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Making a documentary alone is impactful and eye-opening, but today, filmmakers can reach far more people and make a far bigger impact by running social impact campaigns alongside their promotional strategy for their films. From funding social media campaigns to widening your audience through different communication channels, there's a lot to learn and do. Most importantly, we must ask ourselves as documentarians, what's the heart behind making a documentary that will create change by making a social, political, and cultural impact?

Moderated by this year's environmental/outdoor features competition juror David Holbrooke (The Diplomat), panelists include Skye Fitzgerald (Hunger Ward), Christi Cooper (Youth v. Gov), and Christina Antonakos-Wallace (From Here).

Skye Fitzgerald

Skye Fitzgerald founded Spin Film to bear witness to unfolding crises with the intent to deepen empathy and understanding. He recently completed a trilogy of films on the global refugee crisis. The first, 50 Feet From Syria focused on doctors working on the Syrian border and was voted onto the Oscar® shortlist. The second, Lifeboat, documents Search and Rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy® award. The third, Hunger Ward, explores the impact of the war and famine in Yemen on children, families, and healthcare workers and was also nominated for an Academy Award®. Fitzgerald is an honorary member of SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) for his work with Syrian refugees, a Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater EOU for his documentary work and is a former Fulbright Scholar to SE Asia. Fitzgerald was invited to join the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2019. Before filmmaking, Fitzgerald cut fire-lines as a Hotshot crew-member on a wild-land fire-fighting crew. He continues to ride his bicycle to ruin and hugs two dogs on a daily basis.

Christi Cooper

Producer/Director Christi Cooper is a PhD scientist, documentary filmmaker, and Emmy-award-winning cinematographer. Christi focuses her storytelling and visual narratives on issues of justice and impact by creating human connections to the most pressing issues of our time. She left a successful academic and research career in Europe to obtain an MFA in Science & Natural History Filmmaking (graduate thesis: Contemporary Advocacy Filmmaking: Campaigns for Change). In 2011, Christi co-created Stories of TRUST: Calling for Climate Recovery, a 10-part documentary series featuring youth plaintiffs suing their state governments over climate change. Christi is the inaugural SFFilm/Vulcan Productions Environmental Film Fellow and the first Jacob Burns Film Center Focus on Nature Artist-in-Resident.

Christina Antonakos-Wallace

Christina is a US-based filmmaker and life-long activist whose work has been exhibited in over fifteen countries, and has garnered awards including a Euromedia Award for Culture of Diversity, a MTV Fight For Your Rights Scholarship, a Media that Matters Change Maker Award, among others. From Here is her first feature-length film, and grew out of personal questions about identity, race and how to advance social justice that emerged from growing up in the Greek-American diaspora. It has grown in parallel with an impact initiative withwingsandroots.org, where she collaborates with an international network to reimagine migration, citizenship, and belonging.