Blogs from 2008

Happy New Year, 2008!
Much to report from last 4 months of film festivals with SOLDIERS OF CONSCIENCE.
16 festivals so far, winning 4 awards: BEST DOC at Rhode Island and Foyle film fest, BEST FILM in Conflict and Resolution Competition at the Hamptons film fest, BEST DOC at the Foyle Film festival, and FINALIST for Best Doc at the Denver Film fest (and oh what a good time we had there!)

Catherine Ryan, Gary Weimberg, documentary film makers, "Soldiers of Conscience" Emmy nominated PBS documentaryMeanwhile, THREE WOMEN AND A CHATEAU had its first open-to-the-public theatrical screening, a benefit for our co-producing associate, SMCHA, the San Mateo County Historical Association, at the Burlingame Fox theater, with 1,000+ attending. Mostly, this was a grand celebration of the DVD rollout! So all of you who have waited so long and patiently to buy DVDs of the Carolands documentary, they are now available through SMCHA. Call the Museum at 650 299 0104.

Finally, CIVIC UNITY: FIVE YEARS in the WEST END OF ALAMEDA had it’s in-house premiere for the San Francisco Foundation with a lovely event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Coming soon, the premiere for the activists and community of Alameda itself. After 5 years of filming and editing, the result is moving beyond what any of us expected, and sure to provide a model of community engagement for other neighborhoods across the country.

Jan – April 2008

“Soldiers of Conscience” has 3 marvelous screenings at the Ashland Film festival.

While at the festival, documentarian and living legend, Albert Maysles (still working at age 81!) spends an hour with us – what an honor.

And this … our PBS broadcast date is confirmed – Oct 16, 2008, for “Soldiers of Conscience” television premiere on POV, the prestigious award winning PBS showcase for non-fiction films.

Meanwhile, our 5 year project with the San Francisco Foundation, CIVIC UNITY: 5 YEARS ON THE WEST END OF ALAMEDA, had its world and neighborhood premiere, accompanied by front page coverage in the Alameda Journal.

And we still had time to help save the planet. EARTHJUSTICE AND THE BUCK PARKER ERA, a 10 minute video for Earthjustice about their retiring executive director is screened at a gala event. We got to interview some great enviro leaders and talk about their accomplishments over the last 27 years. What a priveledge and a pleasure.

Albert Maysles (in green jacket) talks with Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg at the Ashland film festival

April, 2008

This just in… our fifth BEST DOCUMENTARY award for Soldiers of Conscience – this latest kudo from theGary Weimberg,award winning documentary film maker wonderful Salem International Film Festival – a delightful and excellently organized festival in Oregon.

June, 2008

And – the Solders of Conscience poster has received a Graphis Poster Annual 08/09 Gold award. This is quite the big deal, the “Oscar” equivalent among graphic artists, which makes us all the more proud of (and grateful to) Deutsch Design Works and Didem Carissimo whose poster this really is! Thanks Barry and thanks Didem!

June 2008

Avignon Film Festival in the south of France.
The documentary Ballets Russes (co-edited/written by Gary)  is screened as the Opening Night selection!  We attend as VIP guests along with our friends Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine, the film’s producer/directors.  ¡Magnifique!

Avignon Film Festival, Gary Weimberg, with “Ballets Russes”

For more on the film:

Oct, 2008

At long last, the website to sell DVD’s of our film The Story of Mothers and Daughters goes live.

Amazing but true.  In less than 24 hours, the first sale comes in. No adversting, not in search engines yet, and not from someone we know. Just the vast and pervasive connection around mothers and daughters lead one woman unerringly and within one day to the DVD.
Welcome to that new friend … and all the others that we hope wil come!

Soldiers of Conscience Update

So much to tell…
An amazing screening in NY at Tribeca Film Center with a new partner, 1000 Voices Archive.  The goal: gather people who want to use the film as a tool for the work they are already doing.  In the room: active duty army officers, army and marine chaplains,  VA officials, faith leaders (Christian, Islamic, Jewish), peace activists, and us.  Truly a test of the films ability to bring people together to respectfully discuss the issues of the film.  And the result?  Seems like the film will be part of the West Point curriculum for sophomore year cadets, and will be used at 24 resource libraries of the National VA Chaplains Center.

Also, the film is being used by VA Suicide Prevention co-ordinators for staff trainings, and staff clinicians at PTSD clinics have begun trial use of non-graphic excerpts of the film as groupd counseling prompts.

Not to mention, the enthusiastic use of the film by varied peace groups, the Mennonite Church, and a yet-to-be-defined emerging relationship with the Episcopal church for broader uses of the film.

Everything we hoped for… and more!

Oct. 12, 2008

Soldiers of Conscience wins


at the Bend Film Festival, our 5th Best Doc Award.

Oct 16, 2008

After 3 years of very very hard work, Soldiers of Conscience had its broadcast premiere today – on PBS as part of the highly regarded POV series, perhaps the most prestigious non-fiction showcase in the broadcast world.

So much good press and postings have resulted, but we will include this one here, from a blog of “Marine Parents” which speaks volumes about why this film had to be made

We will be continuing of work distributing this film but this day, this moment, this feeling is well worth pausing for – to appreciate and to savor, to be thankful for peace (for those of us who live in peace), and to pray for the safety of those in the midst of war.

Okay.  Now take the rest of week off, everyone!

Decemeber, 2008

Completed wonderful short documentary Change is Possible: The Summer Legal Fellowship Program.

This is a 25 minute documentary about the Center for Youth Development through Law and its Summer Legal Fellowship Program for low income youth.  We could not be prouder of the young people involved, the staff that works with them and teaches them, and the truth-telling in the video itself.

The video tells the story of 25 disadvantaged teens from low income communities where 50% of the students never graduate.  It is the story of how these young people change and grow when offered the opportunity of their lifetime: the two month, full time, Summer Legal Fellowship Program run by the Center for Youth Development through Law, in cooperation with the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Sometimes it breaks your heart, the things the young people say; and sometimes it makes you believe in the possibility of positive change all over again.  What a satisfying journey this video has been!

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