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Independent Filmmaker to Present Documentary Workshop Focusing on First-person Storytelling

If there's a story you've been wanting to tell, there's a documentary workshop coming up that you don't want to miss. "The Power of I — First Person Storytelling in Times of Crisis," is being led by award-winning independent filmmaker Judith Helfand.

"This is really a call out and a shout out and a deep invitation to Detroit storytellers," Helfand said. "Those who

Documentary filmmaker Judith Helfand

(courtesy, Freep Film Festival)

are in the process of either making songs or making media, mixed media, who are photographers, who are writers, who are comic strip makers."

Pretty much anyone, Helfand says, who works in an industry that lends itself to first person storytelling.

"You have a story to tell, too," said Helfand. "Are you telling them? Are you utilizing this moment? Are you turning the 'I' into a 'we'? Are you turning the 'we' into the 'I' to really make it into a bite-size thing that people can feel and see and use?"

In case you're still wondering if you have a story to tell, Helfand says you do. She, in fact, used a very painful experience to make what eventually became her Peabody award-winning documentary 'A Healthy Baby Girl'.

"I was deciding what kind of films am I gonna make and what kind of filmmaker I am. It kinda got decided for me. You know, I have to go home and face the most painful thing I could ever not imagine, and the most painful thing that my mother could imagine, and tried to believe would never happen to us, which was the drug that she took cause she wanted me so badly, turned out to be a carcinogenic, toxic chemical that the pharmaceutical company knew was carcinogenic, knew it was ineffective, kept it on the market."

The three-day virtual workshop is scheduled for October 22nd through the 24th. As part of the event, Helfand and her guest presenters will take participants behind the scenes of their projects.

"We're gonna have the filmmaker who made the beautiful film 'The Feeling of Being Watched' on opening night, and ... she's gonna bring excerpts of the impact and how they're using it in the world. We're going to have the Oscar-nominated film 'Strong Island' and Yance Ford, the director, is gonna join us."

Helfand is the 2020 Bob Allison Endowed Chair in Media at Wayne State University, which is presenting the three-day event in partnership with the Freep Film Festival.

For more information, click here.

Be sure to tune in to WWJ Newsradio 950 every Friday for my weekly look at the movies.

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee


Critics Choice Association

African American Film Critics Association

National Association of Black Journalists


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