MPI Original Short "The Perfect One" Coming Soon

New short film begins pre-production

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve begun pre-production on The Perfect One, a new MPI Original short from MPI filmmaker Matthew Szewczyk. Matthew is an award-winning writer-director  whose work spans Funny or Die episodes, Uber commercials and music videos. In 2015, he won Best Director at the Studio City International Film Festival for his surveillance thriller The Right Hand of God, which he originally developed in an MPI screenwriting workshop.

In 2018, Matthew participated in MPI’s Calling Card workshop to develop a short film that could showcase his storytelling and directing skills. There, he developed an idea for a narrative short about a young painter who revives his family’s failing business by taking an innovative risk.

After the workshop ended, MPI opted to produce the film as an MPI Original short, with Matthew directing. A moving story of entrepreneurship and free expression, the film will be produced in 2019 and premiere in festivals in 2020.

MPI Awarded GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency

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MPI COMMENDED FOR ITS ONGOING PROGRESS

Earlier this week, the Moving Picture Institute was awarded GuideStar’s 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency. Achieving GuideStar’s highest rating demonstrates MPI’s commitment not only to transparency but also to creating real impact. GuideStar awards this seal only to nonprofits that can demonstrate ongoing progress and results. We are proud to be included among the select number of nonprofits that share this honor.

A special thanks to all who partner with MPI to make our work possible.

Recap: MPI Masterclass on Storytelling and Civil Liberties During SXSW

MPI’s Lana Link weighs in on the discussion.

MPI’s Lana Link weighs in on the discussion.

MPI REELS IN TOP INDUSTRY TALENT FOR AN EXCLUSIVE EVENING DISCUSSING CIVIL LIBERTIES

This week we overheard someone call SXSW the new World’s Fair. It’s a great analogy. At SXSW, people from around the globe explore what’s next in technology, storytelling, and society. The variety is tremendous: You can start your day at a panel about curbing the Orwellian surveillance state and end it at a workshop with a Marvel screenwriter. 

But a conference of this size and scale can also feel overwhelming. This is why the Moving Picture Institute was proud to sponsor an offsite space for creatives and leaders in their fields to wind down, have meaningful conversations, and reflect on how the craft of storytelling relates to major issues in our world. 

For the past two years, we have held public screenings and discussions relating to human rights issues. MPI-supported films such as The Immortalists have also screened at SX in the past.

This year we shifted gears toward communication and engagement. We hosted dinner at Il Brutto for 36 friends, old and new, which culminated in a panel discussion focused on Storytelling and Civil Liberties

This conversation featured a range of perspectives and experiences, including Ramfis Myrthil (Beast of the East Productions), Todd Belcore (Social Change), SJ Murray, PhD (EMMY®-nominated filmmaker; professor at Baylor University), and Alex Gladstein (Human Rights Foundation). We were also fortunate to feature performances from local artists Thelonious Love and Brooke Axtell.

The event had a huge impact on the storytellers in the room. Here are some of their comments:

My biggest takeaway was that film can spread the belief in freedom and help empower people to lift themselves up and inspire others.
Loved the panel. Mix of art and social impact. Amazing stories and people with incredible perspectives on where we need to go in life and art. Thank you!
My biggest takeaway was that nothing can change without empathy — especially for those you disagree with.

Want to attend MPI masterclasses? Apply here.


Thanks also to our partners who made this incredible event possible, including:

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MPI Original Short "Sugar Rush" Coming Soon

Meredith (left) and Austin (right) Bragg pictured at our Business at MPI’s 2018 Business in Film seminar.

Meredith (left) and Austin (right) Bragg pictured at our Business at MPI’s 2018 Business in Film seminar.

New Short Film Begins Pre-Production

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve begun pre-production on Sugar Rush, a new MPI Original comedy short from Austin and Meredith Bragg. The Bragg brothers are award-winning video producers and editors at Reason TV. Their videos have been viewed millions of times and have been featured on Deadline, CollegeHumor.com, the Atlantic, NPR, Politico, CNN, PBS, and Comedy Central.

In 2018, Austin and Meredith participated in MPI’s thirteen-week Concept Development workshop to refine their skills in character-driven narrative filmmaking. There, they developed an idea for a short dramedy about a father who breaks California law when he tries to buy a banned decoration for his daughter’s birthday cake.

After the workshop ended, MPI’s chief creative officer, Erin O’Connor, worked with the Braggs as they wrote and revised the script. Now, MPI is producing the film, with Austin and Meredith co-directing. A compelling look at over-regulation, the film will be produced in 2019 and will premiere in festivals in 2020.

MPI Heads to to SxSW

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Teaching Civil Liberties through Storytelling

Tomorrow, MPI is hosting a masterclass in Austin, TX, alongside the SXSW film festival. Entitled “Storytelling and Civil Liberties,” this sold-out masterclass will be led by MPI vice president of talent development Lana Link and explore how storytellers who care about civil liberties can make a difference in society.   

Featured speakers include:

  • Brooke Axtell, founder and director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse, and sex-trafficking;

  • Todd Belcore, four-time national award-winning lawyer, mediator, advocate, law lecturer, and co-founder of the nonprofit Social Change;

  • Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation and vice president of strategy for the Oslo Freedom Forum;

  • Thelonious Love, a Houston-based artist and activist;

  • Dr. SJ Murray, Baylor professor, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, pioneer in the field of story design, and award-winning writer, director, and producer; and

  • Ramfis Myrthil, a New York-based filmmaker and founding partner and co-President of Beast of the East Productions.

Want to attend MPI masterclasses? Apply here.

Recap: MPI Masterclass with Arctic Filmmakers

Source—XYZ Films

Source—XYZ Films

MPI Filmmakers Get the Inside Scoop on Award-Winning Feature

Last Thursday, select MPI filmmakers joined us for a private masterclass with Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison, co-creators of the critically acclaimed 2018 film Arctic. Shot entirely on location in Iceland and starring Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale), Arctic screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival before securing theatrical distribution.

Penna and Morrison offered the masterclass participants valuable insights into the journey to and through a debut feature film.

Here's what one of our filmmakers had to say:

I had a long list of questions to ask and barely opened my mouth, because they answered every single one of them through their casual and candid dialogue. It was inspiring to see two hard-working filmmakers reaping the benefits from defying all the odds. Their story was the perfect blend of information and inspiration.

Interested in attending our next private masterclass? Apply here.

"Regulation" Accepted into DC Independent Film Festival

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MPI Original Short Earns Coveted Shortlist Spot

MPI’s original short, Regulation, will screen at the 2019 DC Independent Film Festival in March as part of the Narrative Shorts block.

Written and directed by MPI filmmaker Ryan Patch, the film depicts a near future wherein a young social worker named Mia (Sunita Mani, GLOW) travels through a small town community administering behavior-modifying patches that guarantee happiness for the wearers. She must decide what to do when ten-year-old Kaleigh (Audrey Bennett, Broadway’s Frozen) refuses to accept the “happy patch.”

Following the screening, director Ryan Patch and producer Joanne Vo will lead an audience Q&A.

Find more details on the event here.

Recap: MPI’s Sundance Masterclass

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Sold-out Masterclass Highlights Transformative Power of Storytelling

Last month, MPI hosted a human rights-based masterclass alongside the Sundance Film Festival. The sold-out event, co-sponsored by Snowday, Tabu Filmz, and ACG Wealth, Inc. and led by MPI vice president of development Lana Link, explored how storytellers can use film to profile human rights issues such as human trafficking and spark social change for human rights. around those issues.

The event’s featured speakers included:

  • Brooke Axtell, founder and director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse, and sex-trafficking;

  • Dr. SJ Murray, Baylor professor, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, pioneer in the field of story design, and award-winning writer, director, and producer;

  • Conroy Kanter, president and founder of KK Ranch Productions, CEO of anti-trafficking organization Trafficked, LLC, and director of independent drama Trafficked; and

  • Tiffany Kieran, director of interactive programing and partnerships at EarthxFilm.

Following the masterclass, Brooke Axtell treated our filmmakers to a special musical performance.

Attendees gave the event a 9.8/10 rating and raved:

Everyone on the panel illuminated such important and often neglected foundations of storytelling and its power. I was moved, deeply. Thank you.
Wow. That was by far the most impactful event Ii’ve been to in years. More please!
An incredible, intentional event that upholds the true spirit of Sundance. Bravo!
Seriously considering changing the focus of my next film to a topic that creates social change.

Want to attend MPI masterclasses? Apply here.

"Regulation" Premieres in NYC

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MPI Original Short Will Screen at the Big Apple Film Festival

MPI’s original short, Regulation, premieres tonight at the 2019 Big Apple Film Festival in New York City.

Written and directed by MPI filmmaker Ryan Patch, the film depicts a near future wherein a young social worker named Mia (Sunita Mani, GLOW) travels through a small town community administering behavior-modifying patches that guarantee happiness for the wearers. She must decide what to do when ten-year-old Kaleigh (Audrey Bennett, Broadway’s Frozen) refuses to accept the “happy patch.”

Find more details on the event here.

New "Regulation" Poster is Here

See the Poster for Our Newest MPI Original Short

Take a look at the new official poster for MPI Original short, Regulation.

 
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From MPI-supported filmmaker Ryan Patch (Gringa, Mama Rwanda), Regulation depicts a near future wherein a young social worker named Mia travels through a small town community to administer behavior-modifying "patches" that guarantee happiness for the wearers. She must decide what to do when Kaleigh, a precocious 10-year old girl, refuses to accept the patch, and takes Mia on a tour of the imagination that her unregulated feelings bring.

See the New "Miss Virginia" Poster

Check Out the New Poster For MPI’s Upcoming Feature Film

It’s finally here! We’re excited to share the official poster for MPI’s first feature film, Miss Virginia.

 
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Based on a true story, Miss Virginia stars Emmy-winner Uzo Aduba as an impoverished single mother who is losing her teenaged son to the rough streets of Washington, D.C. Unwilling to see him drop out and deal drugs, she puts him in a private school. But when she can’t afford tuition, she launches a movement to change the system that is destroying him and thousands like him.

The film will release later this year.

Happy New Year from the Moving Picture Institute

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Goodbye, 2018. Hello, 2019.

2018 was full of milestones for MPI. Just this year we’ve:

  • Filmed and produced our first narrative feature film, Miss Virginia, which we’re currently submitting to major festivals.

  • Supported 70 filmmakers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and wages to support their career development.

  • Placed 18 rising filmmakers into internships with major production companies such as MGM Studios (Creed, Skyfall, the Hobbit trilogy) and on the sets of our own original films.

  • Hosted 4 screenwriting workshops; 3 hands-on, multi-day intensive workshops; and 14 masterclasses from LA to NYC, which featured award-winning industry experts like television writer Rob Long (Cheers), animator Colin Brady (Toy Story), editor Tom Wilson (Mad Men), and showrunner Chris Brancato (Narcos).

  • Screened MPI Originals like Gringa, Moving Violation, and We the Internet TV at nearly 30 festivals nationwide.

This isn’t just success; it’s real impact. MPI is fast becoming ground zero for films—and filmmakers—that promote human freedom. And we’re just getting started.

We have big plans for next year. In 2019,

  • Miss Virginia will premiere in theaters across the country;

  • We’ll launch a pipeline of new feature-length and short film projects;

  • We the Internet TV will tour college campuses;

  • We’ll double down on the support we offer rising, pro-freedom talent.

From all of us at the Moving Picture Institute, we wish you a happy new year and look forward to keeping you up-to-date with our work in 2019.

Apply to Attend Our 2019 Screenwriting Workshops

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“Calling Card” and “Documentary Storytelling” Kick Off in January

Attention screenwriters—we’re excited to announce the launch of MPI’s 2019 screenwriting workshop series. This year, we’re offering six 13-week screenwriting workshops on Writing the “Calling Card” Short, Documentary Storytelling, and Concept Development.

Projects developed in MPI’s workshops, such as Toby Fell-Holden’s Balcony and Laura Waters Hinson’s Moving Violation, have gone on to significant success and acclaim at festivals.

Workshops will take the form of an hour-long, weekly conference call; participants will also complete weekly reading and watching assignments. Each participant will receive a $1,000 fellowship from MPI.

Our first two workshops of the year, Writing the “Calling Card” Short and Documentary Storytelling, kick off in January. Applications are due by January 2, 2019.

Have an idea for a script and interested in applying? Visit our Screenwriting Workshops page to learn more.

New Mini-Documentary from We the Internet TV

MPI-Supported Filmmaker Rob Montz Takes a Look at the Presidency

Today, the Moving Picture Institute's comedy news channel We the Internet TV released Trump as Destiny: Why the Reality Show Presidency Was Inevitable, a new short documentary from MPI-supported filmmaker Rob Montz. In this 15-minute documentary, Montz investigates the history of the presidency, the crises and wars that have forged our ideas of what a president should be, and shows us what made the “Reality Show Presidency” inevitable.

MPI-Supported Film Wins at SCAD Savannah Film Festival

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The Conqueror Takes Home Best Global Short

MPI-supported film The Conqueror won the award for Best Global Short: A Sporting Chance award at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Savannah Film Festival.

This documentary short by MPI-supported filmmaker Timothy Blackwood follows Jerome Conquest, a young man from one of Philadelphia's most dangerous neighborhoods who turns to boxing as a source of hope after losing his best friend to the streets. Despite his struggles, Jerome doesn’t see himself as a victim—he works hard, pursuing his dream of becoming a professional boxer and inspiring others with the belief that the same freedom resides in the hearts of all people.

Check out the Deadline announcement for a complete list of this year’s winners.

Business of Film Workshop

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MPI Filmmakers Learn From Top Hollywood Executives

Last weekend, we ran our annual Business of Film workshop. This weekend-long workshop equips filmmakers with the fundamentals of how to start and run a production company, negotiate effective contracts, pitch and sell projects, market for profitability and impact, finance their films, and more.  

Participants learned from industry experts Rob Mitchell (CFO, Bold Films), Ralph Winter (producer, X-Men films), Jessica Johnson (TV and New Media Entertainment Contracts Manager, SAG-AFTRA), and Tiffany Atwood (CEO, RPM Talent Group), among others.

Our filmmakers raved:

You guys did such a great job of getting a diverse array of expertise. From agents, to producers, to line producers, to marketers, to writers, to directors, each each speaker gave us entirely unique and useful insight into the film business. It was efficient beyond expectation.
This is—by far—the best workshop/summit experience I have ever had.
This event was so well organized, so well constructed, so carefully planned. It was truly a testament to the hard work and the dedication that you put towards your mission statement. I would jump on any future MPI events in a heartbeat.

Interested in attending one of our workshops? Check out our Filmmaker Opportunities page for more information.

Recap: Masterclass Dinner with "For Ahkeem" Director

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MPI Filmmakers Learn From Emmy-Winner Landon Van Soest

In September, select MPI filmmakers joined us for an exclusive masterclass dinner featuring MPI-supported filmmaker Landon Van Soest, an Emmy Award-winning director, Fulbright Scholar, and two-time Sundance Fellow. Landon is best known for his recent documentary For Ahkeem and his Emmy-winning MPI-supported documentary Good Fortune.

Participants learned about the independent documentary landscape, financing, selecting subjects, attaching quality producers, and distribution.

Interested in attending our next masterclass dinner? Click here to apply.

Recap: Masterclass Dinner with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Co-Creator

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MPI Filmmakers Learn From David Greenwalt and Maggie Mahrt

In September, select MPI filmmakers joined us for an exclusive masterclass dinner featuring writer, producer, and director David Greenwalt and freelance filmmaker Maggie Mahrt. David is the co-creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Grimm. Maggie got her start in the industry as David’s production assistant on Grimm, after which she went on to create numerous original, award-winning shorts, commercials, web series, and branded content.

Participants learned about the television business, writers’ rooms, television production, what makes a good showrunner’s assistant, and how showrunners interact with studio executives.

Interested in attending our next masterclass dinner? Click here to apply.

"Gringa" Wins at Fayetteville Film Festival

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The MPI Original Took Home Best Short

We’re pleased to share that our MPI Original short film, Gringa, won Best Short film at the Fayetteville Film Festival, beating out 27 other short films. The film depicts the story of a Cuban-American woman on a frenzied mission to find a rare car part before she and her abuelo leave for a trip to Havana. Watch the trailer here.

During the festival, MPI’s vice president of talent development, Lana Link—who also co-wrote and produced the film—ran a masterclass called “How to Tell Stories that Make an Impact.” Lana discussed how to pick a good story to tell, what impact can mean and how to achieve it, and how to make a story as good as it can possibly be. She also joined Good Day NWA to talk about MPI’s work.