Our Panel Picks for SXSW 2016

Highlighting the best panels on video, storytelling, and advocacy for SXSW 2016

by: Amy Zhang, Intern

We’re thrilled to propose a panel for South by South West (SXSW), a ten day gathering of the brightest minds in music, film, technology, and, as you’ll see below, human rights and social justice movements.

Our panel features Ed Kashi (photojournalist), Molly Crabapple (artist and writer), Hannah McCrea (staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services), and N-Map founder Adam Stofsky. Here’s what we hope to explore:

Today’s criminal justice reform movement tends to advocate in broad terms, using hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter and #stopmassincarceration to raise public awareness of critical issues. However, advocates can’t ask legislators to simply “end mass incarceration”—we need a more targeted approach to reform entrenched policies. Our session will explore how advocates, visual storytellers, lawyers, and artists can combine expertise to unravel the web of policies and practices that create an inherently unfair criminal justice system for poor people and minorities. Using recent innovative case studies, we’ll consider social impact storytelling strategies with the potential for broad scale.

But to make this panel a reality, we need your help. Please vote for our panel here on the SXSW panelpicker website! Don’t be shy to share on Twitter or Facebook either. And remember: voting closes September 4th.

Vote for our SXSW Panel

We’re also looking forward to the other panels examining storytelling, advocacy, and media. Here are a few of our favorites—be sure to give them a thumbs up too!

  1. Live! Camera! Action!: Livestreaming that Matters  – Livestreamed video is now center-stage. Activists have used live video for a number of years – in Occupy, Brazil, Gezi Park and elsewhere. And now the tools are available to many more people via Periscope, Meerkat and others. What’s the “secret sauce” of livestreamed video for social good? What are the experiences of how it changes situations and reveals truth? What are the dangers? And what comes next as live blends with VR and immersive, ubiquitous mobile and the on-demand economy? Through vivid stories, concrete tips and provocative speculations on the future, come explore how the experience of “being there,” and participating alongside frontline activists, translates into social change.
  1. Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.49.18 AMHumanity Rising: Storytelling to End Injustice – Join Televised Revolution as they talk with filmmakers producing from the frontlines to tell their own story in a powerful and important transformation of our understanding of people, places, and moments in time to fight to end oppression and violence and describe the stories of humanity rising in movements for justice all over the world. The panelist will discuss the unique and critical challenges and opportunities of telling your own stories in this industry and how we as an industry can support filmmaking from the frontlines as a transformative tool for justice.
  1. New Partnerships in Digital Storytelling – Filmmakers and journalists each play a vital role in informing the American public. While journalists excel at breaking news, filmmakers illuminate the personal, human stories behind the headlines. The documentary film nonprofit Independent Television Service, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and others aim to combine exceptional filmmaking with in-depth journalism to engage audiences in the important social issues of our time. At this panel, major players in the dynamic media landscape will discuss the challenges and opportunities of this new model of in-depth storytelling, and provide insight on how journalists and filmmakers can work together to strike up critical conversations.
  1. Social Media: Five Years After the Arab Spring – Five years ago thousands took to social media in the Middle East to demand democratic reform. The digital activism of the Arab SprScreen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.57.03 AMing sparked a movement felt around the world. In turn, repressive governments began using social media as a weapon against freedom of speech. Since then oppressive regimes have wielded the power of the Internet to target activists, political dissenters, and minority communities, including LGBT people. In this session, activists and leading experts will explore what role technology companies and governments can play in protecting rights and free expression online.
  1. Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.58.01 AMEmbedding Human Rights in the Internet – The Internet is an incredible resource and tool for human rights activists worldwide. Yet the open Internet needs engaged technologists, developers, designers, and engineers to ensure the advancement of freedom of expression and privacy remain embedded at all of its layers—from core protocols to applications and services. In this session, we will address how technical protocol standards can be used to build human rights into the core structure of the Internet, how applications can be built on top of this foundation, and how activists are using these tools to advance their cause.
  1. Still Moving: Where Photography and Film Interact – TScreen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.00.30 AMhe barriers between what constitutes a still image and a moving one are shifting. How are photogenic artists animating their images? Are films becoming more still? Coming from a broad documentary tradition, this panel of artists and producers will discuss how stills based artists are experimenting with film, both editorially and in the gallery, what lessons they can learn from filmmaking traditions and what filmmakers can learn from stills.

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