justice. Topeka discussed her time in prison and the systemic inequities she witnessed among incarcerated women.  

Define American was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, 2019 in the coveted TV and Film category. To shift people's perception of immigrants, Define American has been engaging in collaborations with writers, directors, producers, and other entertainment industry professionals to create and deepen storylines around race, immigration, and citizenship. Check out their 2019 Media Reference Guide for entertainment industry professionals and #Free21Savage PSA co-produced with Mic.

Ishita Srivastava (CC '16) and Caring Across Generations launched #WeKnowYouCare, inspired by the new film, On the Basis of Sex, which shows how traditional norms around gender and caregiving hurt everyone. "Men can be caring, vulnerable, and strong all at once. 16 million men show this complex masculinity every day as you do the essential, yet often undervalued and invisible, caregiving work that keeps our families together," says the organization.

Sue Obedi (CC '17) of MPAC’s Hollywood Bureau, wrote a guest column for Variety entitled Why It’s Time for Hollywood to Recognize the Muslim Community’s Diversity. "As someone who has long watched the Oscars, the sight of three stars who shared my faith onstage on Hollywood’s biggest night was something that I had always hoped for and knew in my heart was possible," she writes.