The Call for Change Series series is a Third World Newsreel project which gathers
the work of mediamakers producing short videos on communities of color and their efforts to make social change.
The 2005 series mostly focused on NYC and communities of color's "state of America" during the 2004 electoral period,
and topics ranged from the elections, the war on terror and its impact on human rights and immigrant life,
to slavery reparations and the rights of domestic workers. The resulting series, produced by JT Takagi,
is being broadly distributed and exhibited.
The hope of this project is to spark discussions throughout the nation's living rooms, classrooms and community groups on topical issues, while presenting the views and concerns of groups and communities often marginalized in mainstream media.
The Call for Change Series premiered at the BAM Rose Cinemas in October 2005 and is available for public screenings,
community workshops and streaming. Some films, like Work and Respect,
were updated in 2010 to reflect the Domestic workers' winning a Bill of Rights in NY state.
TWN solicited concepts and short proposals from filmmakers of color to document
a struggle in their community - and the effort to make social change.
It provided mentoring, production and post-production support, hired supervising editors and final post work.
This was made possible in part by support from the Open Society Institute NYC Social Justice Fellowship Program,
the Funding Exchange, and the North Star Fund. Some pieces were produced with support
from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.
RISING UP: THE ALAMS
As part of the Homeland security measures, immigrant men from 25, mostly Muslim
countries were required to enroll in a Special Registrationprogram. The result:
no evidence of terror, but some 13,000 people are now being deported mostly for
expired visas. The Alams were among the many families who believed that voluntarily
participating in the Special Registrationwould show their loyalty. Instead, they
face the prospect of breaking up their family, despite a decade of hard work and
the raising of two children. Working with DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), the
Queens South Asian activist group, the Alams have become activists, organizing to
fight for their right to stay.
Dir: Konrad Aderer 11 min. 2005
Interview with Filmmaker
SAJ: MUSLIM IN AMERICA
A young NYC African American woman talks about what it means to define oneself as
a Muslim today, and the concerns and crises of faith that she has like everyone
else in the city.
Dir: Sam Pollard 4 minutes 2005
DASTAAR: DEFENDING SIKH IDENTITY
A restaurant owner beaten. A policeman fired. A 20 year subway conductor born in
the U.S., threatened with job loss: All for wearing the signature turbans of their
religion, Sikhism. Since 9/11, hate crimes and job losses have plagued the Sikh-American
community, whose religion originated in India, and is not even Islamic. In response,
the NYC Sikh community has organized to confront the bias and attacks, through legal
suits, pressure on city officials and proactive public education. An introduction
to an often misunderstood religion and the success of community activism.
Dir: Kevin Lee 11 minutes 2005
Interview with Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director, Sikh Coalition
AMONG THE FIRST TO DIE
The life and death of one of the first American casualties of the War against Terror
- Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, a 28 year old Guatemalan, who joined the Marines
because "he wanted to give back a little bit to his adopted country" - and received
his citizenship posthumously from President Bush. The contradictions and tragedies
of being the "other" while fighting the "other".
Dir: Paul Barrera 10 min 2005
A "day in the life" of Ralph, a Palestinian-American grocery store owner, whose
Brooklyn store is the neighborhood drop in center. As the 2004 election approached,
Ralph reflected on being a Palestinian and on voting for the first time, while the
neighborhood chimed in.
Dir: Clifton Watson 11 min. 2005
WORK AND RESPECT
Over 200,000 women work in the homes of New Yorkers as housekeepers and nannies.
Mostly women of color and often undocumented, their work is not covered by labor
laws, and for many, the pay and conditions of work are beyond belief. The women
are beginning to organize, though, to fight for a bill of rights. As one worker
says: imagine if all 200,000 went on strike one day? Wall Street would have to shut
down as families had to watch their own children.
Dir: Domestic Workers United 10 min. 2005
Interview with Barbara Young, NDWA
In February 2005, the NY City Council considered a bill that would require companies
doing business with NY to investigate and reveal any past relationship to the slave
trade. Though resisted by the NYC mayor, Chicago already passed such a law, resulting
in JP Morgan Chase addressing its slave-based past. This short is a quick introduction
to the history of New York's slave-based development, and why redress is due.
Dir: Leslie Brown 13:20 min. 2005
LATINO POETS SPEAKOUT
Three shorts featuring performances by some of New York Citys vanguard Latino poets:
KILLKILLKILL by Jesus Papoleto Melendez (5 Min), GOD BLESS AMERICA by Mariposa (2
min), and TAMALES IN JANUARY by Carlo Baldi (3 min). From the war to police brutality
to the contradictions of being a person of color in the U.S., these shorts are both
lyrical and powerful.
Dir: Renata Gangemi and Ruben Gonzalez 2005
FULTON AND FRANKLIN
The pretty, almost impressionistic images of the subway belie the surveillance cameras
and new search policies as riders respond to the heightened security measures.
Dir: Donna Golden (3 min) 2005
VOICES IN THE STREET
When the Republicans had their convention at Madison Square Garden, workers in the
area from hotdog vendors to day laborers were directly affected. A short on the
lives and thoughts of people working on the street and their relation to the political
Dir: JT Takagi and Herman Lew 13 min. 2005
Women, money and travel. It's still the hook that military recruiters are using
on young men, as two students discover at a Queens recruitment office. A look at
the military recruitment process through a mixture of performance and the experiences
of two young men of color.
Dir: Al Santana and Alonzo Rico Speight 11 min 2005
Brian was recruited into the US Navy, much to his filmmaker sisters dismay. Pressured
by a family history filled with those who served in uniform, as well as calls and
visits from recruiters who offered college, he and his mother thought it made sense.
But for two years he has been sweeping the decks of a ship, not allowed to attend
classes or anything else. Morale on his ship is such that two sailors have already
attempted suicide. What can he do?
Dir: Kamisha S. 7:41 min. 2005
SHE RHYMES LIKE A GIRL
Toni Blackman and the FreeStyle Union are challenging the male dominated world of
hip hop and empowering women to speak their minds in freestyle workshops. This is
a music video/documentary that speaks to building a movement of female mcs.
Dir: JT Takagi 7 min 2005
Interview with Toni Blackman
WALKING WITH FUREE
Post 9/11, Wanda Imueson, a Harlem raised believer in the American Dream, found
herself jobless and going to the welfare office. The humiliation of her treatment
and the persistent efforts of the women at FUREE (Families United for Racial and
Economic Equality), led Wanda to become an activist and speaker and to recruit other
women to empower themselves.
Dir: Miriam Perez 10 min. 2005