Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gala Kicks off "Dorothy Fadiman Month" Honoring Her Donation of Lifework to Media Center

The Media Center is proud to announce that award- winning documentary filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman has chosen the Media Center to be the community repository for her body of work. Menlo Park-based Fadiman has produced over twenty films in her thirty-year career. Her work has garnered more than 50 awards and honors, including an Oscar nomination and an Emmy. Fadiman's films have been shown internationally, as well as nationwide on PBS Stations. The subjects of her films cover a broad range of socially relevant topics from election fraud to HIV/AIDS in Africa to the challenges facing women in India to progressive education in the US to the fragility of reproductive rights to the universal truths in every faith. Fadiman has taken on each topic with a passion for reality. By stripping away rhetoric and ideology to divine the truth, she has earned a reputation for making consistently great films with heart.

With all her accolades and connections, why has Dorothy Fadiman chosen the Media Center for such a distinction? Although internationally acclaimed, she is a champion of the grassroots and has always been active in her community. She has been a passionate supporter of public access television going back to the days of the original Cable Coop and MPAC (Mid-Peninsula Access Corporation). She was a founding member of IMAGE, the Independent Media Artists Group, a collaboration of filmmakers which met here in Palo Alto.

Additionally, many of Fadiman's films have attracted the involvement of local activists and supporters and/or capture a distinctly local experience.
  • World Peace follows the Palo Alto City Council meeting the night the Council passed a Nuclear Freeze Resolution.
  • Why Do These Kids Love School? profiles the Peninsula School, an independent learning community in Menlo Park. The film, produced with PBS-affiliate KTEH in San Jose, had its premier in Palo Alto at the Cubberley Theatre.
  • Seeds of Hope was made possible by the work and support of fifty members of the Peninsula Ethiopian community. Premiered at Gunn High School’s Spangenberg Theater,
  • Woman By Woman was filmed in India and benefited Maitri (a local group helping abused Indian women) as well as AID (a local group providing aid to impoverished rural Indians).
  • The Power of Choice was made with the cooperation and support of Planned Parenthood education teams in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
  • Moment By Moment follows a Menlo Park resident’s recovery from a severe spinal cord injury.

Because many films in the collection have a local focus and are a product of Fadiman’s collaboration with Peninsula residents and organizations, the Media Center is especially eager to house these films. The Media Center will not only cablecast these films but will be able to make them available to the many researchers who access the Media Center archives. This legacy is the first of its kind given to the Media Center. The Media Center is proud to be the repository of the Dorothy Fadiman Film Collection.

Media Center to Host Community Event to Honor Filmmaker

To commemorate the historic gift of the Dorothy Fadiman Film Collection to the Media Center and to celebrate Dorothy Fadiman's 70th birthday, the Media Center will host a gala event. A Tribute to Dorothy Fadiman: 30 Years of Filmmaking will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2009 from 7 to 9:30 pm in the Media Center Studio. The evening will include pre-screening refreshments followed by a screening of excerpts from Fadiman’s films, a panel discussion moderated by former PBS Executive Producer Danny McGuire and Audience Q&A punctuated by a champagne and birthday cake reception. The public is invited to attend the free event but must RSVP ( to reserve a seat.

The panel will consist of:

Ekta Bhargava, East Indian Filmmaker, producing and writing both in the US and in India, was a Senior Editor on Stealing America Vote by Vote. Bhargava is on the board of the non-profit A STAR FOR THE NIGHT, which provides children with challenges a chance to share the spotlight with a celebrity. Currently, Bhargava is working on a documentary for the Center for Third World Organizing.

Haeran Fisseha was a principal translator for Fadiman’s Seeds of Hope series, working with others to translate over 100 hours of interviews from Amharic to English. She holds a Masters in Industrial Engineering from Stanford. She founded and runs a California-based non-profit, Dir Biyabir, which supports sustainable grassroots development in Ethiopia. Haeran has worked at various technology companies and is currently working at Apple as a Global Commodity Manager.

Tony Levelle, Writer, Filmmaker and Teacher, has 30 years of experience in technology and media production. He joined Fadiman first as an Intern and then went on to co-author with Fadiman the book Producing with Passion: Making Films That Change the World. He is author of Digital Video Secrets. In addition to teaching filmmaking throughout Northern California, he has launched the Film Festival in order to encourage and recognize student filmmakers in his own community.

David S. Sobel, M.D., is a board member of Fadiman's production company Concentric Media, as well as a longtime friend and supporter of her work. Dr. Sobel is Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion for Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region. He has appeared on more than 200 television programs to educate the public about health issues, including the Today Show, CNN, Hour Magazine, and a regular television news segment on KNTV, the NBC affiliate station in San Jose.

June is "Dorothy Fadiman Month" on Channel 27

As part of the celebration of Dorothy Fadiman's 70th birthday and the donation to the Media Center of her entire film collection, the Media Center is dedicating weekend programming on Channel 27 throughout the month of June to the films of Dorothy Fadiman. Additionally, each Monday evening throughout June on Channel 27 from 7 to 9 pm, the Media Center will cablecast films from the collection.

The Dorothy Fadiman Film Festival Schedule is as follows:
  • Sunday, June 7: 3 pm – 12 am
  • Monday, June 8, 15, 22 and 29: 7 pm – 9 pm
  • Weekends June 13 & 14, June 20 & 21 and June 27 & 28: 3 pm Saturday – 9 am Sunday
Festival Programming will include the cablecast of the Media Center coverage of the June 6th gala event: A Tribute to Dorothy Fadiman: 30 Years of Filmmaking.

Festival Films include:
  • From the Back Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond - a three film series
  • Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale
  • Motherhood by Choice not Chance
  • Radiance: The Experience of Light
  • Seeds of Hope – a five film series documenting HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia
  • Stealing America Vote by Vote
  • Why Do These Kids Love School?
  • Woman by Woman: New Hope for the Villages of India
Short Format Films To Be Shown Include:
  • Breathe Easy
  • Celebration: I Am All of These
  • Fix-It Shops: An Endangered Species
  • Peace: A Conscious Choice
  • World Peace is a Local Issue
Please visit the schedule pages on the Media Center website for titles and times of films to be shown during the Dorothy Fadiman Film Festival.

Karen Adams
Production Manager/Staff Producer
650-494-8686, ext. 18

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