Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MDGFive.com and "The Parliament of One"

This week is "UN Week" and so it feels timely to share two new film projects in the works related to the United Nations.

In my years of working as a humanitarian aid worker and as a consultant/filmmaker to many UN/NGO agencies, I have found that the general public knows very little about the inner-workings of the United Nations. My two new projects intend to combine my global health background with my work in documentary film and new media to spark dialogue and increase civic engagement with the world body.

"The Parliament of One", which received development funds from the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media and the Community Foundation of Georgia is a new feature-length documentary currently in production that explores the complex but important issue of US-UN relations. We've been interviewing some of the UN's most well-known voices who have very different perspectives on how America should interact with the United Nations.

MDGFive.com is a film and new media site that is in development and is intended to address the UN Millennium Development Goal Number 5 which focuses on improving maternal health. MDGFive.com will provide online resources and tools to increase civic engagement in meeting the goals of MDG Five - reducing maternal mortality and improving women's accesss to reproductive health services. Although an estimated 500,000 women die in pregnancy related complications per year, MDG Five is the only Millennium Development Goal that has not made progress since 2000. A talented team of creative and technical experts are dedicated to changing this.

Both projects moved forward last month when we had the opportunity to attend and film at the United Nations General Assembly.

We are always looking for partners, co-sponsors, investors, etc for the many projects we have in the works. If you're interested in discussing how you can get involved, please feel free to contact me at lisa@governessfilms.com.

Thanks again for your support.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Filming in Northern Uganda

Hello from East Africa!

I've just wrapped the fifth and final shoot for "Youth Zones", a project I'm doing in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Women's Refugee Commission (formerly the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children.)

The film profiles several young people who are doing extraordinary things in their communities after conflict and/or natural disaster. We've filmmed in Liberia, Lebanon, Colombia, New Orleans and just completed the shoot in Northern Uganda, where young people, many of whom were abducted by rebels, have taken charge of combating the AIDS epidemic in their communities.

What has been so amazing about this project is its focus on allowing young people to speak for themselves. The film only showcases youth voices and has no experts or adults talking on behalf of youth.

As educators, health care workers, artists, peace activists and others, ranging from ages 15-25, the young people in the film speak of the challenges they face - in terms of accessing services and overcoming the burdens that fall on the shoulders of youth in crises - and they illustrate how, when given the support and resources they need, can rise above such challenges to build healthier lives and societies.

The film will be accompanied by a new media website as well as advocacy packets and will be largely distributed to donors, policy makers, student activists and others. We anticipate launching the project towards the end of the year.

As always, thanks for your support and interest.