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MMP Goes Virtual

by November 15, 2020 0

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. At the time of this writing, there have been 73 Meaningful Movies online events during the pandemic. Significantly, the Meaningful Movies Project also c0-hosted the 2020 Social Justice Film Festival and was a sponsor of the First Indigenous Online Film Festival. We continue to work with important partners such as these to build community and support peace and justice. 


In this time of physical isolation, the work of the Meaningful Movies Project is needed more than ever. People need to have opportunities to learn about the most critical issues of the day – issues that aren’t always addressed in mainstream media. People need to be provided with ways to take action on the issues that are most important to them. And people need 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.


Anne Miller, Manager, Meaningful Movies Project

November 15, 2020

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