The 2015 festival will explore how media can build trust and empathy through individual voices and community systems. Our topics this year:


  • Race, Ethnicity & Indigenous Issues
  • Gender & Sexuality


  • Governance & Accountability
  • Environmental Sustainability

The weeklong Media Rise Festival in Washington, D.C. includes a pitch night for media innovators, a video challenge connecting filmmakers with local nonprofits, a forum of panel talks, a youth festival for teens and educators, and other community-driven events, including film screenings and workshops.


Monday, September 28

Welcome Party

Dickson Wine Bar

903 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001

7:00pm - 9:00pm

Celebrate the kick-off to the 2015 Media Rise Festival!
Ages 21 and up. Cash bar + light fare provided. FREE to attend.

Tuesday, September 29

WORKSHOP: What is the Role of Media in Promoting Civic Engagement?

OpenGov Hub

1110 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005

12:00pm - 2:00pm

It is easier than ever before for citizens to engage around issues they care about through the media- either as consumers, producers or both. New media outlets are using innovative ways to generate content; while social media is connecting people, ideas and movements. How can media best promote sustainable civic engagement? What are examples of new and creative tools that the media are using to engage citizens? How is all of this shifting ideas of governance and accountability? Join us for a dynamic, interactive workshop during which we'll think through these issues, brainstorm on new ideas and build new relationships with others around media and civic engagement across the world.

FILM: "The Mask You Live In"

Busboys and Poets - Brookland

625 Monroe St NE, Pearl Bailey Room, Washington, DC 20017

6:00pm - 8:00pm

The Mask You Live In (runtime: 1h 37m) follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Pressured by the media, their peers, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and environment, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men. Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it. The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

Wednesday, September 30

Workshop: Visual Storytelling for Environmental Nonprofits

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004

12:00pm - 2:00pm

Visual media has the power not only to illuminate problems, but also highlight solutions and inspire action. Join us for an interactive workshop with expert environmental media makers to learn how to create greater impact using visual stories. Workshop facilitators include Steve Ellington, Filmmaker, Environmental Investigation Agency; Alexandra Garcia, Executive Director, International League for Conservation Photographers; Allen Carroll, Program Manager of Storytelling, Esri; and Meaghan Parker, Senior Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson Center.

Film: Watermark

Carnegie Institution for Science

1530 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

6:00pm - 9:00pm

Watermark (runtime: 92 mins.) is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted-until it’s gone.

Thursday, October 1

Workshop: Problematic Perceptions

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center

1632 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

12:00pm - 2:00pm

What is the role of media in shaping voices and identity around race, ethnicity and indigenous issues? In the workshop, we'll begin with a collective brainstorm and gallery walk, in which participants discuss how media shapes their perceptions about people of color. Through the workshop, we will attempt to answer: What is our responsibility as storytellers, artists and designers in re-framing these perceptions? The workshop will be hosted against the backdrop of “IMPLICIT BIAS: Seeing the Other - Seeing Our Self,” an art exhibition presented by Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery and Busboys and Poets.

FILM: "RISERS" premiere

Landmark E Street Cinema (Auditorium 6)

555 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

7:30pm - 9:30pm

A short film and portrait series exploring the lives of undocumented immigrant youth in the U.S. The film (runtime: 30 minutes) centers around Brenda Perez and Gerson Quinteros, two undocumented students at the University of the District of Columbia, as they deliver a presentation on how to navigate challenges facing undocumented immigrant youth. Brenda and Gerson discuss issues ranging from youth activism to language access. As they present, the film cuts away to scenes of immigrant life. The audience is introduced to a young poet named Aura Alvarez, activists from Casa de Maryland, and youth organizers from Many Languages One Voice. Though the film’s message is directed to a young generation of immigrants, it also educates a larger audience unfamiliar with the issues facing these young individuals.

Friday, October 2

Youth Media Rise

Richard Wright Charter School

770 M St SE, Washington, DC 20003

2:00pm - 5:00pm

Join us for a festival-within-a-festival for youth (ages 13 to 18), media educators, and engaged parents on critical media literacy education and using meaningful media for social good. Participants will have the opportunity to continue working with their small-group collaborative teams to apply the skills from these workshops on real-world socially relevant, meaningful media projects.

Pitch Night & Doc-in-a-Day


2477 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

7:00pm - 10:00pm

Pitch Night kicks off the festival’s weekend events. The event is designed to support storytellers, designers, creatives and entrepreneurs dedicated to advancing positive social change through media. Finalists will have the chance to pitch their proposals for the chance to win cash and in-kind prizes to make their ideas a reality.

Pitch Night is followed by the screening and awards ceremony for Doc-in-a-Day, presented in partnership with Stone Soup Films, a competition that invites local filmmakers to create high-impact, high-quality videos for local nonprofits in just 48 hours.

Saturday, October 3


Impact Hub DC

419 7th St NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20004

8:30am - 5pm

A daylong series of talks, presentations and workshops, convening people who are passionate about creating positive change through media. The forum is designed for information-sharing on case studies, best practices, and requests for collaboration in the media and social impact sectors.


Randi Gloss


Emily Cadei

Political Correspondent, Newsweek

Mandar Apte

Co-Founder & Global Partnerships Director, Media Rise

Herbert Niles

Deputy Director, DC Office of Motion Picture and Television Development

Kate Watts

Managing Director, Huge DC

Lisa Kaneff

Founder, The Next Chapter Consulting

Allen Carroll

Program Manager – Storytelling, Esri

Rodney Johnson

Program Facilitator, One Common Unity

Joan Michelson

‎CEO, Executive Editor & Host, Green Connections Media

Peter O'Brien

Film & Media Consultant

Owen Davies

Film & Media Consultant

Eliane Sussman

Director of Strategic Alliances, PVBLIC Foundation

Sarah duPont

President, Amazon Aid Foundation

Peter (PJ) Yesawich, Jr.

Founder + Executive Director, Lost + Found

Tasneem Raja

Senior Digital Editor, NPR Code Switch

Jordi Torrent

Project Manager, Media Literacy, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

Alex Garcia

Executive Director, International League for Conservation Photographers

Liz Norton

Executive Director, Stone Soup Films

Nicole Anand

Associate Director of Strategy, Reboot

Renee Hobbs

Founder & Director, Media Education Lab

Adam Segal

Co-founder & CEO, cove

Blair Glencorse

Executive Director, Accountability Lab

Monica Gray

Co-Founder & President, DreamWakers

Michelle Santos

Director of Journalism and Media Arts, Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts

Kelli M. Anderson

Founder & Publisher, Sojournals

Adam Kaplan

Senior Media Advisor, USAID Office of Transition Initiatives

Laura Donnelly Gonzalez

Founder & COO, Latinitas

Srivi Ramasubramanian

Associate Dean for Climate and Inclusion & Associate Professor of Communication, Texas A&M University

Ashley Simmons

Program Director, Gandhi Brigade Youth Media

Meaghan Parker

Senior Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson Center

Marc Carr

Founder, Social Solutions

Steve Ellington

Video and Editing Manager, Environmental Investigation Agency

Chenjerai Kumanyika

Assistant Professor, Clemson University & Journalist, Uprising Radio

Hawah Kasat

Artist, Yogi, & Executive Director, One Common Unity

Andy Fernandez

Filmmaker, RISERS

Jennifer Lentfer

Director of Communications, IDEX – International Development Exchange

Erica Schlaikjer

Co-Founder & Creative Director, Media Rise






Media Partners


Erica Schlaikjer
Srivi Ramanasubramanian
Mandar Apte

Peter O'Brien

Owen Davies

Blair Glencorse
Ryan Lindsay
Marc Carr
Kelli Anderson
Eleanor Hall
Suzannah Simmons
Kevon Paynter
Abigail Baxendale
Kelli Shaw
Linda Walters
Karolle Rabarison
Courtney Preston

Natalie Eyerman
Nour Tabet
Roti Aganga-Williams

Ann Li
Erik Moe
Katie Gach
Sharon Hartzell