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An Inconvenient Truth, Multiplied by 18? We're On Board.

We're unabashed huge fans of Particpant Media - and not just because the Director of Screening Liberally, Wendy Cohen, has found a wonderful home there promoting progressive media (though that certainly doesn't hurt.) It's just that, between An Inconvenient Truth on the climate crisis, The Visitor on post-9/11 xenophobia and Standard Operating Procedure on Abu Ghraib and the mindset that allowed it, they're doing such a great job fulfilling their mission statement as a production company with a conscience, spreading a progressive message with a spoonful of sugar when necessary.

Which is why we were so overjoyed to read this:

Los Angeles-based entertainment company Participant Media has partnered with imagenation abu dhabi to create a $250 million fund that will finance 15 - 18 narrative features over five years, Jim Berk, CEO of Participant and Edward Brogerding, CEO of Abu Dhabi Comany and imagenation announced Wednesday.

A Lobby of Our Own

Tonight at the Liberal Lounge, we'll be watching Palin's speech, enjoying complimentary drinks and food, lounging in the garden, and generally treating ourselves the way lobbyists and power-brokers are often treated...but we'll be doing it our way.

That means it's a party for citizen journalists (bloggers), citizen delegates (activists), and citizen lobbyists -- all of us.

Participant Media is encouraging all of us to become Citizen Lobbyists -- with a new site tied to their upcoming film "Casino Jack."

Check it out -- and we'll be checking out clips from Participant tonight at the Lounge. We'll be watching scenes from Chicago Ten -- check it out below:

Why Maddow Matters

Why are we all so excited about Rachel Maddow? News of her being tapped for own MSNBC program has excited the progressive grassroots/netroots, leading Living Liberally's blog to be "All Maddow, All the Time" today in her honor.

So what's the big deal?

Well, first of all, Maddow demonstrations that someone can graduate from the world of "progressive media" into a role in the "mainstream" media. People across the country know Maddow -- if not from her stints on Air America, then from her confrontations with Pat Buchanan and take-down Joe Scarborough. She has become a brand, a recognizable name and face, and -- according to that ultimate arbiter, the bottom-line of business-driven MSNBC -- a bankable commodity.

This is a great success for progressive media, and the components of it that had promoted Maddow at different parts in her career. And it's a signal to other smart, funny, liberal personalities that there is an avenue to advance their careers and their ideas.

Second, Maddow is a team player. She respects and engages the progressive movement. We, at Living Liberally, experienced that friendship when she wrote a guest post for Screening Liberally on her recommended weekend video rentals, and when she joined us for our 5th Anniversary party in May.

When we've asked her to participate, she's participated. That's a great quality.

And finally, it a strong, left-leaning voice will reach the homes of many more Americans. Yes, there are satiric news programs that do a great job challenging right-wing dominance, and some broadcasters like Keith Olbermann who challenge the administration, but we're still short on proud progressive personalities in the spotlight. The right has them. Now we have one more too.

Part of building a progressive movement is ensuring there are structures that recognize and promote talent: whether candidates, organizers or commentators. Maddow's next move shows that some of these structures are in place...we need to keep making them work.

And we need to tune in to MSNBC on Monday, September 8th at 9pm to help keep Maddow on the air.

Congratulations.

Rachel Maddow Defeats Joe Scarborough

The Young Turks Congratulate Maddow on the new Show

Rachel Maddow on Maddow Mania

Screening Liberally Watch of the Day

Baracky's back in Baracky II. Check it.

Trouble the Water...coming soon

Screening Liberally is proud to announce that we'll be helping promote the film Trouble the Water as it rolls out its release nationwide.

Check out the current dates in NYC, LA & SF -- and more to come -- and return to our Trouble the Water / Screening Liberally page for more updates.

The Power of Film and My Picks

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The Power of Film

I love movies and I believe they can change the world. Seeing someone's face, hearing someone's voice brings you into a story and can inspire you in a way that no other media can. Films are transformative--you can briefly feel what is like in someone else's shoes. Films move someone from apathy to inspiration to action.

In an era of conglomerates and ownership, we have to rely on documentarians to show the stories rarely seen in the mainstream. And with the Internet, documentaries are more easily available, and we can more easily take part in this issues raised in the film.

My Film Picks

Philadelphia: This fiction film was based on a true story and it's one of the first big budget, big star movies to address AIDS and homosexuality. I was 12 years old when I saw the film in theaters with my family and remember feeling so devastated and speechless afterward. I certainly didn't know very much about AIDS, and I remember so clearly leaving the theater and not being able to describe how amazed I was--not only at the story but that a film could have such an impact. That film had such a profound impact on me and, for me, exemplifies what a film can do.

Promises: Filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg travels though the West Bank and Jerusalem to bring Israeli and Palestinian children together first through letters and phone calls and then in person. The film is such a personalized look at Middle East conflict and offers hope for resolution while showing how much hatred runs between both sides. There is remarkable scene of two soccer matches: one in a Palestinian refugee camp and one in Jerusalem. The boys are playing the same game and have the exact same excitement and emotion and then devastation when they lose. The games are cut together and it shows us how these boys are so similar but their worlds are completely disparate.

My Left Breast: This is a film about Gerry Rogers' journey as she battles breast cancer and turns to a video camera for catharsis and comfort. Gerry takes us to chemotherapy and family gatherings, and speaks to us in the middle of the night about how scared she is to lose this fight with her body. It is such an honest and intimate film and with Gerry's wit and candor it left me with the most inspiring outlook on life. It is certainly one of the films I most return to.

Murderball: This is such a mesmerizing and edge-of-your-seat sport documentary. Murderball is the non-commercial name for wheelchair rugby played by quadriplegic young men. It is a full contact, trilling game and this film shows us how the sport gives hope and meaning to the young men who have become disabled by tragic accidents. There is so much excitement and laughter throughout the film, and most amazingly, the film doesn't take the melodramatic, teary message route about living with a disability. These guys want to win medals; they are not looking for anyone's pity. And the thrill and suspense of the matches rival any fiction sport film out there.

Something Other Than Other: This experimental short film is one of the most beautiful and powerful I have seen. Filmmakers Jerry A. Henry and Andrea J. Chi made a video diary as they were pregnant with their first child and they use Super 8mm to give it the look and feel of old home movies. But they add a gorgeous and slightly unsettling, disjointed feeling throughout--much like the experience they had when their child was first born. My little cousin is biracial and this film is such moving short about what it is like to grow up biracial in America.

Some films I couldn't leave out...

Four Little Girls

Born into Brothels

Street Fight

Hotel Rwanda

Network

A Question of Silence