By Peter Knegt | Indiewire June 4, 2009 at 5:3AM
The ninth annual Media That Matters Film Festival, one of the world's first and largest online film festivals, launches today with a collection of 12 short films "aimed at inspiring online audiences to think, laugh, and take action on today's top issues." This year's festival showcases twelve jury-selected shorts tackling a broad range of issues with humor, humanity, and honesty. The films include jury prize winner Next Wave, director Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzer's "alarming documentary about the world's first climate change refugees from the Carteret Islands," and Locusts, a "rousing docu- musical on the effects of ill-planned urban planning featuring hotly-tipped Detroit hip hop artists Invincible and Finale."
"This year's program exemplifies how great filmmaking can humanize critical issues," said Michael Raisler, creative director of Cinereach, in a statement. "Media That Matters continues to provide an exciting and unique opportunity for audiences to encounter vital perspectives too often ignored."
All of the shorts, which range from traditional documentaries to animated films, are 12 minutes or less. Each is accompanied by "Take Action" tools which "empower viewers to become activists at the click of a button." For example, after viewing "Next Wave," viewers can volunteer, sign petitions, and learn more about climate change through Take Action links to organizations such as Islands First, 350.org, and the Avaaz Foundation.
Last year, more than a million people participated in the festival online and through over 100 local screenings held around the world.
"The Media That Matter Film Festival aims to not only entertain, but to also motivate audiences to learn more and get involved," said Katy Chevigny, co- founder and executive director of Arts Engine, in a statement. "All of the films explore difficult and challenging topics in ways that will surprise, delight, and inspire."
The complete ninth annual Media That Matters Film Festival lineup is as follows, watch all the films here:
The Next Wave Pacific Islands & USA | 8:03 | Documentary
The Carteret Islanders, some of the world's first climate change refugees, struggle to relocate.
Bits and Pieces Jordan | 4:38 | Experimental / Animation
Traditional mosaics illustrate a collage of contemporary Jordanian sentiments, challenging common misperceptions of the Middle East.
Lone Wolf USA | 5:29 | Documentary
The rights of an independent journalist are compromised by the government's attempts to control media content.
Locusts USA | 6:33 | Docu-music video
Hip Hop artists join Detroit citizens to speak up about the effects of ill- planned urban developments.
Exiled in America USA | 9:25 | Documentary
Five siblings living in America struggle to support themselves after their mother is deported to Mexico.
Why Do White People Have Black Spots? Ghana & USA | 6:24 | Documentary
Youth in Ghana pose questions to people outside of their borders and spark an ongoing dialogue through film.
La Hoja Bolivia & USA | 9:59 | Documentary
The United States' war on drugs challenges Bolivian traditions with broad and damaging results.
Will I Be Next? USA | 6:31 | Documentary
Chicago youth explore the effects of gun violence in their neighborhoods and demand change for the future.
Immersion USA | 12:00 | Narrative
Moises, a ten-year-old student, struggles to communicate in his new English- only school with limited access to his native language. h
The Secret Life of Paper USA | 5:36 | Documentary
Why does the United States consume far more paper than any other country on the globe?
Knock Knock, Who's There? India | 0:59 | PSA
What would you do to stop domestic abuse in your neighborhood?
Looking Back USA | 5:31 | Documentary
Homeless veteran Albert Lewis photographs his life and sheds light on the support of his community.