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MMP Welcomes New Manager, Melinda Raebyne!

by April 29, 2022 0

This is an exciting time for MMP.  We are delighted to welcome Tacoma-based filmmaker Melinda Raebyne to lead the network into its third decade of using films to inform, inspire and engage communities to take on the critical and urgent issues we face as a society. 

Ren Dietel, MMP Board Chair, said, “We needed someone who embraced the vision and values of MMP. Melinda’s talents and experience in her film and marketing career prepare her to build on the online success of our network during Covid and support our return to in-person and hybrid events. Her feature film on Seattle’s homeless camps and work with film and arts organizations demonstrate her passion for impactful and artful filmmaking that can build community and make a difference. Melinda joins at an important time for our organization. We believe that she will be able to help us expand both in Washington State and across the country.”

Melinda Raebyne said, “I am excited to join the thriving network of MMP volunteers and support its expanded reach and impact.  The power of the conversations MMP creates are more important than ever. How MMP elevates public dialogue and equips activists for advocacy and movement building will be my focus.  MMP has an important role to play in our democracy.” 

Melinda will be working part-time for the Meaningful Movies Project while continuing her work as an independent filmmaker. 


Melinda’s debut feature film, STORIES OF US: CAMP SECOND CHANCE was selected for the Seattle International Film Festival in 2019. “Melinda’s art is inspired by the saying “great art doesn’t just capture the moment, it allows you to feel it.” Motivated from her own personal experiences, and the resilience of the human spirit, she uses her films to examine important social injustices while giving a voice to those in our society who’ve become invisible.Director Melinda Raebyne embeds herself at one of Seattle’s homeless camps over one winter, challenging public ignorance and humanizing a population that locals would rather neglect.”  (From the SIFF program.) In 2020, Melinda won the Meaningful Movies Project Turner Legacy Award for this film. STORIES OF US: CAMP SECOND CHANCE was also awarded the Audience Choice Award at the 2019 Tacoma Film Festival.

In 2018, Melinda was selected as one of 13 grassroots leaders to participate in the Jane Fellowship Program supported by the Russell Family Foundation. Melinda currently serves on the board for Washington Lawyers For the Arts and is a member of the Washington Filmworks Leadership Council. She is a 2022 recipient of Firelight Media’s Spark Fund which provides support for established independent BIPOC documentary filmmakers.    


For 19 years, in some 30 venues, volunteers across Washington State (and beyond) have organized screenings and facilitated discussions using hundreds of social justice films to inform and inspire social advocacy.  

With Covid, the network expanded its programs and participants online.  Going forward Melinda will help the venues get back to in-person events while sustaining the reach and impact of online and hybrid programs.

Thus far, in 2022, our local groups have produced more than 25 events. Some highlights include seven groups co-hosting an Earth Day screening and panel discussion for Story of Plastic with more than 600 online participants; multiple screenings of Mission Joy, including one which was organized by the Episcopal Church of Western Washington’s Meaningful Movies’ group for 445 online participants; the Spokane group’s production of Best of the Fest with the Social Justice Film Festival showcasing 15 films over 3 days both in theater and online; and our High School Intern team producing their third event with the film, Our Bodies, Our Doctors. 

Volunteers are the heart and soul of MMP and include a new technology team to support our local groups, a film review team to recommend documentaries to the network, and a social media team.  And, most importantly, the leaders of our local groups who are responding to the needs that they see in their communities and are producing events to educate people about important issues, provide a platform for local activists and nonprofits, and support action.

Despite the challenges of Covid19, the Meaningful Movies Project remained strong in 2021. Twenty one groups organized 74 events for over 6,500 attendees. Because almost all of the events in 2021 were online, people from across the country and around the world were able to participate.

In a time of physical isolation, the work of the Meaningful Movies Project was needed more than ever. People needed to have opportunities to learn about the most critical issues of the day – issues that aren’t always addressed in mainstream media. People needed to be provided with ways to take action on the issues that are most important to them. And people needed to know that they are not alone – and that there are people who care about the issues they care about, who want to change the world for the better, who want to support peace and justice and who are striving to build a beloved community.

We are proud that, with the support of our Meaningful Movies Project hub organization, our volunteer-run groups were able to survive and thrive during a time of deep uncertainty in our nation. In 2021, we have had new groups start in Hawaii, Virginia and California and we continue to have inquiries from people interested in forming new Meaningful Movies groups in Washington State and elsewhere in the U.S. We are also proud of the relationships that we continue to build with important partners such as Fix Democracy First, ACLU of Washington and the Social Justice Film Institute. We were thrilled to co-present the 2021 Social Justice Film Festival and hope to do so again in 2022. We are also pleased to report that one of the benefits of pivoting to online events is that more and more Meaningful Movies groups have been able to build relationships with one another and work together to co-host and organize events.

As the news regarding Covid19 gets better, we expect that local Meaningful Movies groups will continue to take advantage of all that they have learned during the past two years and that there will be both online as well as in person events.

How did we do it? How did we pivot online?

At the beginning of 2020, the Meaningful Movies Project was operating as usual and supported 38 in-person events. By March, because of increasingly concerning news about the pandemic, venues began cancelling in-person events. It is a testament to the dedication of our Meaningful Movies volunteers and venue leaders that by March 24, as many non-profits were grappling with how to fulfill their missions in the midst of the pandemic, Meaningful Movies venues were shifting to online events. On March 24th, the Mt Baker Meaningful Movies venue did their first online screening and discussion event for the film “Cooked: Survival By Zipcode.” This event provided attendees with an opportunity to learn about and discuss the ways in which systemic racism impacts who dies and who survives natural disasters. This was an especially important topic given the unequal and dangerous effects of Covid19 on communities of color.

By April, the Meaningful Movies Project was organizing an online support group for volunteers and more Meaningful Movies groups were shifting to online events. Most of these early events allowed viewers to watch films ahead of time and then join a Zoom meeting with ‘breakout rooms’ for people to discuss the films in small groups. As we have evolved over the months, groups have found a variety of ways to hold successful Meaningful Movies events.  With the support of Meaningful Movies Project staff, most have used the Zoom platform for events. Some venues have used the Zoom webinar feature to stream films online; host panel discussions with activists and representatives from non-profits; and provide an opportunity for audience participation through chat and Q & A.   Other venues have continued to use the Zoom meeting feature and breakout rooms for a more intimate and direct experience with attendees. In November 2020, The Meaningful Movies Project signed an agreement with ITVS and Independent Lens which also allows local Meaningful Movies groups to screen Indie Lens Pop Up movies using the OVEE platform.

No matter the online platform, or the structure of the event, all Meaningful Movies gatherings continue to use the power of social justice documentary film to educate audiences about important issues, help people find ways to take action, and build community.

Contact info: 

Meaningful Movies Project

P.O. Box 31005, Seattle, WA 98103



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