Lights, Camera, Social Action!
With films such as Food, Inc. and Waiting For Superman, Participant Media uses film as a vehicle to create communities focused on change. But how do you keep the momentum of a movement after the film has run its course? Experts in the field, including some of those involved in the social action campaigns for the aforementioned films, will illustrate how a movie’s social action can successfully live on long after the film’s release. Through the use of traditional and new media, online and mobile technology, we will demonstrate the how-to's of sustaining local, national and global movements that began with your film.
Liana Schwarz is Participant Media’s Senior Vice President, Social Action, where she oversees the creation and implementation of advocacy campaigns for Participant’s films.
Prior to joining Participant, Liana served as Political Director for Laurie and Larry David and as Advisor to the David Family Foundation, where she oversaw the David’s political and charitable activities. Liana served as Executive Director of the Stop Global Warming Virtual March (www.stopglobalwarming.org), and played a strategic role in all of Laurie David’s global warming projects including the Academy Award®-winning An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie David and Sheryl Crow’s Stop Global Warming college tour, HBO’s Too Hot Not to Handle and two books. She was also Special Advisor to Earth to America, the first of its kind comedy special about global warming, which aired on TBS in 2005.
Starting in 2001 Liana also served as Director of Special Initiatives for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where she created and implemented unique programs that intersected communications, development and advocacy to promote NRDC’s priorities and oversaw the organization’s outreach and communications to the entertainment industry. She also served on the staff advisory committee for the NRDC Advocacy Center in Washington D.C.
In 2002 and 2004 Liana was the NRDC Producer of Earth to LA, a night of music, message and comedy, which raised more money than any other event in the organization’s history. In 2003 she executive produced The Rolling Stones' Turn Up the Heat to Fight Global Warming, a free concert in partnership with NRDC, which garnered unprecedented media attention to the issue of global warming.
During the 2000 presidential campaign cycle, Liana was the Director of Entertainment Industry Outreach for the California Democratic Coordinated Campaign, where she served as the liaison to the Hollywood community. Prior to that she was the Director of Special Projects and Special Assistant to the CEO for the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Liana was a senior associate with Schrayer and Associates, Inc., a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C. that specializes in strategic planning, grassroots organizing and political strategies for non-profit organizations, trade associations and businesses.
Liana was recently featured in W magazine’s May 2007 feature on West Coast power brokers keeping Hollywood connected with Washington. She is active in many local and national political and philanthropic organizations. She is a founding member of the NRDC’s Global Leadership Council. She has served as a Salvin Fellow for the Anti-Defamation League and served two terms as Chairwoman of the LA Jewish Federation’s Kolot Division. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona and studied at the University of London.
Wendy Cohen joined Participant in November of 2007 and has developed innovative online and mobile initiatives for Charlie Wilson’s War, The Visitor, Food, Inc. and The Cove. She lead the digital component of social action campaign for Waiting for “Superman”
Wendy was born and raised in Montreal and graduated from Concordia University's Communications and Culture Studies program. Prior to Participant, Wendy was the first Community Manager for The Huffington Post in New York City and she co-founded the Screening Liberally film series, of which she remains the National Director. Wendy began her work in film in 2004 as the Programmer and Outreach Coordinator for the Media That Matters Film Festival and Media That Matters: Good Food project. She also worked as the researcher and creative assistant on The Art of the Documentary (New Riders Press) and currently serves on the board of Why Tuesday? She has been the co-curator of the Netroots Nation screening series since 2007 and continues to be a guest lecturer and panelist at festivals and schools around the country. In 2009, Wendy produced “Every Third Bite”, an award-winning short documentary about bees hailed as a “better bee movie” by New York Magazine. Wendy is a recipient of the 2010 New Leaders Council’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Award and was recently profiled in the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.