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Media that Matters Film Festival Launches Tonight at BAM

Media that Matters Film Festival Launches Tonight at BAM

by Sandra Ogle









Alex Rivera's "The Sixth Section" -- a documentary about immigrants organizing across borders -- is part of the 2004 Media That Matters Film Festival. This scene from the film shows the baseball stadium of Boqueron, Mexico, that was paid for entirely by people from the town who live and work in upstate New York. Photo courtesy of the filmmakers.

The fourth-annual Media that Matters Film Festival will kick off at 7 p.m. tonight at the BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn, NY, with a special screening of the winning entries. Created by MediaRights, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building communities between filmmakers and social activists, the festival is a meeting ground for short films and digital media works that encourage social action.

"Thanks to our hosts David Cross and Woody Harrelson, last year's festival received unprecedented attention and set the bar really high for this year," said Nicole Betancourt, MediaRights executive director, in a prepared statement. "Thankfully, we were flooded with entries this year and we've put together a roster of films and new media work that are as hard hitting as they are high quality."

Fourteen films and two digital media works have been selected as winners this year out of the 300 entries. Eight of the winning films will receive $1,000 each. A jury of media professionals, activists, and filmmakers, including HBO Documentaries' Greg Rhem and cult comic book artist David Rees, reviewed the festival submissions. HBO will host an invitation-only awards ceremony on May 19.

"Seeds of Hope: South Africa," winner of the festival's environment award, shows a glimpse of a group of South African women living in a poverty-stricken township. "Bush for Peace," a satirical short featuring excerpts of the President's "Moment in Truth" speech, won the politics and government award. Other shorts include "The Meatrix," "Day of Remembrance," "Books not Bars," "The Sixth Section," and "Children of Birmingham."

The festival goes live on the web on Thursday, when the winning films will be available to stream at www.mediathatmattersfest.org. Online viewers are also encourage to volunteer, sign petitions, write to Congress, or donate to various organizations via links.

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