A Social Impact Campaign is a strategic engagement program providing the resources for faith and secular communities to address the most critical social issues in our society. The guiding principle of each campaign is to use film to raise audience awareness, shifting attitudes and inspiring action among people of faith and goodwill.
The result? A society connected, engaged and united.
Unique in the emerging impact media landscape, Odyssey Impact’s social impact campaigns use documentaries as tools to educate, build awareness and prompt action among both secular and faith-based change makers. By tapping into the attention and resources of locally based organizations, place of worship, campuses and advocates, Odyssey Impact creates opportunities for constructive dialogue, learning, interfaith collaboration, and civic engagement on issues that often divide–rather than unite–us. Working closely with secular and faith-based organizers and leaders, and customizing our approaches to the needs and priorities of each particular film, we deploy a tried-and-tested formula for using film as a vehicle for community engagement and social action.
Our campaigns are multi-phased endeavors that pair deep strategy work with diligent execution. Every full-service campaign includes a six-week Landscape Analysis Phase and a six-month (or more) Active Impact Campaign Phase.
To begin a conversation about collaborating with Odyssey Impact, please submit your film and any related press or social impact materials (press kits, decks, discussion guides) to [email protected]. We look forward to discussing your needs, answering your questions, and providing a quote for our proposed services.
With a 30-year history of building coalitions around more than 1,000 films and videos, Odyssey Impact reaches and empowers coalitions of change makers to build strong communities anchored by compassion, justice and hope.
Odyssey Impact believes in the power of stories to inspire social justice. We use multimedia content to amplify and lift up these stories and to raise audience awareness, shifting attitudes and inspiring action.
The Sentence explores the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and mandatory minimum drug sentencing through the story of Cindy Shank, a mother of three young children serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement in a Michigan drug ring years before. A lyrical, intimate story documented over 10 years by Cindy’s younger brother, filmmaker Rudy Valdez, The Sentence follows Cindy’s struggles to be present in her children’s lives from behind bars and her daughters’ experiences growing up without their mother at home, while her husband, parents and siblings fight for her release before the last months of the Obama administration’s Clemency Project. After winning the 2018 Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival The Sentence was acquired by HBO.
Odyssey Impact is collaborating with director Rudy Valdez and production company Park Pictures to launch a six-month community engagement and impact campaign for The Sentence in January 2020, with the aim of bringing the film to the experts, stakeholders and families experiencing the wide-ranging impacts of parental incarceration.
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story navigates the complex circumstances surrounding a 16-year-old girl who committed murder in Tennessee. Beginning in 2004 when Cyntoia Brown was first arrested, and filmed over 15 years through extraordinary access, this feature documentary explores the justice system through the lens of one girl’s story. We gain insight into her mental health, her biological and adoptive families, and how her actions led to being convicted of felony murder and receiving a life sentence (60 years) in prison. Through perseverance, activism, and legislative and legal changes, we see how a series of events led to her early release from prison after serving just 15 years.
This documentary premieres on Netflix in April 2020
The United States is experiencing a surge in hate crimes as a tide of white supremacy gathers momentum nationwide. Muslim and Jewish communities are particularly at risk. Stranger/Sister is the story of two ordinary women, one Muslim and one Jewish, who dare to believe they can join hands to stop the wave of hate. Overcoming a long history of distrust between their two religions, they build a movement that turns strangers into sisters, challenging our assumptions about how to fight hate in America. Intimately following women from Sisterhood chapters in Austin, Chicago and across the Nation, the Sisters build a powerful network of hope in a time of chaos and hate.
When mass trauma strikes, faith leaders are called upon to guide and sustain communities through the aftermath. Their role is to help us heal.
But who heals the healers?
Healing the Healers is a new media resource intended to support clergy, laity, social workers, first responders and other spiritual care providers facing community-level trauma. The five-part film series is accompanied by a discussion guide including written reflections by scholars, clergy and other experts.
In the series, Rev. Matthew Crebbin of Newtown Congregational Church, leads an important conversation with 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 St. Louis, MO.
Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old black mother and sharecropper, was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. Common in Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, who bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice.
The film exposes a legacy of physical abuse of black women and reveals Rosa Parks’ intimate role in Recy Taylor’s story. An attempted rape against Parks was but one inspiration for her ongoing work to find justice for countless women like Mrs. Taylor. The 1955 bus boycott was an end result, not a beginning.
The film has screened at Venice Film Festival where it received the Special Prize for Human Rights Award (2017) and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2018 NAACP Image Awards. It made its National Television Broadcast on STARZ July 2, 2018.
MILWAUKEE 53206 chronicles the harsh reality of those living in the zip code that incarcerates the highest proportion of African American men, up to 62%. Through the intimate stories of three 53206 residents, we witness the high toll that excessive sentencing and mass incarceration takes on individuals and families. Beverly Walker, a mother of five, tirelessly works to raise her children and free her husband Baron from an excessive prison sentence. Chad Wilson, a newly released citizen, confronts the uphill battle of finding viable employment with the help of Dennis Walton who works with fathers re-entering society from prison.
MILWAUKEE 53206 personalizes the crisis of mass incarceration and intimately depicts the destructive hold this system has on the families and the communities it affects. The stories in this film are not unique to 53206 and can be used to inspire change in ZIP codes across the country. MILWAUKEE 53206 can be used as a tool to educate and activate your community, house of worship, university, and/or workplace.
To date the film has been awarded the Special Recognition Award at the (In)Justice for All Film Festival 2017, Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival 2017, National Council on Crime and Delinquency Media for a Just Society Award and more. Additionally, on Thursday, September 13 the film screened at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The screening was followed by a panel moderated by Odyssey Impact’s Head of Social Impact and Communications, Melissa C. Potter, with Van Lathan, Senior Producer at TMZ and host of the Red Pill Podcast, Twyla Carter, Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, Rev. Derrick Harkins, Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs at Union Theological Seminary, Indira Henard, Executive Director at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and very special guests Baron and Beverly Walker, featured in the documentary. Baron was released from prison after 22+ years on August 17, 2018.
To learn more about MILWAUKEE 53206 visit milwaukee53206.com.
At first glance, Repeter ‘Pete’ Monsanto lives a glamorous life – a celebrity photographer who works with boldface names like Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean and others. But look deeper and you will see a man with father-sized hole in his life. When he was just six years old, Pete’s father, Peter Monsanto, was arrested and convicted of racketeering and sentenced to life without parole. Pete remembers vividly when he was just six years old and law enforcement burst into his home in the middle of the night and took his father away. Life had been good for him before that – his family lived in the luxury that comes with being the son of a drug kingpin – courtside seats at Madison Square Garden, great clothes, etc. Although Pete Sr. was running a criminal enterprise, he was also a constant and reliable presence in his son’s life. When you’re that young, you don’t know what your Dad does for a living, you just love him. When his dad was sent away, Pete’s life changed dramatically. His mom worked hard to hold the family together, in spite of a difficult journey that included bouts of entanglement in the shelter system. It’s a common tale for the children of the incarcerated, for whom Pete is now an advocate. He is a board advisor for We Got Us Now – a movement built by, led by & about CoIP (Children of Incarcerated Parents).
For 32 years, Pete and his father have worked to maintain a long distance relationship, mostly by weekly phone conversations. Pete Sr. is now 69, and since his incarceration he has maintained a disciplined routine, keeping mind and body strong while running in the prison yard. Trying to be a positive force in his son’s life in spite of his criminal past and its consequences. Pete is now the same age his father was when he was sent away. Inspired by his father’s strength and resilience, Pete will run the 2018 NYC marathon. His participation in the 26-mile race through their hometown is the subject of a new project by Transform Films©: “Run for His Life.”
What happens to your life when you are arrested for a non-violent crime but you’re stuck in jail only because you are so poor that you don’t have the money to bail yourself out? Every day in America, hundreds of thousands of legally innocent people sit behind bars simply because they cannot afford their bond amounts. More often than not, those who are trapped have their lives disrupted: they lose jobs, housing and children to foster care. And the upending of their lives has impacts that often stretch for months and years, even if they are found not-guilty. Trapped: Cash Bail in America provides an intimate look at the people ensnared in the cash bail trap, the activists and attorneys fighting to bring change to the system and the special interests who hope to keep money bail an everyday practice in America.
Coming September 2020 – If you are interested in hosting a screening in your community or partnering with us for this campaign, please contact [email protected]
The Odyssey Fellows program supports emerging faith leaders engaging difficult civic issues from faith perspectives. The pilot phase of the initiative began in Atlanta in Fall 2019, where M.Div. students from Columbia Theological Seminary and Candler School of Theology (Emory University) guided conversations around race and mass incarceration within their congregational contexts, utilizing documentary film resources provided by Odyssey Impact and their partners. Odyssey Fellowships operate within the field placement programs of each theological education institution, supporting the valuable intersection of innovative new leaders, the wisdom of educational institutions, and the on-the-ground opportunities of faith-related communities.
Through the course of an academic year, the Fellows’ work has two basic phases: in the fall, they engage various subsets of their congregation, using the power of documentary film to spark conversation on a selected civic issue, like mass incarceration, racial injustice, gender-based violence or gun violence.
These conversations, paired with engagement of those in the community most affected by the issue, shape discernment of exactly how the Fellows and the congregations feel moved to act. In the spring, congregations partner with other faith communities and justice organizations in their region to enact a larger response, in addition to expanded responses within their congregational contexts.
Odyssey believes that when emerging leaders are properly supported, they are often allowed to experiment with how they might engage on tough issues, with new community partners. An Odyssey Fellow will graduate with skills to engage all of society, and to be fluent in using film to create the opportunity for dialogue, new partnerships and faithful action, with the goal of making faith visible and valued in today’s complex world.
At the heart of Odyssey’s Impact mission is connecting people, communities, and organizations to the stories that uplift our society’s most pressing issues. Organizational and individual partners are vital to our work, and we are thankful to those working alongside us, particularly because their work is often behind the scenes. In particular, our partner relationships are critically important to our on-the-ground work, as they connect local changemakers, stakeholders, advocates, students and educators to our resources and enhance the work they do in their communities to drive positive social change.
Our productions and co-productions have reached people across the nation, catalyzing engagements and creating connections needed to drive change. Our films are seen at hundreds of local community institutions nationally; broadcast on STARZ, HBO, PBS and OWN, and seen on global online platforms like Netflix.
Interested in building connections in your community? Connect with us.