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Doc Society Foundation

Hello friends,



This is it. The biggest issue of our time.

The one that affects all of us, certainly, and in the shortest space of time, irreversibly. Climate experts know that we’re on the cusp (more like a precipice) of destroying our planetary home. Now is the time for the most urgent, pro-active form of optimism.

Doc Society, our board and our whole team, are making a commitment over the next two years to double down on our climate commitments - to do more, both with our work and with how we work.

A few hours ago, we launched our first ever podcast. Mothers of Invention is a feminist climate change project - hosted by an Irish dream team - Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and climate justice advocate and comedian Maeve Higgins. The tagline is:

Climate Change is a Man-Made Problem with a Feminist Solution.

Here’s why. Women have been shown to be more affected first and worst by climate change, as a result they are more knowledgeable about climate change, and more concerned about its consequences. Reports show that boards with gender balance tend to prioritise environmental issues and are likely to invest in renewable power, low-carbon products, and energy efficiency.

Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Katharine Wilkinson, Vice President of Communication & Engagement, points out that the 6th and 7th biggest solutions in terms of C02 reduction are Educating Girls, and extending Family Planning - and if you add those two together in terms of their contributions, you have the number 1 solution to climate change.

Women are demonstrating every day that they have unique and essential ideas and skills to offer at this turning point in history, as humanity faces a crisis of survival. We should listen to them.

This months playlist goes out to the musical female pioneers who got this;

We Run This - Missy Elliot

Boys Wanna Be Her - Peaches

Dog Days Are Over - Florence & The Machine

Run the World (Girls) – Beyonce

Sisters Are Doing it For Themselves – Eurythmics




Mothers Of Invention has landed! A brand new podcast from none other than Mary Robinson – first female President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice – and her sidekick: comedian, writer and fellow Irish-woman Maeve Higgins.

Together they will introduce us to the superhero women all over the world, the Mothers of Invention, fighting climate change in remarkable ways and, you know, winning.

The really very good news is that the majority of citizens everywhere believe climate change is real, man-made, and needs addressing. The challenge now is too many of us still feel powerless in the face of such a challenge, and we aren’t talking enough about it, and until we do – perhaps most crucially — we won’t start signalling strongly enough to elected officials that we expect serious action, fast. So let’s talk.

In our first episode Mary and Maeve talk to the women using the law to protect future generations. Both lawyers and plaintiffs, they have stood up in court to argue that their governments just aren’t doing their job. All Rise will introduce you to our first wave of Mothers of Invention, including the kids suing Trump.

We’ve got 4 more episodes already in the pipeline, which will be coming every other week, and with your support this is just the beginning...


SUBSCRIBE: On Itunes, wherever you get your podcasts, or on Youtube.

FIND OUT MORE: About the work of the Mothers of Invention we are championing

BECOME A SUPPORTER: We are only 40% funded and are crowdfunding on Drip.

PLEASE FORWARD: This email to a friend who should know about it.

NOMINATE A MOTHER: Get in touch and tell us about a woman climate champ

BECOME A MOTHER: We know you've got it in you. What are you waiting for?



In light of this, frankly, we’re getting our act together as an organisation. We’re keeping climate change as a standing item at every Doc Society board meeting. It’s time to raise our game to make the issue of climate change a sustained priority over these next two crucial years.

MORE FILMS. We are doubling down on our commitment to supporting individual films with messages of environmental impact, like Chasing Coral & Thank You For The Rain,

MORE SCHOOLS. We have added a major environmental focus to our school’s programme Doc Academy - ensuring that climate change docs are on the curriculum for the next generation,

MORE IMPACT. We have committed to capacity building as we conspire with the team at Exposure Labs to develop a major Climate Lab in 2019

MORE CHANGE. We’ve been thinking hard about how we work back at base. We still have some way to go before we can reach full eco-warrior status, but here’s a rundown of the ins and the outs of our office commitments..

ON THE WAY IN: Water filters, Sipping, Reuse-able “keep cups” for all Single-use coffee cups, Strict recycling, 100% vegetarian event catering, More milk of oats, almonds, coconuts, Eco-friendly bank

ON THE WAY OUT: Plastic bottles, Plastic straws, Bad waste habits, Meat!, Less milk of cows, Barclays (yes we broke up with our bank)




The photo above was taken in our London office in March when one of our featured Mothers of Invention, Tara Houska, was in town for just one day. She is a native rights lawyer with Honor The Earth who was at Standing Rock and is now working to stop the Line 3 pipeline. It was her first visit to London and she used it to visit J.P.Morgan, HSBC and Barclays asking them to divest from tar sands and Arctic drilling.

Well, we’ve banked with Barclays since we first existed, back in 2004 when we began as BRITDOC. That fact says something about banking’s business model: switching accounts can be a fiddly and time consuming process, avoided by most customers.

At Doc Society we want our own behaviour to reflect our passionate views on the need to respond to climate change. So we checked out Barclays. Each year BankTrack produce a report card (pdf) that measures the impact that major financial institutions, through their lending, have on the environment. In the three years, Barclays provided .93bn of finance to extreme fossil fuel projects (tar sands oil, Arctic oil, ultra-deepwater oil, LNG, coal mining, and coal-fired power). Unsurprisingly, they gave Barclays a failing D+.

So we’re saying farewell to Barclays, and switching to a bank that doesn’t provide capital to companies that are harming the planet. Slowly some banks are making changes (BankTrack identifies ING, BNP Paribas, AXA, World Bank as banks who’ve said they’ll no long finance fossil fuel projects), and the only way to guarantee the rest do, is for customers to stop using them.

We wrote to Barclays so they know why we are going, and you can read our Barclays break-up letter in full > HERE <


Detroit poet Joel “Fluent” Green and Nicole Moore, Dir. of Coms for Lady Parts Justice outside the Eastern in Detroit


Detroit, Michigan - July 17, 2018

Good Pitch Local Detroit, presented in partnership with DNA and Freep Film Festival, featured a baker’s dozen locally crafted media projects and organizers leading change, a half dozen “good ideas”and a new funding opportunity for Detroit based filmmakers, and 177 participants for a full day of pitches, pledges and powerful networking.

Poet Joel Fluent Greene opened the day with a poem that placed us here in Detroit. Author and activist adrienne maree brown, framed the day with the idea that kindness eases change. She invited us to consider how a flock of birds––leaderless, attuned to each other––moves as one and see the magnificent power of collective self-organizing. We dined on delicious, locally sourced vegan and soul food from Yum Village and Guerilla Food food trucks. LaTosha Brown of Black Votes Matter closed out the program with an a capella rendition of the civil rights anthem Eyes on the Prize.

In between media makers, organizers, and folks that defy categorization, presented their projects to a room full of professionals who offered their skills and experience, knowledge and networks, mentorship and money.

The epic aftermath of Emergency Management in Michigan will resonate in Detroit, in Flint and beyond for years. We The People of Detroit organizes around those issues, particularly the right to clean potable water, will receive support in telling that story and mentoring young storytellers. The short doc series No Town featured the story of Rev. Ed Pinkney, a community leader targeted for his activism on voter registration and against Emergency Financial Management, was in the room, show us the face of resistance and resilience.

Take Me Home a short film about a family forced from their home by illegal tax foreclosure, strategic support in getting the film and story in front of lawmakers, connections to film exhibitions opportunities, and even a realtor with deep knowledge of Detroit.

Street Democracy is changing the criminal justice system and seving the formerly incarcerated via links to resources and pathways to personal sustainability connected with both creatives and activists.

Food Lab Detroit is shifting narratives around food, business and health for people of color. And the short film Sidelots the director tells her own story of cultivating food and reshaping culture in Detroit and connecting to her husband’s roots in Alabama and her own ancestral land in Kenya. The BYP100 a local chapter of the national Black Youth Project 100 made connections with several filmmakers interested in training this cohort of creative activists in technical production skills. Detroit Justice Center is launching a design workshop for youth to imagine alternative to a new prison in Detroit, several media makers offers to help capture that story.

A young black woman, Siwatu Salima Ra, jailed for legally protecting her family from a driver ramming into her parked car in which her mother and baby daughter were in, is an environmental activist and now the center of the #FreeSiwatu movement. Siwatu’s sister Coco Anderson shared the story of systemic injustice and personal trauma of giving birth to her new son while incarcerated, while the baby slept quietly in the arms of friend and filmmaker ill weaver.

We danced to Detroit Techno inspired by the film God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines, which received several connections to exhibition spaces. It is one of several projects that could receive ,000 through a unique partnership between Kickstarter and American Documentary/POV funded by the Knight Foundation. Four individuals each pledged 0 to The Aadizookan a storytelling collaborative rooted in indigenous based knowledge.

Good Pitch Local is a space to energize and advance the intersectional power of storytelling and changemaking. In Detroit, we witnessed the resilience born of local ties and fierce commitment to place. We confirmed a conviction that local journalism is essential to our democracy, even as the news from Helsinki and London rocked us. And we felt sustained by local voices, local flavors, and the creativity and generosity of people doing the work and telling the stories we need to hear.

Thanks for welcoming us, Detroit!

Check out all the projects at Good Pitch Local Detroit.

teem 2
Photograph of Doc Society volunteer Teem Khan by Jeff Slade


Trump’s visit to the UK gave the Doc Soc team the opportunity to come out in force to demonstrate for the values that we stand for and our message, borrowed from protectors of protest aesthetics, was that “we the British are greater than fear”. And what a magnificent day for democracy and freedom of speech as a solid quarter of a million people united on one of the UK’s most sweltering summer days to have their voices heard, with the creativity and satire that distinguishes the British! We stand loud and proud for diversity, tolerance and compassion - for open, pluralistic societies and the fantastic unity demonstrated by our fellow Londoners, those who travelled down for the day, international folks and our American friends on July 13th was breathtaking. We stand (or walk in fact) with Labour MP David Lammy when he says:
"We don't march because we hate the United States of America, we march because we love the United States of America.. We march because we are all equal, and we want to see the end of a president who says we should put up walls, who says that Mexicans are rapists, who wants to roll back civil rights - no, we are equal."
Many of the Trump administration’s policies were being protested during the march, but high on the agenda alongside immigration, were those voicing their concern for climate change.

VIVA protest! VIVA activism! VIVA sunscreen!



21 years ago this week the Chiong sisters went missing in Cebu. Their disappearance led to the wrongful conviction of seven innocent young men who were sentenced to death. Director Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco quit their jobs in NYC to make a documentary film about this miscarriage of justice, and Give Up Tomorrow was the result of 7 years of filming and investigative journalism. Proudly supported by the Bertha Foundation and Doc Society’s Good Pitch programme.

Much to the distress of Paco and his family, a fictionalised ‘slasher’ movie of the case has just opened in the Philippines. Triggering a live petition on calling for a judicial review.

If you are in the Philippines and you want to see the documentary for yourself, go to Rappler, which has just released the film online. For rest of world the best way is at

And follow the conversation at #Cebu7 #FreePaco



Funding and Grants to watch:

Hot Docs Blue Ice Group Documentary fund deadline 1st August 2018 [Filmmakers who are citizens and residents of continental Africa and are also living and working in the region]

Filmmakers Without Borders fund deadline, 1st August 2018 [International]

Alter-Ciné Foundation fund deadline, 14th August 2018 [Filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America]

Screen Australia, Documentaries International Programme, 4th Sept [Australian Docs with international finance]

Tenderflix 2018, deadline for £1000 grant, 29th July 2018 [UK]

Hot Docs CrossCurrents Fund an International Stream for feature, short and interactive projects by international and Canadian storytellers whose perspectives have been historically underrepresented; and the CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund, supported by Netflix, for emerging and sophomore Canadian storytellers who are Indigenous, Francophone, Deaf, with disability, or who are artists of colour. Both support short/interactive and feature-length documentaries.

Festival, Forums, Training Deadlines

IDFA submissions deadline, 1st August 2018 [Netherlands]

Busan International Film Festival submissions deadline, 30th July 2018 [Republic of South Korea]

Lisbon Docs, International Financing and Co-production Forum, submissions deadline 30th July 2018 [Portugal]

14th Dok Co-Pro Market, Dok Leipzig 2018, project submissions deadline 1st August 2018 [Germany]

London Short Film Festival (LSFF 2019) late submissions deadline, 20th August 2018 [UK]

IDFA Forum deadline for submissions is August 15, 2018.

Best of luck!

'til next month,


Doc Society

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