Antioch in Conversation Explores the Intersection of Documentaries and Social Change


Paul Lynch, CEO of Cage Free Productions

Antioch in Conversation’s premier event on Wednesday, March 12, “Documenting the Face of Homelessness and Poverty in Santa Barbara,” brought home the point that the power of digital media – and in particular short documentaries – can be a leading way of generating dialogue about social issues and bringing about change. The two-hour event was the first offering of AUSB’s new Antioch in Conversation series, a platform designed to engage the public in dialogue about social issues that affect our community.

During the evening, an audience of more than 60 people viewed a series of AUSB student documentaries, several professional documentary clips, and a presentation on the history of digital media and its impact. 

Antioch in Conversation panelists (l-r): Geoff Green, Margaret Lazarus, and Alice O'Connor.
Antioch in Conversation panelists (l-r): Geoff Green, Margaret Lazarus, and Alice O’Connor

The audience was then invited to participate in a panel discussion between Geoff Green, Executive Director of Fund for Santa Barbara; Margaret Lazarus; academy award winning documentary filmmaker; and Alice O’Connor, professor of history at UCSB. Paul Lynch, CEO of Cage Free Productions, added to the discourse via a filmed interview. Panelists and audience members engaged in a lively conversation about the problem of poverty and homelessness, how media can produce a change in social attitudes by appealing to the mind and the heart at the same time, and how to make a difference locally. 

The four five-minute films created by AUSB students selected to be screened were: Homeboy, by Jamie Fortin; A New Wave of Hunter-Gatherers, by Katharina BollUncovered Students, by Elizabeth Garden Danielsen; and Johanna Q. Newly Homeless by Rebecca Anglin. An additional student film that won an award but was not shown was The Bottom 25 Percent by Steven Wagener. The five student films were chosen for their success in the following categories: storytelling, technical advancement, inspiration, education, and thematic spirit.

A film humanizing the problem of poverty.
A film humanizing the problem of poverty

AUSB is thankful for our panelists and the community members that came out and added their voice to the conversation. Learn more about Antioch in Conversation here.

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