Film With A Social Conscience Documentary Awards

Movies can entertain, inspire, and educate, and this year's festival certainly includes films of all types. In an effort to recognize films, directors, and topics of pertinent social interest, The Fund for Santa Barbara partners with SBIFF to celebrate documentary film that makes a valuable contribution to advancing social justice. This year marks the tenth anniversary that films with a message have been so recognized and lauded.
The Fund gathers a group of committed judges-this year they're watching more than twenty-four hours of film to select the award-winner. Andrew Davis, Phyllis de Picciotto, Dr. Celine Parrenas Shimizu, Michaela Simpson, Dr. Janet Walker, and Dr. Charles Wolfe have all been watching the slate of seventeen films nominated this year. It's a record year, which says something about the social consciousness of documentary film.
The variety of selections represents stories, trials, heartbreak, and social consciousness from around the world. Films on this year's list follow a radical animal rights activist: Paul Watson, Captain of the Sea Shepherd, in <Pirate for the Sea. Megamall documents the effects of a mall on suburbia and the intersection of power and politics. Everest: A Climb for Peace is more than a film, it's a peace mission captured on camera. Yes Madam, Sir tells the story of the unflinchingly revolutionary Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service. Helen Mirrennarrated the film, because as she said, everyone needs to know about Bedi and her life's work.
Former Fund award-winner
Renee Bergan is one of the directors of Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy. Until midnight tonight, vote for Poto Mitan to win $10,000 through Ideablob. Go to the website at Poto Mitan Web site.
This year's nominees include:
Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, Everest: A Climb for Peace, La Naci~A^3n Mapuce, Los Demonios de Eden, Los Herederos, Megamall, Milking theRhino, Pirate for the Sea, Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Rescuing Emmanuel, The Oasis, The Road to Fallujah, They Killed Sister Dorothy, War Against the Weak, and Yes Madam, Sir.
If you've missed these so far, there are some added screenings this weekend. For up to date screenings for films under consideration for the 2009 Social Justice Award for Documentary Film, visit Fund for Santa Barbara Film Schedule.
On Sunday night at the final ceremony, the award will be announced and the winning filmmaker will receive a $2,500 cash prize. After the festival, fhe Fund will keep copies of all the documentaries for special screenings and events. Contact them for more details at Fund for Santa Barbara.
Check out the rest of the weekend's schedule at Schedule.
For more of our Film Fest 2009 blog, go to

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