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Media that Matter

Media that Matter

Media That Matter, an ongoing SOC Signature Series of social impact films, includes a wide range of groundbreaking documentary films on the major issues of our time. Aimed at social engagement, Media that Matter events feature appearances by award-winning filmmakers and discussion with content experts and activists.

Screening events and moderated panels are held in SOC's digital Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater and in its Media Innovation Lab. Ongoing. Media that Matter programs are generally scheduled on Wednesdays, 7:00 –9:00 p.m. 

If you would like to request a disability-related accommodation or accessibility information, please contact Lydia Schindler at LydiaS@american.edu.

All screenings and panel discussions are open to the public and free of charge. First come, first seated. Light refreshments may be served.
 

Previous Events

Gael Garcia Bernal

WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL?

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2017

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

6:00 pm Reception; 6:30 pm Program

Filmmaker Gael Garcia Bernal and Marc Silver explores the journey of a Central American migrant worker who died trying to cross into the United States. It raises the questions "Who was Dayani Cristal? What brought him here? How did he die?"

Sponsored by School of Communication, AFL-CIO, and DC Labor Fest

 

Arial view of Pentagon

THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

Film screening followed by a panel discussion moderated by Alice Hill, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, with American University professors Paul Wapner, SIS, and Kiho Kim, CAS; and Franceso Femia, co-founder and president, Center for Climate and Security. The Hurt Locker meets An Inconvenient Truth, The Age of Consequences investigates how climate change impacts resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability. Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, extreme weather, drought, and sea-level rise function as accelerants of instability and catalysts for conflict. Left unchecked, these threats and risks will continue to grow in scale and frequency, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century.

Sponsored by: College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Public Affairs and School of International Service

http://www.ageofconsequences.com

 

Stanley Nelson

AN EVENING WITH STANLEY NELSON

TUESDAY, MARCH 7 at 6:30 pm

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

6:00 pm -- Reception

6:30 pm -- Program

Stanley Nelson, award-winning documentary filmmaker, shares his experiences of race and racial identity through the films he has made over the past two decades (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, Sweet Honey in the Rock, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution). Film clips screening and discussion followed by Q&A with students.

Sponsored by: School of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences and Center for Diversity and Inclusion .

CAS Department of History 2017 Gary L. Braithwaite Memorial Lecture Event

 

Man tickling foot of a giant

TICKLING GIANTS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2017

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

6:30 pm - Reception

7:00 pm - Program

Film screening and moderated discussion with Professor Sarah Menke-Fish. Filmmaker Sara Taksler documents the work of Dr. Bassem Youssef on his efforts following the Arab Spring and in need of a laugh. Dr. Bassem Youssef left his career as a heart surgeon in Cairo to try his hand at comedy. Youssef incorporated his observations from Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" into "Al Bernameg," the first political satire show in Egypt. Thirty million viewers watched each episode.

Sponsored by: Film and Media Arts Division, School of Communication

Film trailer here

 

Black and white photo of people in background of title Hate Rising

HATE RISING

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 AT 6:30 pm

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

6:30 pm -- Film Screening and Panel Discussion with Director Catherine Tambini and Cinematographer Larry Engel

6:00 pm -- Reception

This timely documentary was inspired by the incident in which journalist Jorge Ramos was ejected from a Donald Trump press conference and told by the then-presidential candidate to "go back to Univision." The Mexican-born Ramos examines how hate is contagious and sits down with the white nationalists who are emboldened by the Trump campaign. An intimate portrait of our country emerges offering firsthand accounts of Americans who have been targets of hate in various parts of the country and highlights the simmering anger just beneath the surface. "Hate Rising" is directed by Catherine Tambini and produced in conjunction with FUSION and Univision Story House.

Sponsored by: School of Communication, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion

 

President Obama Jumping in White House

PERSONALIZING THE PRESIDENCY: DIGITAL MEDIA AND THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 AT 7:00 pm

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

7:00 pm - Panel Presentation

6:30 pm - Reception

Three former White House media staffers tell the stories behind the photos, videos and other visual media that helped shape Obama's image. Audience Q&A to follow. Panelists include Amanda Lucidon, former official White House photographer, Adam Garber, former video director for the White House Office of Digital Strategy; and Kodiak Starr, former creative director for the White House Office of Digital Strategy.

Sponsored by: Student media groups, School of Communication

 

Basketball players holding trophy

ON THE MAP: WRITING ISRAEL'S STORY WITH DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER DANI MENKIN

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7 AT 7:30 pm

MALSI DOYLE AND MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

Dani Menkin, author, filmmaker, and two-time Israeli Academy Award winner will show clips and speak about the process of writing and creating his newest documentary, ON THE MAP, the uplifting, inspiring and true story of Maccabi Tel Aviv's 1977 European Championship. The film recounts how an Israeli basketball team gave hope to a nation in a time when Israel was still suffering the heartache of the 1972 Olympic massacre, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv. Dani Menkin is the first speaker in the Sondra D. and Howard Bender Israeli Writer Series, which will focus this spring on the "New Generation of Israeli Writers." Future speakers include Assaf Gavron (Feb. 23) and Dorit Rabinyan (April 20).

RSVP here

Sponsored by: Center for Israel Studies, SOC Film & Media Arts Division, and Center for Media and Social Impact

 

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

BEING MORTAL: Medicine and What Matters in the End

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1 AT 6:00 pm

MALSI DOYLE & MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

6:00 pm - Documentary followed by panel discussion about medicine and end of life care

Panel moderated by Tina Ulrich, physician and AU professor. Panelists: Mark Schaefer, AU Chaplain, Niel Rosen, bioethicist and professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine; and Carol G Kaplun, Nurse Care Manager, Iona Senior Services. FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. In conjunction with Gawande's new book, "Being Mortal", the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors -- himself included -- are often remarkably untrained, illsuited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.

Sponsored by: School of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences Department of Health Studies

 

Media That Matter, Content Rules, News Feeds, Algorithms, Moderation, Ethics

CONTENT RULES?! NEWS FEEDS, ALGORITHMS, MODERATION AND ETHICS

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18

6:00 pm Program

7:30 pm Reception

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater

The controversy over the possible influence of fake news on the US presidential election has drawn attention to the role of algorithmically mediated content platforms like Facebook and Reddit in shaping public opinion and behavior. The School of Communication is hosting an expert panel discussion addressing the technical, policy, and ethical questions raised by these algorithmically negotiated spaces.

Co-sponsored with the Internet Society's New York and DC chapters and the Internet Governance Lab at American University. 

 

STORIES OF STRENGTH

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14

7:00 pm Program

6:30 pm Reception

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater

First-person short digital films by Washingtonians in partnership with OneDC working for racial and economic equity in DC neighborhoods and DC Doors providing comprehensive services for Latino families and single women facing a housing crisis. In collaboration with the students of Prof. Nina Shapiro-Perl's Community Documentary Course.

Co-sponsored with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Media and Social Impact.

 

Image of Len Downie

FROM CRONKITE TO TRUMP: JOURNALISM'S EVOLUTION

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2

7:00 pm Program

6:30 pm Reception

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater

A conversation about how we cover news with Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, and Charles Lewis, executive editor of The Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Co-sponsored by the Investigative Reporting Workshop.
 

Community Voice Project Image

COMMUNITY VOICE PROJECT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26

7:00 pm Program

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater

Community Voice Facilitators at the Center for Media and Social Impact worked with community storytellers to help them create short autobiographical films about key moments in their lives called "digital stories." The community storytellers became first-time filmmakers speaking about transformational moments in their lives -- in their own words, in their own voice through their own photographs and images. Drawing on people's lived experiences of poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, ethnic discrimination, sexual assault, drugs and homelessness -- all seemingly quite different, the digital stories captured the finest aspects of our humanity even when those aspects are often memories filled with pain and suffering that arises from alienation and aloneness.

Co-sponsored by Center for Media and Social Impact and Community Voice Project

 

Image of Fly By Light

FLY BY LIGHT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19

7:00 pm Film Screening (1993, 83 minutes)

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater

Directed by Ellie Walton, this documentary examines what happens when a group of inner-city teens based out of Washington, DC are taken to West Virginia for a peace education program. Their lives, of course, are changed dramatically, but how will this experience affect their lives upon returning home?

Co-sponsored by Center for Media and Social Impact and Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

 

Image of Enemies of the People

ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12

7:00 pm Film Screening (2009, 94 minutes)

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater

"Enemies of the People" is a 2009 British/Cambodian documentary film written and directed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath. The film depicts the 10-year quest of co-director Sambath to find truth and closure in the Killing Fields of Cambodia. An estimated 1.7 mission Cambodians died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, a radical communist movement led by Pol Pot. Among the victims were Thet Sambath's mother, father and brother. He says he did not understand why the Khmer Rouge unleashed such violence on their compatriots. In 1999, he decided to seek confessions and explanations from former Khmer Rouge officials at all levels. The film features interviews by former Khmer Rouge officials from the most senior surviving leader to the men and women who slit throats during the regime of Democratic Kampuchea between 1975 and 1979.



Stand With Congo Image

STAND WITH CONGO'S WHITE ELEPHANT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5

7:00 pm Film Screening (2015, 90 minutes)

MALSI DOYLE/MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

The #StandWithCongo campaign includes activists, filmmakers, political experts, and community organizers in an effort to solve conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Director Mike Ramsdell's When Elephants Fight was created in partnership with the #StandWithCongo campaign. The film highlights conflict in the Congo region and how human rights have been affected in the aftermath.

Co-sponsored by: Center for Media and Social Impact and Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law

 

Image of Frontline: Business of Disaster

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING WORKSHOP: FRONTLINE'S BUSINESS OF DISASTER

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

6:30 pm Reception
7 pm Program

MALSI DOYLE/MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop producers and investigative reporters Rick Young, Emma Schwartz and Fritz Kramer, along with NPR's Laura Sullivan, discuss the FRONTLINE documentary "Business of Disaster," which examines why thousands of residents of New Jersey and New York are still struggling three years after Superstorm Sandy devastated their communities. The IRW-FRONTLINE-NPR investigative team did a deep dive into the nation's disaster recovery system, revealing major problems with the flood insurance program and efforts to build more resilient communities.


Thank You for Playing Documentary Image

THANK YOU FOR PLAYING 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 at 6 pm

MALSI DOYLE/MICHAEL FORMAN THEATER

Documentary film screening of Thank You for Playing followed by a moderated interview by Professor Lindsay Grace with filmmakers David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall via Skype. Thank You for Playing premiered at the 2015 Tribecca Film Festival and looks at the journey of Amy and Ryan Green as they create "That Dragon, Cancer," a video grame about raising their son who was diagnosed with brain cancer. The documentary is described as "the most memorable documentary about video game production ever made" by Ars Technica and "touching, funny, and strangely essential" by the Hollywood Reporter.

Co-sponsored by American University Game Lab.

http://www.thankyouforplayingfilm.com; Based on video game -- http://www.thatdragoncancer.com

Image of Movie Perfect Strangers

PERFECT STRANGERS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30 at 7:00 p.m.

DOYLE/FORMAN THEATER

Award-winning documentarian Jan Krawitz screens and discusses her latest project, Perfect Strangers, which tells the story of two unique and engaging characters. One is Ellie, who embarks on an unpredictable journey of twists and turns, determined to give away one of her kidneys. 500 miles away, Kathy endures nightly dialysis and loses hope of receiving a transplant until Ellie reads her profile on an online website. Both women face unexpected challenges as their parallel stories unfold over the course of four years. Perfect Strangers raises questions about what motivates an individual towards this act of compassion. Why are we unnerved by the idea of such an extreme gift?

Co-sponsored by: Center for Media and Social Impact


Image of Alycia Burton Steele

"DELTA JEWELS" STORIES AND PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS BY ALYSIA BURTON STEELE (PHOTO STORIES THAT MATTER)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16

7:00 p.m. - Program 
8:00 p.m. - Reception

DOYLE/FORMAN THEATER

Photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele showcases her new book, "Delta Jewels" -- a series of digital stories and photos of elderly women from the Mississippi Delta who have shared their personal experiences during the civil rights movement. Feeling the emotional pull to reconnect to her grandmother's wisdom and her African-American heritage, Alysia Burton Steele embarked on a personal mission to record oral histories of women from her grandmother's generation. She complements the rich narrative with poignant photographs illuminating her appreciation of each of the precious Jewels, who have endured inequality, injustice and heart-wrenching tragedy. These inspiring portraits reflect the faces of love and triumph that inspire others to hold on to their faith and courage in the most challenging circumstances.

Co-sponsored by: the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Center for Media and Social Impact and the Frederick Douglas Scholars Program.


Cover shot of movie Spotlight

"SPOTLIGHT" FILM CLIPS AND DISCUSSION WITH MARTIN BARON

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24

6:15 p.m. - Program
7:30 p.m. - Light Refreshments

DOYLE/FORMAN THEATER

"Spotlight" movie clips and behind-the-scenes interview and discussion with Martin Baron, the Washington Post executive editor who is portrayed in the film. "Spotlight" is being hailed as one of the best movies of the year for its depiction of the investigation of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal by the Boston Globe. Baron--who was the editor of the Globe and spearheaded the investigation--was directly involved in the making of the film, which raises important issues across media. SOC Journalism Professor Jane Hall will moderate the interview and student Q&A.

Co-sponsored by: Investigative Reporting Workshop and the Center for Media and Social Impact.


Book Image of Dark Money

“DARK MONEY” BY INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST JANE MAYER (BOOKS THAT MATTER)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 at 6:30 pm

6:30 - 7:30 pm – Program
6:00 pm – Light Refreshments

DOYLE/FORMAN THEATER

Chuck Lewis, journalism professor and Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop, interviews Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker, about her recent book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the Rise of the Radical Right. An award winning journalist, Mayer has written about money in politics, government prosecution of whistleblowers, and the U,S, Predator drone program. In this latest book, Mayer describes how the Koch Brothers and other billionaires have leveraged their business empires to shape the political system and their right wing agenda. 

Co-sponsored by: The Investigative Reporting Workshop



Book Cover
Gasping for Air

"GASPING FOR AIR" BOOK READING (READINGS THAT MATTER)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3

6:30 - 8:00 p.m. - Program
6:00 p.m. - Reception

DOYLE/FORMAN THEATER

In recognition of Black History Month, Gasping for Air: Letters About Race and Social Injustices in America presents student readings about race, violence and loss in the black, Native American, Latino, Asian American and white communities. Last Fall, School of Communication B.A. and M.A. students in the Race, Ethnic and Community Reporting class researched and wrote letters to those who lost their lives in racially charged killings. Starting with the Black Lives Matter movement, the students' writings evolved to include shooting victims of all races, including police officers, students' own family members, and even perpetrators of racial violence. The letters are collected in this self-published collection. Students will read from their letters and the audience is invited to participate in a facilitated discussion about race relations in the United States, as well as on the AU campus.

Co-sponsored by: the Center for Diversity and Inclusion