Social Issue Networks and Film Festivals: Our Method

plot12-2

There are many reasons to participate in a film festival. For documentary filmmakers in search of an audience, festivals provide access to communities of interest and practice, and hold promise for distribution deals and broader public exposure. From the largest and best-known—think Sundance, Tribeca, and South by Southwest—to smaller, themed events like the Green Film Fest, there are many festivals to choose from; by some counts, this number is well in the thousands. Criteria such as reputation and popularity steer filmmakers and attendees toward the most prominent among them. But no two audiences are alike; the extent to which a film may or may not resonate with its viewers is, for many hopefuls, a great unknown.

It’s certainly not an easy nut to crack. Luckily, emerging methods from computational social science can help us begin to distinguish among festival audiences—and provide concrete information to help guide participants to those events most appropriate for their particular project.

Read more

Meaningful Media Now

pokemon-go

As an organization interested in media impact, our “water cooler” chatter around the office often includes TV series that moved us, games we’re addicted to, and media trends that affect us. Read on to see the meaningful media and cultural phenomenons HI staff has been talking about in July:

  1. Featuring: Pokémon Go
  2. Orange is the New Black and Mother Jones
  3. Male Sexual Assault on Television
  4. YouTube Music      

1. Featured Analysis: Pokémon Go

They’re everywhere. The launch of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game, has allowed for masses of people to participate in a mutual journey to catch Pokémon. As players vie to “catch em all,” they are instructed to walk around in pursuit of Pokémon. As players roam neighborhoods, they are notified of Pokéstops (areas that provide free items), lures (areas that are drawing Pokémon for 30 minutes), and Pokémon spawning in the area. A GPS tracker calculates steps as players walk. The game is compelling, addicting, and has gone viral since its July 6 release.

Read more

Meaningful Media Now

Pasted image at 2016_07_11 03_29 PM

As an organization interested in media impact, our “water cooler” chatter around the office often includes TV Series and Documentaries that mirror past and present, sentimental TV specials, and media trends that affect us. Read on to see the meaningful media and cultural phenomenons HI staff has been talking about in June:

  1. Featured Analysis: The People vs. O.J. Simpson and O.J.: Made in America 
  2. Zika Virus, the Olympics and Agenda Setting
  3. Shark Week
  4. The Evolution of Broadcast Censorship

Read more

VR: Beyond the Empathy Machine

1*yqFMHVr3ncDBQOG6Rd2Uew

Virtual reality is in the eye of the beholder. Filmmaker and entrepreneur Chris Milk optimistically calls VR an “empathy machine,” while the Wall Street Journal warns that VR’s “hype is about to come crashing down.” Across this spectrum of opinion, the only thing everyone can agree on is that it’s a newly accessible medium offering novel experiences for audiences.

Do these experiences lead to empathy? If you define empathy as, “knowing and feeling what another person knows and feels,” of course some VR stories do. So do some books, radio programs, and movies – each in their own way. Saying VR is an empathy machine is like saying a paintbrush is an art machine. There are myriad ways to generate aspects of empathy with media, just like there are infinite ways to create forms of art with tools.

Read more

Meaningful Media Now

MDOT-SVU-S17-NoLogo

As an organization interested in media impact, our “water cooler” chatter around the office often includes TV series that shocked us and exposed us to something new, or video games we were impressed by. Read on to see the meaningful media HI staff has been talking about in May:

  1. Featuring: Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Bates Motel
  4. Rust

Read more

Ben Robbins and the Making of Madoff

Madoff-e1454435578174
Source: WWayTv3.com

 

“This isn’t a financial story – this is a psychological story.”

This was the strategy behind Madoff, the ABC mini-series written by Ben Robbins that tells the tale of Bernie Madoff, the stockbroker associated with one of the largest Ponzi schemes and fraud convictions in American history. Ben joined Harmony Institute to discuss the production, the developing relationship between news and entertainment, and what captivates viewers.

Read more

Meaningful Media Now: Tribeca Edition

20160416_151634 (1)

As an organization interested in media impact, our “water cooler” chatter around the office took a different turn for April. This month, we ventured out to the Tribeca Film Festival. Many associate the festival with film, so we decided to spend our time exploring the lesser known but equally interesting side — the stories told through the interactive, immersive and virtual reality exhibits. Read on to see some of the meaningful media HI staff has been talking about from Tribeca in these emerging forms of storytelling:

Read more