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Falling Together in New Orleans won an audience award for the 2007 ConvergeSouth Film Festival!

We spent a weekend at the ConvergeSouth conference in Greensboro, NC. One of the first things our colleagues and friends Dan Conover & Janet Edens (married) said when we first met was that we needed to attend this show. Dan totally made it happen (We still owe him for the hotel room) and it was a pretty amazing experience.

FTNO Vignette Three: Emergency Communities in the Lower 9 was a feature of the ConvergeSouth Film Festival and screened to a large and very media-savvy audience. The movie was very well received (the winner of the audience award is announced next week...) and it was nice to see responses from industry leaders that our work has a unique style and ability to reach people effectively on important subject matter.

The screening opportunity was created by a new mistress of OPP communications and PR - Kerri Glover (we came to terms on working a project together as we were taking a cab from LaGuardia to JFK and she had booked this gig by the time we landed in Amsterdam...pretty quick work). Kerri has worked for Clinton-Gore, has been a presidential cabinet press secretray, managed PR for the Sierra Club, written for Huffington Post and launched several international technology businesses in her previous life. She is also one of the easiest people to be around I have ever met.

Some 2007 ConvergeSouth highlights for Mitchell:

  • Watching Farrah go one-on-one with Jason Calacanis the uber-tech entrepreneur from silicon valley. While I was running my yap on the phone during the lunch break she was schmoozing with the guy who founded Silicon Alley Reporter, WebLogs and now Jason gave a very nice keynote interview on day one of the conference. I could relate to a number of his observations on how entrepreneurs find (or invent) some sort of moral vindication for our desire to turn ideas into reality. The guy was honest and forthright.  This was not a "lets make a bunch of money" conference and he did a great job of fitting in. I had a short chat with him but have decided Farrah needs to do the follow up...

    Farrah and Jason Calacanis discussing issues in the middle east (seriously). Photo by Sue Polinksy.

  • Geting to know Saskia Wilson-Brown and Brandon Gross from Current TV, as well as Jason McHugh the producer of the upcoming jam-band mockumentary Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo. The film, being released nationally on Nov. 9th, is directed by Les Claypool and features cameos from Mike Gordon (Phish), Warren Haynes, and Bob Weir. Check out the trailer

    We had dinner with Jason and heard the story of how he, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of South Park) got started in filmmaking together. It is not often you get to have dinner with a guy who has a South Park character based on himself. 

    Saskia and Brandon also both really impressed me - going way beyond job description with the time they gave to the festival events and people. Being the closest thing to "suits" at the event, they  did a gracious  job talking about Current TV with a sometimes subtly hostile crowd.

    We definitely hope to hook up with the three of them when we are on the west coast this winter and We will be placing some FTNO vignettes on the Current TV platform over the coming few weeks (hopefully before the Ani tour). Below are the three of them on a panel they hosted on "Moving Images on the Web". 

    Saskia, Jason and Brandon get down to bidness. Photo by Sue Polinksy.

  • Meeting and learning from a host of great people including: Evil Genius Chronicles founder and leading southeast PODcaster Dave SlusherAndy Coon the producer of the ConvergeSouth film festival (and the director of a fantastic documentary titled "Greensboro's Child", which Farrah and I watched tonight). Andy is a talented and killer nice guy we definitely hope to work with in the near future. 

    Also (and I know I will leave some folks out here): Bora Zivkovic who is the country's leading Science Blogger and an incredibly interesting guy, Stewart Pittman (aka Lenslinger) a popular blogger / TV cameraman who writes about the crazy world of local TV news and the experience from behind the lens. Stewart invited me to be part of a blog to book seminar he was hosting and I got to tell the story of the 09/11 8:48 AM book we did with Booksurge back in 2001 (I still call it the world's first blog book...). 

    Among the rest of the cast of characters: Ed Cone - a very funny guy who interviewed Jason Calacanis and is a leading Greensboro blogger and journalist, Billy Jones - The Blogging Poet who is running for mayor of Greensboro and rides a bi-plane bicycle. Billy also manages the online community for the VFW. Thanks to all of you.

    Billy the Blogging Poet set for take off...Photo by Chatham Shooter

  • Doing a Q & A session for film festival attendees with Alive in Bagdhad producer and creator Brian Conley. AIB is a weekly video blog produced by a staff of Iraqi independent journalists and sent by DHL to Brian's team in Philadelphia each week for editing and publication. The site survives on donations, so please help them out. They are doing brave and important work and we will be following up with Brian to see how what he is doing and OPP's mission may fit together.
  • Spending some quality time with Dan, Janet and Kerri (we rode 5-up in a small truck all weekend so we got to know each other well). Dan is one of the most eloquent speakers on the topics of journalism and media I have ever encountered. He hosted two panels and was one of the best speakers of the entire weekend. Janet, is a creative devil who grows on me more evertime we hang out...a true Guerilla Muse. It was also Kerri's first trip to ConvergeSouth and the five of us made a good time crowd. 

    Dan holding court during his presentation on the future of journalism

Very inspiring....Something like this would be great in Charleston!

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