Iraq for Sale Education and Outreach Program
By Jim Miller

The education and outreach done by Brave New Foundation is an important part viewing the film. We do not rely on traditional distribution because we have found it more effective to reach people through schools, neighborhood organizations and their own homes. Traditional distribution does not allow for the conversation and discussion that is necessary after viewing one of our documentaries. We know that issues do not go away with the screening of a film, so we have built an infrastructure to keep the work around the issues alive and growing. Our strategy relies heavily on our e-mail list of 180,000, our 1400 Field Producers from across the country, our alternative publicity approaches, and our education and outreach with partner organizations.

 

 
Lunch at Brave New Films
 

Starting on Sunday October 8th we are planning a week of House Meetings with the theme 'Stand For Patriotism Over Profit'. We are planning on at least 7,000 house meetings around the country with each house party having an average of 75 people so that we would reach over 500,000 individuals in one week. In addition we will have education and outreach seminars with our partner organizations and in turn, these organizations will disseminate our film, education, and message to their memberships. We have 75 partner organizations with varied core concerns including veterans groups, youth organizations, business leaders, churches, schools, human rights activists and many others for the Education and Outreach Program.

One of the new outreach elements that we have added to the theatrical and DVD release is voter registration. We will have voter registration sign-ups at all Friday-Sunday showings of the film in the theatres. Everyone who receives a copy of the DVD will find a voter registration form inside the case. We will also have voter registration forms available at all the house parties. We feel that voter participation is one of the easiest and most important methods of civic participation. It is the first thing we will teach participants in our Education and Outreach Program; your voice starts with your vote. Our goal is to register 10,000 voters. These voters will be registered from a combination of theatrical screening sign-ups and the 100,000 voter registration forms that will be sent out with the DVD. A big effort will be made to get voter registration done with both youth and Latino groups. As part of our effort with Latino groups, the DVD will be subtitled and dubbed in Spanish.

Another big part of our Education and Outreach Program will be the Action Guide which we are formulating to be a 'go to' for civic engagement on the topics of human rights and war profiteering. So far we have the help of Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Center for Corporate Policy, CorpWatch, World Policy Institute, and several other prominent organizations. Each organization has contributed a piece that contains their specific action plan on the issues of human rights abuses and war profiteering in Iraq. This Action Guide will give viewers an opportunity to learn exactly what they can do to shift attitudes and make a change. The guide will be sent to organizations in booklet form and will also be available as a download on the Internet. It will be set-up so that seasoned activists, and people who are newly inspired to participate, are given concrete ways to make a difference. We would like the people who view our film to continue their advocacy, so the contact information and mission statement of each organization will be included in the Action Guide. As part of our efforts in the Latino community, the Action Guide will also be printed in Spanish.

The 'House Meeting' week with the theme, 'Stand For Patriotism Over Profit', is where we will be able to have the greatest effect because people will get a chance to discuss the film after the screening. Each evening will feature a conference call with Producer/Director Robert Greenwald as well as some people who are in the film and leaders of partner organizations. The seven days will be broken up for organizations as follows: Religious, Human Rights, Workers, Youth, Businesses, Veterans, and Get Out The Vote. Each day will have specific speakers relating to the theme, but groups and individuals can choose any day they would like to have their screening.

We will help create, increase and strengthen mutually beneficial alliances with, and between, partner organizations to reinforce their messages and increase their efficacy. The most important thing that we accomplish is activating citizens to do something more than just watch a politically charged film and say ‘Oh my’; we make certain that our viewers know they can contribute to make the difference. Voting is the first step, but it is also extremely important to keep people activated once they are aware by detailing how they can form groups and community organizations that will hold the US government accountable to being the leader by example in the International community.

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