Give Your Favorite MPI Films this Holiday Season

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Holiday shopping? Look no further!

The holidays are here, and the gift hunting rush is in full swing. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift to inspire your loved ones this season, consider sharing one of the Moving Picture Institute’s powerful films.

Our films make a welcome addition to any movie lover’s collection, especially 

Visit our films page for more films available to purchase.

Need stocking-stuffer ideas? Last week, we released all-new We the Internet TV swag, featuring “As Seen by the NSA” iPhone cases, Silence U college sweatshirts, "Paid Protester" t-shirts, and more. Visit our online store for gifts that keep on giving.

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From all of us at the Moving Picture Institute, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Welcome to Our New Website

Don’t adjust your screen, you are in fact at TheMPI.org!

With an array of new films, videos, and filmmaker opportunities, it was time for a website upgrade. And we are excited to give you the tour.

But first we’d like to take a moment to thank all of our generous supporters. Your investment in our work makes possible all of the impactful films and programs showcased here. 

So let’s dive in:

Our new homepage is an overview of our work “Making Movies,” “Developing Talent,” and “Engaging Audiences.” Explore quick links to Films, News, Events, and more. Or learn more about our Impact here. 

Want to watch a Moving Picture Institute film? Visit the Films page and locate to the “Watch Now” carousel at the top of the page. Click on the film poster of your choice to purchase or stream. 

Want to apply to one of our many programs for filmmakers? Click For Filmmakers in the top navigation toolbar. On the Opportunities page, you’ll find a programs overview of intern placements, grants, and classes. Each program has its own specific page with more details, application link, and in some cases, videos that provide a more cinematic look at talent offerings. 

Pro-tip: Our virtual screenwriting workshops focus on different storytelling topics and run throughout the year. For example, our documentary writing workshop begins in January. Don’t miss the December 8th deadline!

Want to hear the latest Moving Picture Institute highlights? Visit this, our “Latest Stories” page. Find major film updates, such as special casting announcements, new releases, and must-see We the Internet TV videos

As you explore the site, we invite you to join our mission to create and support high-impact film and video content designed to entertain, inspire, and educate audiences with captivating stories about human freedom. Visit our support page to make a tax-deductible gift today.
 

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New We the Internet TV Mini-Documentary

The Quarterlife User Manual: 10 Tips for College Grads

Today, the Moving Picture Institute's comedy web channel We the Internet TV released a new short documentary the Quarterlife User Manual, which lays out some hard truths for college grads entering today's evolving workforce. 

Through interviews with entrepreneurs and experts, Moving Picture Institute filmmaker and director Rob Montz uncovers 10 truths about finding meaningful work in today's competitive, and often confusing, career landscape. An alumnus of several MPI programs, he most recently joined us for our cinematography and editing workshops this summer.

In the film, Montz—who is known for his fast-paced and hard-hitting short documentaries—gives recent grads advice he wishes he'd had when entering the workforce. Step 1? "Realize that the universe does not care." From Montz:

When I left college, I had no clue how to actually navigate the working world, and the only advice people could give me was "go to law school." The aim of this documentary is to transmute that pain and loneliness and aimlessness of my twenties into realistic, actionable pieces of advice. I'm not going to lie to people about how tough it is to secure meaningful work. But I do think there are some straightforward rules that, if you stick with them, can lead you there.

Check out the new mini-documentary below!

Variety Covers Breaking News at MPI

Uzo Aduba to star in Moving Picture Institute film Miss Virginia

We are thrilled to announce that two-time Emmy winner Uzo Aduba will play the lead role of Virginia in our upcoming feature-length film, Miss Virginia. The announcement made the first page in Variety’s Friday print edition covering the American Film Market. 

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Written by Moving Picture Institute executive vice president Erin O’Connor, the film depicts the real-life story of Virginia Walden Ford, a struggling inner-city single mother who moves her at-risk son from their dangerous neighborhood school to a better one in a safe area.

Uzo Aduba is best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black. In 2014, she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, and in 2015, she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. As one of only two actors to win Emmys in both comedy and drama for the same role, Aduba promises to bring unparalleled heart and dynamism to the role of Virginia. 

From O'Connor:

The real Miss Virginia is as formidable as she is warm and down-to-earth. No one captures that spirit like Uzo. Her bravery, grit, and humor shine through in all her performances. We’re ecstatic that she will be bringing her infectious energy to Miss Virginia.

Moving Picture Institute filmmaker R. J. Daniel Hanna will direct the film, which will be produced by MPI president Rob Pfaltzgraff, executive vice presidents Erin O’Connor and Maurice Black, and Stacey Parks of Media Sparks Films. The movie is set to commence production early next year.

Be on the lookout for more details to come as we move into the production phase.

Don’t Miss These Screenings

Screenings Upon Screenings!

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October was an exciting month for Incarcerating US—our documentary about criminal justice reform. The film screened and sparked thoughtful conversation at Stanford University last weekend as part of the 2017 United Nations Association Film Festival.

Southern Californians are in luck: Incarcerating US will screen again on Thursday, November 2nd, at the beautiful Laemmle’s Royal Theatre in Santa Monica as part of the Pembroke Taparelli Film Festival. Reserve your tickets here!

Also, look out this month for a NEW We the Internet TV mini-documentaryfrom Moving Picture Institute filmmaker Rob Montz. The Quarterlife User Manual lays out the core rules newly minted college graduates should follow to secure a meaningful career without joining the ever-growing list of over-educated coffee baristas. 

There are a few seats still available for an exclusive sneak-peek screening of the Quarterlife User Manual in Washington, D.C., TONIGHT at 5:30 p.m. Email claudia@thempi.org to RSVP!

Prepare for the new video by watching and sharing past We the Internet TV mini-documentaries, Silence U Part 1 and Part 2.  

New Parody Video: Gentrifiers Against Gentrification

Gentrification—Coming to a City Near You

Gentrification. It's changing New York, just as it's changed San Francisco, Los Angeles, and many other cities. In the seventies, New York was the king of cool: Seedy theaters, gritty rock bands, and more murders than the police could ever realistically expect to solve. 

Yet recently the city's been transformed, with rents getting pushed up by people who were sadly expecting a more authentic place. It seems like every day, a small business they never got to patronize is being pushed out just to make room for an apartment building in which they would be interested in living. 

What is a young artist struggling to make ends meet with the money their parents are sending them to do? While Harlem and Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bushwick and Williamsburg are becoming hot commodities on the east coast, it's a similar story with Boyle Heights in LA, the Mission in San Francisco, and other areas from Oakland to Austin to Boston. 

Will they be able to stave off the relentless tide of clean streets and citizens with high incomes? Or will their transplants be forced to reckon, like Matthew Gentry in this video, with a city that's not the one they fell in love with a few weeks ago?

If you like We the Internet TV’s gentrification parody, make sure to share and follow the Facebook page for more videos, memes, and other political comedy that makes fun of everyone!

Masterclass with the Creators of Showtime’s Billions

Learning What Makes a Successful TV Show

Today in New York, Moving Picture Institute filmmakers enjoyed a masterclass conversation between David Levien and Brian Koppelman, the co-creators, executive producers, and showrunners of Showtime’s hit drama series Billions, and Lana Link, the Moving Picture Institute’s vice president of talent development. Levien and Koppelman shared their insights on storytelling, writing complex characters, showrunning, and succeeding in the entertainment industry.

More about the speakers: Over the past two decades, Koppelman and Levien, have created an influential and diverse body of work in both film and television. Some of their most noteworthy credits include Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen, Solitary Man, The Illusionist, Runaway Jury, Tilt, ESPN’s 30 for 30 (This Is What They Want), I Smile Back, The Girlfriend Experience, and Joe Berlinger’s Tony Robbins documentary, I Am Not Your Guru. Koppelman is the host and creator of the hit Slate podcast “The Moment” with Brian Koppelman. Levien is also the author of six novels, including four in the celebrated Frank Behr series.

More about Billions: Emmy- and Golden Globe- winners Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis star in a complex drama about power politics in the world of New York high finance. Shrewd, savvy U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) and the brilliant, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis) are on an explosive collision course, with each using all of his considerable smarts, power and influence to outmaneuver the other. The stakes are in the billions in this timely, provocative Showtime hit series.

For more on the Moving Picture Institute’s masterclass series, visit our Masterclasses page.

Parody Videos: Former Trump Staffers Group Therapy

Catch All 3 Episodes

In We the Internet TV’s latest series of parody videos, former Trump staffers, traumatized officials, and cabinet members need help. These videos provide a rare peek inside group therapy sessions where these officials can work through their problems together with a therapist. 

In episode one, former Trump staffers tackle “denial”—denying everything that goes against their beliefs to be fake news, lies, and hoaxes:

In episode two, the patients learn to estimate the size of groups:

In episode three, the staffers try to rebuild trust with the therapist:

If you haven’t had enough, enjoy the outtakes. Like us on Facebook for more videos, memes, and other political comedy that makes fun of everyone!

Cultivating Mindful Editors

Read what our editing workshop attendees are saying!

Last month, several young creatives joined the Moving Picture Institute and Smock Media in Los Angeles for our second annual editing workshop, the Mindful Editor. This five-day workshop offers aspiring filmmakers an opportunity to hone their skills through hands-on editing assignments in state-of-the-art editing bays.

Learning directly from award-winning film editors—including Mad Men’s Emmy-nominated editor Tom Wilson—attendees explored how to reach wide audiences by appealing to empathy in narratives and documentaries, while reducing the creative burnout that comes with editors’ demanding schedules.

Would you, or someone you know, like to be considered for future workshops? Check out our opportunities for filmmakers.

New Parody Video

North Korean TV: Kim Jong Un Conquers Hollywood? 

In We the Internet TV’s latest parody video, Kim Jong Un has dramatically escalated its confrontation with the US. Now the Supreme Leader is launching a US mainland invasion of Hollywood, where he will slowly beginning a career in show business. 

Will he conquer the industry by annexing the Starbucks table next to the window with a power outlet? Will he find sensible housing with street parking in Silver Lake? Just call him a quadruple threat . . . to democracy. 

Like We the Internet TV, our Webby-winning comedy news channel, on Facebook for new sketch comedy videos that make fun of everyone!

Training the Next Generation of Cinematographers

Introducing Hollywood's Best and Brightest

This summer, 10 talented creatives joined the Moving Picture Institute in Los Angeles for our first cinematography workshop, MOVINGPICTURE:CRAFT, directed by Benjamin Gaskell.

Filmmakers learned how to use advanced lighting and framing techniques to successfully achieve their artistic intentions and advance their ideas. Learning directly from award-winning American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) members, students explored how the cinematographer’s processes can make or break a film.

Though the seminar largely took place at the Mole Richardson soundstage, students also visited and screened their projects at Fotokem, one of the largest independently owned post-production facilities on the West Coast.

Here’s what they had to say: 

I learned more in five immersive days of MPI's Cinematography Workshop than I would have expected to learn over a full semester at a graduate film school.
I was blown away by the format and organization of the program, the caliber of speakers and participants, and the unique mix of lectures, hands-on training, and feedback. . . . we came out on the other side with real, actionable skills to improve our work.
Throughout my filmmaking career I've searched for a way to access high quality education in cinematography but have always found it challenging to find the right resources. The MPI workshop was exactly what I needed.

For more exciting opportunities at the Moving Picture Institute, apply or recommend others for our one of our intern placements.

Moving Picture Institute Vegas Masterclass Recap

The Balakers Talk Storytelling and Distribution

Tonight in Las Vegas, the Moving Picture Institute hosted a masterclass and reception featuring filmmakers Ted and Courtney Balaker. The co-founders of Korchula Productions, the Balakers are known for the narrative film, Little Pink House, and the feature-length documentary Can We Take a Joke. The pair discussed empathetic storytelling, as well as distribution strategy.  

Learn more about the Moving Picture Institute’s Masterclasses here.

2081’s New Classroom Life and Vonnegut Library Screening

Get ready for Teaching 2081

This month, the Moving Picture Institute participated in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s annual Teaching Vonnegut workshop in Indianapolis. Geared at educators, we hosted a special screening and lecture around our original sci-fi short 2081. The film is a star-studded adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron." 

Celebrating the educational re-release of this 2009 film, this event and special screening event presented an opportunity to watch the film and discuss how Vonnegut's work remains as relevant today as in the 1960s.

Though the film has already reached thousands of students nationwide, we launched a new initiative this year to reinvigorate its use in schools. To that end, we partnered with Passing Lane Films to create supplementary classroom materials, complete with lectures featuring Dr. Sarah Skwire and standards-based lesson plans. 

Designed for use in English and social studies classes, the curriculum uses the film as a springboard for critical thinking around themes such as freedom, resistance, equality, and the role of government.

Learn more at Teaching2081.org, and check out the film’s trailer below.

Successful Summer Kick-off at MPI’s 2017 Intern Summit

Launching Our Summer Intern Class

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As a production house and talent incubator, the Moving Picture Institute emphasizes talent development at all stages of filmmakers’ careers—including in their first Hollywood jobs.
 
Last weekend, our summer Hollywood Career Launch class joined the Moving Picture Institute in Los Angeles for our first ever Intern Summit. These young creatives networked with industry leaders, practiced pitching producers, and learned what it takes to turn their internship experiences into successful careers in entertainment. 
 
This summer, the Moving Picture Institute placed interns with host production companies, including with a former Moving Picture Institute intern at Millennium Films, and on our own film sets, such as our comedy news channel We the Internet TV.
 
Attendees also enjoyed a masterclass featuring Brian Knappenberger, an award-winning documentarian known for The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, who shared his expertise on film production, navigating major festivals such as Sundance, and more.
 
Don't forget to check out our other opportunities for filmmakers!

Moving Picture Institute June Masterclass Recap

Documentarian Brian Knappenberger Share His Journey

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Tonight in Los Angeles dozens of Moving Picture Institute filmmakers enjoyed a Masterclass with Brian Knappenberger, an award-winning documentary filmmaker known for
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, and his work on Bloomberg Game Changers.

Knappenberger spoke about his journey in the film world and how big ideas such as civil liberties, including free speech and online privacy, factor into his work. 

Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy was on the short list for the 2015 Academy Award for best documentary feature, along with Citizenfour and 13 other films. He has directed and
executive produced numerous other documentaries for the Discovery Channel, Bloomberg, and PBS, including PBS's Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey. Knappenberger owns and operates Luminant Media, a Los Angeles based production and post-production company.

Learn more about the Moving Picture Institute's Masterclasses here.

New Poster: Corrections

MPI-Supported Film Gets Fresh Look

Check out the new poster for Corrections, a near-future science fiction film about crime and punishment. Created with Moving Picture Institute support, the film takes place in a next-generation prison where inmates are rehabilitated and tested through simulations that evaluate their moral resolve in their most intimate moments. The film follows Cyrus, a prison parole technician, as he becomes obsessed with Alice, a beautiful and sociopathic inmate that the system seems unable to reform. Director Nicholas Tucker created the film to examine ideas and themes that are especially relevant to today’s debate about surveillance, privacy, and the role of the state in defining ethics and evaluating citizens’ choices. The film is currently in production and will hit festivals in 2018.

 
 

Human Rights Masterclass & Screening Recap

How Do Film and Technology Advance Human Freedom?

This year alongside SXSW, the Moving Picture Institute co-hosted a public screening and masterclass panel focused on human rights issues at the Violet Crown Theater. The evening included screenings of the mini-documentary Go To Where the Light Is: Escaping North Korea, and the Moving Picture Institute-supported feature-length documentary State of Control, which follows two American filmmakers as they travel undercover documenting Tibetan activists' human rights struggle against the Chinese government's police state. 

A post-screening masterclass panel will included State of Control director, Christian Johnston, and the Moving Picture Institute's co-founder and president of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen. The panel considered questions about the role of film and technology in advancing human rights around the globe, as well as how activists and filmmakers alike can remain courageous while confronting or documenting oppressive regimes. 

We the Internet TV Wins a Webby

Awarded Best Film & Video – Variety category in the 21st Annual Webby Awards!

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The Moving Picture Institute is proud to announce that our comedy news channel, We the Internet TV, won the Best Film & Video – Variety category in the 21st Annual Webby Awards

Selected as the official category winner by the Webby’s elite panel of judges, We the Internet TV beat out stiff competition from Conan O’Brien, ABC Digital Media Studio/ABC, the Guardian, CBS Interactive, and more.

The Webby Awards, known as the “Oscars of the Internet,” is the Internet’s most respected symbol of success. With 13,000 entries from all 50 U.S. states and over 70 countries—and 3.5 million votes cast in The Webby People’s Voice Awards—the 21st Annual Webby Awards was the biggest in their history. As a Webby winner, We the Internet TV truly sets the global standard for Internet excellence.

From head writer Lou Perez:

All of us at We the Internet TV are honored to receive this Webby award. In a world oversaturated with political comedy content, we’ve always believed the way to break through and be seen was to keep hammering home our truly unique perspective on politics, culture, and life. Every day we're seeing more fans discovering us; this Webby award is validation that the industry is watching, too.

You can watch Lou’s “5-word acceptance speech,” a nod to campus free speech issues and protests, below:

Want to Win a $5,000 Development Deal?

Sign Up for the 2017 Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge

The Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge (CFC) is a nonprofit film competition run by filmmaker Joe Gressis. CFC contestants create a short film in two weeks while also collaborating on at least one other filmmaker’s project . . . and there are some incredible prizes up for grabs. 

This year’s CFC will run from May 17th–31st. Films created for the competition will be inspired by a quote revealed at the kickoff party in Los Angeles on May 16th. Contestants do not need to live in Los Angeles to participate, but they will need to connect with or recruit at least two other filmmakers in their city in order to meet the minimum required number of collaborators. 

The best films, as chosen by CFC’s panel of industry professionals, will be shown to a full house at LA’s prestigious Harmony Gold Theater on June 9th.

This is not only a vital networking opportunity, it’s a chance to win over $12,000 in prizes AND a $5,000 feature or TV development deal with Adi Shankar.

As a bonus, Moving Picture Institute filmmakers who register will have their entry fees waived, and the first 10 Moving Picture Institute filmmakers to apply may be eligible for a $500 grant from CFC once their film is completed and submitted.

This opportunity should not be missed, so sign up today or share with a filmmaker you know!

We the Internet TV Nominated for Webby Award

Vote Today—We’re Webby-Nominated!

The Moving Picture Institute is proud to announce that our comedy news channel, We the Internet TV, has been nominated for Best Film & Video – Variety category in the 21st Annual Webby Awards. 

Cast your vote online today to help We the Internet TV win the internet’s top honor!

The Best Film & Video – Variety category is one of the most coveted nominations in the Webby Awards. For this year’s nomination, We the Internet TV beat out stiff competition from CBS, ABC, the Guardian, and Yahoo! News’ The Katie Couric Interview, among others.

The Webby Awards is the internet’s most respected symbol of success. The 21st Annual Webby Awards received 13,000 entries from nearly all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide. Being nominated means We the Internet TV is one of the five best in the world in its Variety category (and among the top 9% of all work entered).

From head writer Lou Perez:

In a world oversaturated with political comedy content, we've always believed the way to break through and be seen was to keep hammering home our unique and independent perspective on politics, culture, and life. This Webby nomination is a validation of something we've believed from day one: there is a bigger audience thirsting for our content.

As a nominee, We the Internet TV is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, and honored at a star-studded ceremony on Monday, May 15, 2017, in New York City.

From now until April 20th, We the Internet TV fans can cast their votes at vote.webbyawards.com!