The Media That Matters
presentation screened and discussed documentaries and short films that teach children about social and global issues. Every Third Bite
were the two documentaries that I was most inspired by and wanted to know more about. “The Media That Matters Film Festival is a project of Arts Engine, which supports, produces, and distributes short films directed by independent filmmakers, many of whom are under 21.” The short films showcased at the Media That Matters Film Festivals
capture social issues and inspire people to take action. The public can view the short films for free, which is a great resource and tool for educators. The Media That Matters website provides information about the short films, filmmakers, how to take social action, and news articles pertaining to gender, human rights, economic, political, and other issues addressed in the films.
Every Third Bite
is a documentary about the disappearance of honeybees from their hives. This documentary was directed and produced by Meerkat Media Collective
, which “is comprised of filmmakers, musicians, illustrators, writers and artists of all stripes who believe in collaboration and cooperation.” Every Third Bite
was shown at the Eight Annual Film Festival and won the Good Food Award. The documentary records local beekeepers responses to Colony Collapse Disorder
and what society can do to keep bees healthy and alive.
Every Third Bite
displays how bee hives can be in urban communities to produce local honey, which is a great remedy for allergies. In Chicago, the Honey Co-op was established to employ people who were interested in becoming beekeepers. Mary Woltz discusses how many commercial beekeepers replace the bees’ honey with high fructose corn syrup, which lowers the bees’ immunity. To keep bees healthy and returning to the hives, Mary feeds the bees their own honey. The local beekeepers believe that commercial beekeepers push hives too much, which causes colony collapse, sickness, and death.
Every Third Bite
makes viewers aware of the potential extinction of bees and helps people understand how bees affect agriculture and the world's food supply. Every Third Bite
sends the message that if we all come together and properly care for bees, the bees will continue to produce honey and pollinate our crops. After viewing this documentary, I wanted to help save the bees so I researched and discovered the Take Action Links
, which provides information on CCD and how you can start your own bee hive :) Just visit the Media That Matters website
to discover how you can help save the bees! Teachers can have their students watch Every Third Bite
and listen to their children's reactions to the film. Some questions to engage students in critically thinking about the film are: What will happen if bees become extinct? What is the meaning behind the title of this documentary? How do you feel after viewing this film? What opinions, points of view, and/or perspectives were expressed in this documentary? Think of a plan of action and/or solution to ending CCD. How can we help and support our local beekeepers?
One of the most memorable experiences from the TTP conference for me was listening to Ambika Samartha
, who directed and produced Ashray
, discuss her reason and motivation to film children from Bombay who are infected or affected by HIV. Ambika shared: “When I was seventeen years old, I went to India as part of a program where we gave educational presentations on HIV/AIDS to different schools and universities. One of the places we visited during our stay was Ashray and the staff and the children there inspired me. I always wanted to go back and document their lives.” To learn more about Ambika’s accomplishments and achievements in the film industry, check out her biography on the Media That Matters website.
is an emotional film about children who live at a shelter home due to the fact that their families are too poor or sick to take care of them. Ashray
was part of the Seventh Annual Media That Matters Film Festival and won the Global Health award. Ashray is the first residential home in Bombay, India for children who had to abandon their homes due to the HIV virus. The statistics displayed in the film portray how HIV impacts the lives of children in India. Since testing for HIV is not a mandatory procedure at Ashray, the staff and children are treated as if they all have HIV. Ashray provides these children with shelter, food, clothing, education, and enjoyment.
The Committed Communities Development Trust
believes that “marginalized communities have the capacity and will to improve their condition. All they need is support and empowerment.” After viewing Ashray
with children, educators can ask: What are your reactions and feelings towards the film? What opinions and perspectives were privileged/marginalized? What can we do to make a difference in the lives of children infected or affected by HIV? Where can we find more information about HIV awareness? What are some things that you will remember or take away from this documentary? How can we support communities like Ashray and work towards HIV/AIDS intervention?
The most meaningful part of the documentary for me was when the children were asked to describe what Ashray means to them. Some of the children’s responses were “teacher, school, family, and love.” The children’s answers demonstrates how Ashray has become their home away from home. During her presentation on Flipbooks and Thaumatropes: A Beginning Look At Film
, Dr. Belinha De Abreu read aloud a quote by Kitty Johnson: “Films are an excellent source of authentic spoken language in context- a resource for both language and culture.” Ambika chose to preserve the native tongue of Bombay by having the children and staff at Ashray speak in their native language. The sub-titles did not subdue the thoughts and feelings expressed by the children but rather identified the children’s culture and ethnicity. In Catherine Gouley’s presentation on Teaching Through Film: An Interdisciplinary Approach
, she commented on how film is a language and most films, including documentaries, are narratives. Therefore, Ashray tells a sad, yet true story that invokes compassion, empathy, and desire to take social action from it’s viewers.
Save the Date: The Media That Matters Ninth Annual Film Festival World Premiere
is June 3rd, 2009 in NYC! It's from 6:00-9:00pm at the School of Visual Arts Theater on 333 West 23rd Street. Visit their website to find more information about how to purchase tickets and attend this exciting screening event!