Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Twitter chats for CSWE 2013 Virtual Film Festival.

Filmmaker Bianca Morris
The next Twitter chat for the CSWE 2013 Virtual Film Festival is scheduled for Thursday, August 29, at 8 pm EST with Bianca Morris, filmmaker of Got You (on suicide). Use the hashtag #SWUnited.

You can read transcripts from previous Twitter chats with the following filmmakers:

* Jen Ackerman, Insight to Strengths (LGBT)
* Moges Tafesse, A Season for Dancing (on intercountry adoption)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Behind the Screen: Insight to Strengths.

Note: Moving Pictures is featuring the filmmakers from the CSWE 2013 Virtual Film Festival sharing the stories behind the making of their films. Here's how you can see the films and vote for the Virtual Ovation Award. The award consists of a $500 prize and will be presented to the top-ranked film in the Virtual Film Festival, as determined by the audience. 


Filmmaker Jen Ackerman
Filmmaker Jen Ackerman explains below the genesis of her film Insights to Strengths, which sought to illuminate perspectives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals on what it means to be different (and read the transcript from the August 15 Twitter chat with Ackerman).

The strengths perspective framework is the backbone of social work theory. To take one’s hardships, obstacles, and misfortunes and focus on the positive brings about the kind of change that can actually last. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender population is a community I call home. This documentary came about because I saw a lack of celebration for the strengths that come with this community. I was finding that much of media exposure for the LGBT population focuses on the negatives and unfortunate challenges. Although these are important to remember, there also are amazing qualities and characteristics to bring into the spotlight. My hope for this documentary was to highlight the strengths gained from the losses and barriers that come with an identity that strays from the majority.

I interviewed more than 15 men and women from the Orlando and Tampa areas to hear their stories. I want this documentary to reshape the way being different is viewed. I want others to see what I see--being who you are makes you unique and from that comes strengths and resiliency. I grew up in an environment of strict Catholicism and conservatism. I was taught through my schooling that being different is a flaw and that identifying as “gay” or “lesbian” was just out of the question. A big part of making this film was working on my own self-negativity toward my sexuality and finally breaking through the years of prejudice I survived. I am so proud of how this film turned out.

This film was created through the eyes of a social work student to spread the beauty and power of the strengths perspective.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Behind the Screen: A Season for Dancing.

Note: Moving Pictures is featuring the filmmakers from the CSWE 2013 Virtual Film Festival sharing the stories behind the making of their films. Here's how you can see the films and vote for the Virtual Ovation Award. The award consists of a $500 prize and will be presented to the top-ranked film in the Virtual Film Festival, as determined by the audience. 

Filmmaker Moges Tafesse, right, with crew
at the party celebrating Meseret's arrival
Filmmaker Moges Tafesse explains below the process for capturing the story of 16-year-old adoptee Meseret as he reclaimed his cultural heritage with the support of his American father.

A Season for Dancing chronicles 16-year-old Meseret’s journey with Marcus, his adoptive father from Georgia, toward personal healing, restoring relationships with family and childhood friends, redeeming his cultural identity, and achieving his dreams for the future.

Director-writer Moges Tafesse (MSW, PhD) runs a small firm in Ethiopia engaged in the production of short films, documentaries, and TV programs. When he worked for a adoption organization that connects Ethiopian children with families in France, he observed the plight of adoptees who were disconnected from their family, culture, and language and came back to Ethiopia to see their family and culture but ended up feeling desperate and alienated. During his MSW and PhD courses "Practice With Children and Families" and "Action Research," Moges sensed the gravity of the issue of intercountry adoption. He thought of making a short documentary film on adoption using the principles of action research as a way to highlight the issues.

In 2011 Marco Orsini, president of the International Film Talents Association in France, recommended that Moges produce a film on a family traveling to Ethiopia. Moges resolved to take the assignment with an open mind, avoid hasty generalizations about intercountry adoption, yet seek examples that might show that connecting adoptees with their home country and culture makes them more fulfilled human beings.

Preproduction began with an extensive assessment of Meseret’s life in Georgia, then a tentative production script was prepared. Production was performed in 45 days, following a chronological order of Meseret’s life that sought to capture a period of 5 years. Postproduction took 6 months. The main challenge was production costs. An online fund-raising campaign was attempted but was unsuccessful, so Marcus and Moges covered the production costs.

Meseret’s story challenges many commonly held stereotypes and misconceptions about orphans and street children, illustrating their potential for brilliance when adequately nurtured and given the opportunity to shine. Another theme of the documentary is Marcus’s desire to connect with parts of Meseret that had been closed to him, thereby strengthening their bond as father and son. The film endeavors to see the world from Meseret’s point of view.

Read the transcript of the August 8, 2013, Twitter chat with filmmaker Moges Tafesse.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Official Selection, CSWE 2013 Film Festival

CSWE announces the Official Selection for the CSWE 2013 Film Festival, which will be held at the 59th Annual Program Meeting in Dallas on October 31-November 3, 2013. Some of the topics to be covered include aging, domestic abuse, LGBT, mental health, parenthood, and refugees.