Protecting speech in the internet age

Anyone concerned about freedom of speech and information on the internet will find these videos interesting. Drawing from the world’s best legislative examples protecting users’ rights and championing transparency, Iceland is creating a template for new legislation that will protect truth-telling and the free flow of information—reflecting the new realities of the digital age. Worth viewing, and just a small taste of the cutting edge technology and visionary thought we’ll explore in my feature-length documentary film The Mouse That Roared.

Find out more at:

Introductory video on IMMI

IMMI website

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2012…

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2012, get to know Birgitta Jonsdottir, “the most dangerous woman on the internet”….

From Judith Ehrlich, the Academy Award nominated director of “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” comes a new documentary (in production) about global information “hacktivists” fighting for free speech in the digital age.

“Like” our Facebook page for “THE MOUSE THAT ROARED” documentary feature film, and watch our latest clip. (And all you Dangerous Women—and men—out there, pass it on… the Revolution is just a click away!)

Student documentary works to get the word out on bailout beneficiary behavior

I teach Documentary Production and History at Berkeley City College. On Valentines Day  I worked with my students to put together a short doc on the Peralta College District movement to fight back against an unfair deal with Morgan Stanley, a financial corporation that received an astounding $107 Billion in bailout funds from the federal government. Peralta’s college system is being held to interest rates that are way out of line with the current market. That might be fair business practice (they did sign an agreement to lock in what seemed like a good rate at the time of the deal) but it doesn’t make sense when Morgan Stanley got such a generous bailout from Uncle Sam to address their corporate woes.
The students are raising the question of whether the federal funds were best spent paying out massive bonuses to Morgan Stanley’s employees (who were able to carry on business as usual thanks to taxpayer money) or whether the best stewardship of tax dollars would be to pass them through to programs that ultimately provide services such as the education offered at Peralta. (Thanks to this lopsided financial arrangement, the
Peralta schools are being forced to cut 230 classes per semester in order to fund interest to Morgan.).
It reminded me of the roots of “The Mouse that Roared,”   i.e. Icelanders refusing to pay back the onerous debt incurred by unethical banking practices kept secret from the people of Iceland. The collapse of their economy lead to a ‘Pots and Pans revolution” in the streets of Reykjavik, a new  government committed to great transparency and
now Iceland is leading the  world in promoting  internet freedom, with legislation called the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, IMMI.
See for more information.
Click here to see the very heartful student video produced on Valentines Day to pressure Morgan Stanley.  It’s called “Morgan Stanley, You’re Breaking My Heart”

Twitter ordered to hand over Wikileaks supporters info

Twitter ordered to sing like a bird and journalists to stop

January 6, 2012  Twitter has lost the battle and ordered to cough up the account information of several WikiLeaks supporters.’ Twitter was served a subpoena ordered by a federal court judge on Wednesday. At the same time the DHS has announced a Media Monitoring Initiative, guaranteed to censor news media, a lose-lose for information providers and those who seek it.

Funding from Sundance!

29 Documentaries (including THE MOUSE THAT ROARED!) Receive $582,000 In Grants From Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the 29 feature-length documentary films that will receive $582,000 in grants from the Documentary Film Program, including two films selected to receive grants from the Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute and one Time Warner Foundation Fellow. The DFP celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012 and since its inception has awarded grants to more than 300 documentary filmmakers in 61 countries.

“For many of these filmmakers, receiving a grant will be just the beginning of our relationship with them,” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. “These filmmakers are also eligible for year-round creative support through our programs, including Creative Labs, Work-in-Progress screenings, and events and activities at the Sundance Creative Producing Summit and Sundance Film Festival. We welcome these filmmakers to our community and look forward to working with them to further support and develop their unique visions.”

Awarding grants is a core activity of Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, which provides year-round creative support to nonfiction filmmakers globally. Proposals are accepted twice a year, and submissions are reviewed by a jury of creative film professionals and human rights experts, based on their approach to storytelling, artistic treatment and innovation, subject relevance and potential for social engagement. Visit beginning in January for more information about the Spring 2012 round of funding from the DFP.

Full release here:  2011-11-22 DFP Grantees Fall 2011 News Release