SOURCE: Active Voice

Active Voice

Active Voice

February 28, 2011 11:30 ET

Small Town Residents Inspire Multimedia Campaign

Active Voice Launches Shelbyville Multimedia to Spark Community Building Among Long-Term Residents, Immigrants and Refugees in the U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - February 28, 2011) - What happens when native-born Americans, Mexican immigrants and Somali refugees become neighbors in a traditional American town? Today Active Voice launched a new character-driven website that follows this modern-day picture of immigration through the stories of a handful of townspeople in rural Tennessee as they make sense of our changing cultural landscape, and reinvent the notion of "Southern hospitality."

Not long ago, talk about "newcomers" rarely traveled beyond the barbershop, the kitchen table or the local radio station. But now, thanks to collaborations between civic-minded residents and tech-savvy media makers, these questions can be shared with people in changing communities everywhere. Who's living in my community and why are they here? Why has immigration been such a steady force in this country? What does this mean in economically shaky times?

Inspired by the candid people featured in the 2010 documentary Welcome to Shelbyville (directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder and executive produced by BeCause Foundation in association with Active Voice), Active Voice's Shelbyville Multimedia shines a light on the challenges and opportunities of our increasingly global communities through a range of story-based resources, such as:

  • An interactive websitewww.ShelbyvilleMultimedia.org, where visitors can meet residents like Ms. Luci, a much-loved ESL teacher; Pastor Stephen, a local Presbyterian minister; Miss Marilyn, whose memories of the civil rights movement guide her to this day; and Hawo, a former nurse from Somalia who now calls Shelbyville her home.

  • Webisodes that capture the stories of these neighbors in their own words, and the intimate, sometimes awkward steps of getting to know each other.

  • "Welcoming Stories," a series of short web-based memoirs -- created in association with First Person American -- from people who remember a special person who helped them when they first came to America. Contributors can submit their own videos, photos or written stories on Tumblr or Facebook

"There are currently 37 million immigrants who are making new lives in the United States. While pundits and lawmakers boil down the immigration issue to data points and politics, Shelbyville Multimedia will lift up what ordinary people are doing to help their new neighbors integrate into community life, even in extremely tough times."

-- Ellen Schneider, Executive Director, Active Voice

"Shelbyville Multimedia carries the message of shared humanity and reminds us that we all come from somewhere. The history of immigration in this country is fraught with contrasts. Today's struggles with immigrants are no different than struggles in the past. Shelbyville Multimedia reminds us of that and offers tools and solutions to change history, embrace difference and remember our past."

-- Erin Sorenson, Chief Programs Officer, BeCause Foundation

"Shelbyville is a small town, but a big story. The film is such a perfect microcosm of the national and global challenges we face... Now Shelbyville Multimedia takes this to a whole new level by creating a virtual Shelbyville, one in which all of us from across the globe are community members, sitting across the table from each other... Shelbyville Multimedia is a great space for conversation to take place."

-- Fabio Lomelino, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service

About Active Voice
Active Voice uses film, television and multimedia to spark social change from grassroots to grass tops. Our team of strategic communications specialists works with mediamakers, funders, advocates and thought leaders to put a human face on the issues of our times. We frame and test messages, develop national and local partnerships, plan and execute high profile events, repurpose digital content, produce educational resources and consult with industry leaders. Since our inception in 2001, Active Voice has built a diverse portfolio of story-based campaigns focusing on issues including immigration, criminal justice, healthcare and sustainability.

About BeCause Foundation
BeCause Foundation ignites social change through the powerful fusion of documentary filmmaking and creative outreach and engagement projects. BeCause films tell moving stories about individuals, organizations and communities who, with compassion and determination, are finding innovative solutions to complex social problems. By implementing engagement campaigns and coalition building around the films, BeCause Foundation helps transform these solutions into broad-based movements for social change.

About the Director/Producer
Kim A. Snyder is an award-winning filmmaker with over a dozen shorts and two feature documentaries. Welcome to Shelbyville is a recipient of a 2010 Gucci-Tribeca Documentary Fund grant, an official selection of the U.S. State Department's 2010 American Documentary Showcase, and will air nationally on PBS's Independent Lens on May 24, 2011. Over the past four years, Kim worked with the BeCause Foundation to direct and produce four documentaries, which have won numerous awards.

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