In the wake of global turmoil and Hollywood’s re-examination of its codes of conduct, the launch of Artists for Change, Artists4Change.org, the non-profit that is committed to playing a critical role in stimulating social change through film and digital content, arrives at a critical time. Founder Julia Verdin, an accomplished producer and award-winning director, brought together a group of like-minded film industry individuals in her belief that the power of collective voice can make a change. Verdin says, “Those of us who work in the film and TV industries carry an incredible responsibility in these troubled times”.
Artists for Change plans to engage audiences through narrative media – spanning film and TV, podcasts, VR and webseries— to create a deeper understanding and empathy for social problems and inspire audiences to use their voice and support the issues.
Veteran film industry executive, Gary Dartnall, Board Member for Artists for Change, passionately supports the organization’s goals. “I think important issues with little attention can benefit from visual stories, both narrative and documentary, to send a message to the world,” says Dartnall, “Artists for Change plans to use the power of film to inspire change.”
Supported by donations, crowdfunding, a range of funders, grants and active volunteers, Artists for Change’s first project “Lost Girls: Angie’s story” deals with the topic of sex trafficking inspired by Verdin’s volunteering at a runaway children’s shelter in the San Fernando Valley where she observed many of them had been trafficked. “I had always thought that this was something that happened in third world countries and so I began to do research on this. I quickly started to understand what a huge growing problem this is in the US. I decided I had to try and do something to help raise awareness on this.” Other proposed Artists for Change subjects include school bullying, homelessness and the opioid crisis.
Short documentaries will accompany the feature films as companion pieces to convey more facts through interviews with experts working in the field. These shorts and PSA’s will be made available online and given to NGO’s, schools, and institutions to support their efforts.
Artists for Change will also hold educational events for filmmakers year-around to encourage them to think about the content that they put out into the world and use their voices to contribute to positive change. The organization will work with filmmakers to develop projects that shine a light and offer solutions to amplify a voice as well as promote the use of film as a powerful education resource. Teaching and learning tools and tutorials will be delivered by leading industry practitioners. Verdin says “Education and awareness promotes action.”
Artists for Change’s Board of Directors includes entrepreneur Sean Michael Acosta, production executive Halil Sevis, veteran film executive Gary Dartnall, marketer/publicist Deborah Kolar, producer/film financier Jason Piette and attorney Lorraine D’Alessio.
Artists for Change’s advisory board in includes film producer Martha De Laurentiis, financier Erik B. Haugen, actors Olivia d’Abo, Christopher McDonald and Jamie Harris, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julian Lennon, costumer designer Camille Jumelle, film festival programmer Ritesh Mehta, journalist and designer Normandie Keith, entertainment marketing and distribution executive Jack Teetor, Advisor to top CEOs Diane Rouffie Defrancisci, writer/director John Penney, producer Katy Haber and film director Peter Medak.
For more information or to register or donate online, please visit Artists For Change site