RootsCamp Impact Film Series

This weekend, Tribeca Film Institute and Picture Motion have teamed up to co-present the first ever Impact Film Series at RootsCamp — a project of the New Organizing Institute. An “unconference” deemed as one of the most important events in progressive organizing — the RootsCamp agenda is driven by the people who attend.

The Impact Film Series

Film and story have long had the power to reach new audiences, activate the masses, and inspire social change. In recent years film has become a vital component in holding both governments and corporations accountable. From The Invisible War exposing the epidemic of military sexual assault, to Blackfish crippling SeaWorld’s bottom line, and Katie Couric outing the sugar industry’s morbid antics in her documentary Fed Up; we have proof that film can make a real — and measurable — difference when it comes to influencing policy and affecting consumer behavior.

The unique Impact Film Series, which will demonstrate the power of film, story, and explore the use of imagery in progressive organizing, will unfold in four plenary sessions throughout the weekend. Each session will showcase at least one film project and bring together an expert panel of storytellers, film subjects, and issue advocates to discuss the power of movies to spur movements and help solve some of the most pressing issues of our time.

The RootsCamp Impact Film Series will include the following programming:

Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow — Session 1: SAT 10:30 — 11:30am

Featuring content from The Return, an upcoming film by Katie Galloway, Kelly Duane de la Vega, and Ariella Ben-Dov, this session will address the national epidemic of mass incarceration, its disproportionate effect on African Americans, and what the rest of the country can learn from California’s historical passage of Proposition 36.

Panelists include:

  • Ariella Ben-Dov, Producer, The Return
  • Sabrina Hersi Issa, CEO, Be Bold Media
  • Rebecca Vallas, Associate Director, From Poverty to Prosperity Program, Center for American Progress
  • Menna Demessie, Ph.D., Vice President, Policy Analysis and Research, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

Undocumented and Indivisible —  Session 4: SAT 3:45 — 4:45pm

Featuring a clip from Indivisible, a new documentary by Hilary Linder, both the film and this session will tell the stories of the real people at the heart of our nation’s immigration debate. We’ll hear directly from Dreamers themselves, discuss what the President’s recent executive action means for the future of immigration reform, and how we can use this moment — and this movie — to accelerate change.

Panelists include:

  • Hilary Linder, Filmmaker: Indivisible
  • Maria Fernanda Cabello, Field Organizer, United We Dream
  • Kristian Ramos, Communications and Outreach Director, Media Matters For America

Case Study: The Invisible War, from Movie to Movement — Session 1: SUN 9:45 — 10:45am

This Oscar-nominated film by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick has been lauded by advocates, lawmakers, and journalists for its influence on government policies to reduce the prevalence of rape in the armed forces. A recipient of a Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and Outstanding Investigative Journalism, the film has been credited by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand with inspiring her to create the Military Justice Improvement Act, her historic bill to reduce sexual assault in the military. The Invisible War’s social action campaign — #NotInvisible — has mobilized tens of thousands of grassroots supporters to call on their representatives urging them to prioritize this issue. In this session, you’ll hear about the tools leveraged to catapult this film into a national movement and the practices employed to support the passage of over 30 pieces of legislation.

Panelist include:

  • Heidi Nel, Principal, Picture Motion
  • Rachel Tardiff, Senior Director, FitzGibbon Media
  • Erin Longbottom, Online Outreach Associate, National Women’s Law Center
  • Todd Beeton, Web Director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Sara Outterson, Legislative Counsel, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas

Economic Injustice — Session 3: SUN 2 — 3pm

This session features a clip from Can’t Take it No More! by director Michael Blain and producer Kiley Krakouskas. This new documentary exposes Walmart’s global empire and uplifts stories of the courageous workers demanding fair pay, respect, and economic justice. Alongside issue experts and advocates, we’ll dissect the realities of today’s staggering economic inequality and the stunted growth of America’s working class.

Panelists include:

  • Kiley Kraskouskas, Producer, Can’t Take it No More!
  • Adam Lioz, Counsel and Senior Advisor, Policy & Outreach, Demos
  • Jess Morales, Senior Digital Strategist at AFL-CIO and Freedom Side Digital
  • Kevin Blair, Organizer, United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW)

This year, RootsCamp is taking place at the Washington Convention Center in the heart of Washington, DC. Join us this December 13-14th from 9am-5:30pm at RootsCamp for an unforgettable weekend, packed with innovative sessions, presentations, and keynote speakers. Want to join Picture Motion at RootsCamp? Email to learn more!

New Organizing Institute

New Organizing Institute trains organizers to build and manage effective movements by integrating tried-and-true community organizing, cutting-edge digital strategy, and data-driven decision making. The organization provides free access to revolutionary tools, technologies, and research to help campaigns reach the next level.

The leader in “Engagement Organizing,” NOI believes in the power of technology and grassroots engagement to revitalize democracy — to create a future where Americans can change their communities with their voice, not just change the channel with their remotes. If Engagement Organizing succeeds, it will return us to a better balance of power, where groups of principled citizens actually stand a chance against unprincipled corporations and their cronies in government. In the constant, running battle that is democracy, Engagement Organizing is the people’s new weapon — a weapon wielded by skilled, visionary leaders. NOI invites you to join the growing community of Engagement Organizers, and become the leader you were meant to be.

Tribeca Film Institute®

Tribeca Film Institute® champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. Each year, we identify a diverse and exceptional group of filmmakers and media artists and empower them with funding and other resources to fully realize their stories and connect with audiences.

Through hands-on training and exposure to socially relevant films, our educational programming helps young people gain the media skills necessary to be productive global citizens and creative individuals. We are a year-round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001.


Heidi Nel, Principal – Washington DC, @HeidiNel

As a Principal at Picture Motion, she oversees the DC office and plays a leading role in business development, campaign management and strategic initiatives. Prior to joining Picture Motion, Heidi served as Senior Vice President of Digital at FitzGibbon Media where she created social action campaigns that leveraged technology and storytelling to shape policy and create cultural change.

Alexandra Pearson, Campaign Engagement Manager, @AlexBPearson

Alexandra manages Picture Motion’s screening tours and campaign strategy development for select campaigns. Alexandra received her Masters of Arts in Media, Culture, and Communication from the Steinhardt School at New York University and also holds a Bachelors of Science in Political Communication from Emerson College in Boston.