See "Regulation" in Phoenix This Week

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Two screenings you won’t want to miss

MPI’s original short film Regulation screens again this week in Phoenix as an official selection in the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival. Festival-goers can catch screenings on Friday, April 12th, and Saturday, April 13th.

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.”

MPI IS HIRING!

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MPI is looking to hire a director of communications and marketing. This is a fantastic position with lots of opportunity for innovation, entrepreneurship, growth, and creative problem-solving. Plus it’s the movies! Learn more here — and if that description looks like you, please apply. 

In the Spotlight: MPI Filmmaker and Director Rob Montz

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Rob Montz Dubbed “Star Turn” for His Online Video Geniusness

Last week, Quillette, an online magazine dedicated to providing a platform for free thought, published an article on MPI filmmaker and director Rob Montz. They praise Rob as a serious documentarian who has the uncanny ability to produce high-end, intellectually sophisticated, and entertaining online videos.

Rob, who is best known for his fast-paced and hard-hitting short documentaries, produced and directed We the Internet TV’s campus free-speech trilogy Silence U. Silence U: Part 2 was awarded the 2018 Reason Video Prize and was covered in The New York Times and the College Fix.

His latest We the Internet TV mini-doc, Is Instagram Destroying Teenage Girls? A Montz Micro-Dose, examines how social media may be contributing to rising rates of depression amongst teenage girls.

You can watch Rob’s WTI mini-docs and more at the Moving Picture Institute's comedy news channel We the Internet TVand read the full Quillette article here.

MPI-supported Doc Screening at NYPAP

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BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN Heading Back to...Brooklyn

The MPI-supported documentary Battle for Brooklyn will screen on Monday, April 15 at the Alamo Drafthouse from 6:00pm - 8:30pm as part of the New York Preservation Film Festival. A panel discussion following the screening will feature Norman Oder, author of the blog Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report; Katia Kelly, whose blog Pardon Me For Asking chronicles development issues in Brooklyn; and one of the filmmakers. Tickets are on sale now.

A feature-length documentary by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, Battle for Brooklyn looks at how New York state abused eminent domain law to demolish Brooklyn homes and businesses, paving the way for a commercial development centered on a basketball arena. Following one resident’s lengthy fight to defy his eviction order and keep control of his apartment, the film drew praise from numerous reviewers: The LA Times called it “a deft look at a reluctant crusader and how financial sway and political override can so effectively trump the power of the average citizen."

Battle for Brooklyn won Best Documentary & Best Film at the 2011 Brooklyn Film Festival, and was one of fifteen films shortlisted for an Academy Award in the Documentary Feature category for the 2012 Oscars. Although it did not make the five final nominees, even being shortlisted was huge recognition for the filmmakers and MPI.



In the Spotlight: MPI-supported Directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley

Source—IMDb

Source—IMDb

all the rage—connecting emotions to health

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders states that around 80 percent of adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetimes. Another prominent survey finds that half of adults experience lower back pain each year, and that around 30 million Americans suffer from it at any one time. A leading contributor to reduced productivity at work, back pain accounts for an estimated 264 million lost work days each year, while treating it costs Americans around $50 billion annually in health care costs. And yet traditional medicine has often found it difficult to treat lower back pain because, in many instances, it is unclear what is causing it.

The 2016 documentary All the Rage, directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley (who previously directed the MPI-supported, Oscar-shortlisted documentary Battle for Brooklyn), examines the work of the late Dr. John Sarno (1923-2017), former professor of rehabilitation medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, whose unorthodox approach connects lower back pain to emotional rather than structural causes. Although Sarno’s theories frequently put him at odds with the mainstream medical establishment, his bestselling books have gained a large following, with thousands crediting him with their recovery from debilitating pain. Through interviews with Sarno, prominent patients, and other experts, the film asks viewers to take a more holistic view of healthcare and consider the role of emotional and mental states in fostering healing.

One of the film’s directors has first-hand experience of Dr. Sarno’s approach. When Michael Galinsky was immobilized by excruciating back pain, Sarno treated him and helped him recover, inspiring Galinsky’s 12-year effort from 2004 to 2016 to translate Sarno’s work to the screen. Other interviewees in the documentary, whom Sarno also helped, include “shock jock” Howard Stern, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, and reporter John Stossel.

All the Rage is now available to stream on Amazon Video and iTunes.

"Regulation" Screens in Hollywood and Phoenix This Week

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Don’t miss your chance to catch the latest MPI Original short!

MPI’s original short film Regulation will screen at festivals in Hollywood and Phoenix this week. On Thursday, April 4th, it will screen at the famous TCL Chinese Theatre as part of the Beverly Hills Film Festival, and on Friday, April 5th, it will screen at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix. Check out our Events page for additional details.

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.”

MPI Film Voted Top Documentary

How Jack Became Black Awarded Prize for Important Documentary

We’re happy to announce that MPI-supported documentary How Jack Became Black was awarded Best Documentary: Important Documentary About a Socially Relevant Topic at Film Threat’s inaugural Award This! Awards. Founded in 1985, Film Threat is a prominent independent film news and reviews outlet; a champion of rising independent filmmakers, Film Threat launched its Award This! awards to recognize outstanding work in independent film.

This documentary, written and directed by MPI filmmaker Eli Steele, examines what it is like to be multiracial in an America dominated by identity politics. The film is available to rent or purchase via iN Demand (check your cable provider's listings), iTunes, and Amazon Video.

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 "A Piece of Cake" 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 A Piece of Cake, 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.

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.