Make Films Not War at the 2007 US Social Forum

Make Films Not War: How Film Can Energize Your Organizing

The Cultures of Resistance Network was excited to sponsor a panel discussion and workshop at the inaugural U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta, GA (June 27-July 1, The social forum movement, which started in Brazil in January of 2001 as a counterpoint to the annual meeting of financial and political elites at Davos, Switzerland, has become an important space for tens of thousands of social movement activists, grassroots organizers, NGOs, and civil society groups from all over the world to connect, network and build solidarity.

Held in the community room of the Javaology Café in Atlanta's historic Sweet Auburn district (home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site), our workshop brought together an exciting mix of documentary filmmakers, activists and organizers (and vice versa) to discuss the best ways to use film to energize and focus social justice work. A variety of experiences were shared, and a rousing conversation on the topic contributed to a great space for activists and filmmakers to meet each other, compare notes, and develop collaborations on projects of common interest.

Below is a complete list of some of the experienced filmmakers and activists who lent their vision to our panel:

Jordan Flaherty
A New Orleans-based organizer, editor of Left Turn Magazine, and director of the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival ( The festival was founded in 2003 by grassroots activists and organizers in New Orleans as an organizing tool and a resource for local activists. The festival supports community and bridges local and international struggles through programs featuring film, performance, speakers, and more.

Susan Keith
Outreach Director with Georgia for Democracy, where she coordinated the organizations film club for 3 years, hosting more than 100 documentary screenings in metro Atlanta. Susan is a staff writer and board member of Atlanta Progressive News, and active in the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition.

Aishah Shahidah Simmons
Philadelphia based filmmaker, her award-winning new documentary NO! (which screened at USSF Film Festival) about rape and sexual violence against black women ( is touring the country.

Bennett Singer
Veteran director and producer of EYES ON THE PRIZE, the award-winning civil-rights documentary series for PBS. More recently directed BROTHER OUTSIDER (screening at the USSF Film Festival), a film about civil-rights, anti-war, and gay rights activist, the late Bayard Rustin.

Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin, Moving Images
Producers of video for labor, social justice, health and environmental organizations, and a number of PBS programs. Many of their productions are also in Spanish, and used by organizations in the U.S., and Central and South America. Their film ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE launched the USSF '07 Film Festival. (

Joseph Huff-Hannon (Facilitator)
Organizer/Producer with Cultures of Resistance Network (, and writer on politics and culture. Has worked on a number of documentary films, including THE TAKE, about Argentina's occupied workplace movement, winner of the Best International Documentary Award at 2004 AFI Film Festival. Also works at The New Press, an independent progressive publishing house in New York.

Footage of panel discussion:

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