Throughout our history, Odyssey Impact has used the power of film and video to inspire people. Whether seen at home, in social impact screenings, at film festivals or online, the content we create with our production partners help viewers connect to another person’s story. Through personal stories, we are able to create empathy, shift attitudes and catalyze action for a more just and compassionate society.
Filmed over the course of nearly three years, the filmmakers use unique access and never before heard testimonies to tell a story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history on December 14, 2012. Newtown documents a traumatized community fractured by grief and driven toward a sense of purpose. Joining the ranks of a growing club to which no one wants to belong, a cast of characters interconnect to weave an intimate story of community resilience.
The film takes viewers inside Louisiana’s maximum-security prison at Angola, where the average sentence is more than 90 years. The prisoners within its walls are the worst of the worst – rapists, kidnappers and murderers. With prison sentences so long, 85 percent will never again live in the outside world. Instead, the will grow old and die in Angola.
Serving Life documents an extraordinary hospice program where hardened criminals care for their dying fellow inmates. In doing so, they embark on a journey that may end in personal rehabilitation. “Serving Life reveals the humanity that exists inside each and every one of us,” said Whitaker. “In the Angola prison’s hospice, we meet inmates who decide to take an opportunity for redemption, reminding us of the connection that exists between each and every human being.” The volunteers are trained, pushed and tested. Some fail, but some succeed and discover that the human touch can reach the soul. “I thought maybe if I helped somebody else,” one inmate says, “that would help relieve some of the guilt.”
Audience response to Serving Life has been overwhelming. The documentary has now won over 10 awards, including the CINE Master Series Award and the Humanitas Prize.
Following the Peabody Award-winning Newtown documentary, Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dublane depicts Father Bob Weiss, who in the days following the Sandy Hook Massacre that took the lives of 20 children and 6 of their educators on December 14, 2012, was tasked with the burial of 8 of those children. In the throes of profound PTSD, he receives a letter from Father Basil O’Sullivan in Dunblane, Scotland wherein 1996, 16 school children were gunned down at the hands of an unhinged lone gunman. In the ensuing months, the two priests forge a bond across the Atlantic through a series of letters sharing experiences of trauma and recovery. Father Basil recalls his own town’s efforts to launch the “Snowdrop” campaign that brought about radical gun policy reform in the UK, whereas the US has had no federal reform to date. There have been over 1600 mass shootings since December 2012 in the US. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Father Basil journeys across the Atlantic to bring solace to Father Bob and the community of Newtown.
The rise in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric in the U.S. in the past 3 years has generated a new wave of activist. One of them is actor/writer/producer/comedian Aasif Mandvi, “the first brown guy” on The Daily Show. This short film, featuring a performance by Mandvi, Lewis Black and Roy Wood, Jr., reveals what led this artist to become an activist, and why it’s important for other artists to step up. Mandvi says, “When the world is falling apart, the artist’s job is to say ‘hey, let me tell you a story.’”
On April 14, 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. 219 girls remain missing, and have come to be known as the “Chibok Girls.” One mother, Esther Yokubu, carries on raising her family but the daughter who was taken is never far from her mind. On the anniversary of the kidnapping, she writes a letter to the daughter she has not seen in two years.
Set in the military outpost of San Antonio, Texas, After Fire highlights the challenges faced by the fastest-growing group of American veterans: women, who now account for one in five new recruits to the U.S. Armed Forces. Demonstrating courage during their military service and resilience in its aftermath, three women military veterans candidly confront the fallout of their experiences on their personal lives as they adjust to the civilian world. The film throws a spotlight on the human toll of military service – including military sexual trauma, combat injuries and bureaucratic dysfunction – telling a universal story about strength in the aftermath of trauma.
A documentary showing the emotions, people, and challenges behind constructing the 104-story One World Trade Center.
Narrated by Ed Harris
Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg
Premiered on Discovery Channel
Healing the Healers is a new media resource intended to support clergy, laity, social workers, first responders and other faith leaders facing community-level trauma. In the first five parts of an ongoing video series, Rev. Matthew Crebbin begins an important conversation with colleagues in which they acknowledge the unique stress they face in the aftermath of community trauma.
Rev. Crebbin is the Senior Minister of the Newtown Congregational Church in Newtown, CT. On December 14, 2012, his life, along with those of his family, his congregation, and everyone in the town, was changed by the horrifying shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. His mission in this series has a dual focus: both to learn about and better understand the mid-to-long term effects of such traumas on faith leaders who, like him, have gone through such an experience, and to help educate and prepare other faith and community leaders who may be faced with such events in the future.
Rev. Crebbin begins this series of intimate, powerful conversations within the Newtown faith leader community and then widens the circle to include other faith leaders who’ve experienced mass trauma, either suddenly, as at Newtown or during 9/11, or through ministering to a community facing chronic violence, such as Hartford, CT, or Ferguson, MO. Healing the Healers is an ongoing journey in which each conversation leads to another, and an essential resource as faith leaders increasingly face the call to lead their congregants through tragedy. The series is accompanied by written reflections by scholars, clergy and other experts, as well as discussion questions and worksheets that we hope will be useful to you.
Healing the Healers is a living project; Odyssey Impact™ will continue this journey by adding additional videos and reflections that will continue to engage necessary voices and faith perspectives from across the country. We welcome you to join our widening conversation, and we hope that this first video series will inspire you to begin your own conversations about preparedness and self-care in the face of trauma.
Odyssey Impact has produced more than 100 short videos that showcase the stories of people of faith in action. Please contact Michelle Budnick, Head of Production and Distribution to learn how you can use these shorts in your own work.
Social Impact Campaigns depend on awareness to inspire connection around a critical issue facing a community. Having award-winning films broadcast on known platforms and screened at notable locations helps to build compelling marketing to inspire audience attendance.
2018 Best Short Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival
2018 Grand Jury Prize, United Nations Association Film Festival
2018 Nominated, Grierson Award for Best Short Documentary
2017 Peabody Award
2017 Broadcast on PBS Independent Lens
2017 Screened at the White House
2018 Broadcast on STARZ
2018 Screening at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
2017 Special Prize for Human Rights, Venice Film Festival
2018 Peabody Award Nomination
2018 Broadcast on PBS America ReFramed
2018 Screening at the Congressional Black Caucus ALC
2017 Best Documentary, Urbanworld Festival
2017 Media for a Just Society Award
2012 Humanitas Prize and CINE Golden Eagle- Judges Award
2011 Christopher Award
2011 Broadcast on OWN