Author Archives: Hutch

Full Name: Davin Hutchins Website:
Info: I am an environmentalist and campaign strategist working to inspire teams to mobilize and confront challenges threatening life on this planet. My specialties are climate change, renewable energy, senior management, nonprofit communications, international social issues, social media engagement, visual media and digital products. I'm a change agent who has helped legacy organizations embrace the digital, agile future. Currently, I am a Senior Global Campaign Strategist for Greenpeace, working on climate change, renewable energy and food campaigns with an emphasis on campaign design, supporter engagement and digital platforms. I'm also part of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, trained by Al Gore for climate activism in 2017 and a SolarCity / Tesla Energy ambassador. I also regularly volunteer with progressive nonprofits in the Washington, DC area including Our Revolution, Sierra Club, 350.org, Sunrise Movement and many others. In my career, I've worked for and with CNN, PBS, ITVS, TechTV, Voice of America, Internews and Huffington Post. My projects have taken me across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Before my activist career, I was an award-winning journalist, digital strategist, video producer and consultant specializing in the Middle East, international social issues, media training, social media, digital platforms and agile project management. I have a solid track record in defining digital strategy, product launches and overseeing restructuring of legacy organizations.
Team Plant: Greenpeace’s Crack Team of Kids To Change The World

Team Plant: Greenpeace’s Crack Team of Kids To Change The World

It’s really gratifying to see a concept that was just and idea in a few people’s brains get translated into a solid script and then into a viral video. In online advocacy, this often doesn’t happen but a great idea and flawless execution paid off.

For the launch of Greenpeace’s Less Is More global campaign to reduce industrial meat and dairy production for the sake of the planet, three campaigners at Greenpeace International – Alessandro Saccoccio, Dawn Bickett and myself, brainstormed some ideas to really articulate how we’re trying to trigger a major shift in consumption patterns in a positive way. Continue reading

Planet 4: Greenpeace’s WordPress Based CMS Goes Live

Planet 4: Greenpeace’s WordPress Based CMS Goes Live

It’s really great to see a global organization like Greenpeace push itself to adopt best-in-class, open source technology to adapt to the changing appetites and gnat-like attention spans of audiences in the modern age. People have lots of avenues to channel their desire to preserve the natural world and lots of great non-profit organizations to choose from to save this planet. I wrote in an earlier post about my role in helping Greenpeace arrive at the wise decision to embrace the WordPress CMS after careful evaluating of other solutions including Drupal. It took the better part of a year but the Planet 4 open source CMS is now a tangible product for the world to see.

I had the good fortune of being the only global campaign strategist to sit on the Steering Committee of the Planet 4 project for more than a year, where about a dozen of us from our Engagement and IT departments helped steer the process of empowering a small internal team of talented project managers, designers and developers – the Planet 4 team – to deliver a nimble prototype that could be replicated by multiple offices. Continue reading

Adventures in Virginia’s Renewable Energy Fights

Adventures in Virginia’s Renewable Energy Fights

In summer and autumn 2017, there was a palpable sense of grassroots, progressive energy across the state of Virginia. After all, it was the first major state election cycle since the advent of the Trump administration. I had spent a lot of volunteer time in 2017 working on Fairfax County renewable energy issues at the county supervisor and school board level for much of the year and also speaking as a Climate Reality Leader.

Whenever I had the chance, I reminded people how critical it was to vote in the state election as most climate progress could only be achieved at the state level with Trump in the White House. In fact, fellow environmental activists managed to rally more than 100 people confront then gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam during one community event on his wishy-washy stance on the Atlantic Coast and WB Xpress pipelines. Citizens stressed that the projects would increase our carbon footprint and create more price increases for taxpayers. We let several Democrats know this cycle that business as usual and doing the bidding of Dominion Energy was no longer acceptable. Continue reading

Taking Your House Solar: Five Things You Should Know

Taking Your House Solar: Five Things You Should Know

Find out more about Tesla Energy SolarCity

It’s not easy being a solar guinea pig. But in the Commonwealth of Virginia, that’s what many of us have become. I’m talking about the thousands of others like me rolling the dice to solarize their home and see if it pays off despite an unfriendly atmosphere. At times, it can feel a little bit like you’re on your hamster wheel going around in circles. Solar energy in Virginia is still in its primordial phase.

The state ranks an abysmal 38th out of 50 states, according to Solar Power Rocks.  Virginia boasts anemic state tax credits, rock bottom renewable energy credits, weak RPS laws (which encourage diversification to more renewables) and lots of other impediments. We’re talking about a meager 241 megawatts compared to 1,591 megawatts in Massachusetts.  Much of this is due to the dominance of one power company, Dominion Energy (feel free to swing by their Facebook page to give them a piece of your mind after this post). They dictate not only what kind of power most customers get but also dictate terms to legislators in the capital of Richmond.

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Why Brazil’s rotten meat scandal is a big problem — and not just for Brazilians

Why Brazil’s rotten meat scandal is a big problem — and not just for Brazilians

Reprinted from greenpeace.org

Have you heard about the shocking rotten meat scandal that’s shaking the Brazilian society and economy this week? Over the weekend, Brazilian police unveiled an investigation exposing systemic bribing of Brazilian meat inspectors by major meat-packing companies (some of them top global companies) to conceal dirty meat by paying them to issue false “fit-to-eat” certifications.

Details emerging from the investigation include practices such as adding chemicals to meat to conceal rotting odor, adding pigs’ heads to sausages and adding cardboard to processed poultry as filler. Some families are afraid to eat the meat in their freezers. Local press is also reportingthat Brazil’s former agriculture minister admitted to caving into political pressure to appoint a livestock superintendent who would support the rotten meat cover-up scheme. Continue reading

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project: Getting Inspired to Lead On Climate

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project: Getting Inspired to Lead On Climate

Greetings from Denver! I’m still processing the incredibly inspiring three days I spent at the Colorado Convention Center with roughly 1,000 other people who were lucky enough to be selected as part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. As if I didn’t have enough to do working on fighting climate change at Greenpeace!

Seriously, the reason I began investigating the work of the Climate Reality Project is because my current Greenpeace portfolio keeps me focused squarely on food and sustainability issues internationally, especially our addiction to heavy-meat diets. Since Greenpeace doesn’t currently have an active food campaign in the United States, I find that I spend most of my time thinking about cows and chickens overseas.

Yet as an American citizen living in the age of a Trump presidency,  I felt compelled to devote some of my time in environmental battles certain to take place inside the United States in the next four years. I’m tremendously concerned about Trump’s threat to pull out of the historic Paris Climate Accords, his appointments of climate denier Scott Pruitt to the EPA (who thinks CO2 doesn’t contribute to global warming), former Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Department of Energy (who couldn’t even remember the department he now runs) and ex-Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson (a company that lied about climate impacts to the public) to the State Department. I just couldn’t sit on the sidelines. Since all politics are local, why not focus on civic engagement, local politics, renewable energy and climate change at the local level – in my case, the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.?

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Greenpeace Open Sourcing Its Digital Strategy with Planet 4

Greenpeace Open Sourcing Its Digital Strategy with Planet 4

Reprinted from Velocitize

Environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) Greenpeace is at the forefront when it comes to driving environmental change. With offices in more than 40 countries, Greenpeace is directly helping to move the needle on global environmental issues such as climate change and deforestation, and as such is one of largest and most visible NGOs in the world.

Its website, Greenpeace.org, plays a central role in its mission to save the planet by acting as a front door to educate users and as portal to encourage activism.

Greenpeace recently announced Planet 4 — the successor to Planet 3 and the codename for the redesign of Greenpeace.org — which aims to deliver a better content experience and provide a more streamlined navigation for its global supporters to take action. Continue reading

Why Greenpeace and WordPress need each other

Why Greenpeace and WordPress need each other

Greenpeace is about to embark on an exciting digital initiative called Planet 4 — a sea change in how we present our vision and campaigns to our supporters, volunteers and the wider world. Planet 4, or P4 for short, is our name for a next-generation content management system (CMS) and also the process of building it and getting to market. We want to do much more than “manage content” — we would like to redefine it, reshape it and make it much more user-centric where our supporters take center stage and the content reflects them as much as it does Greenpeace.

But “next-generation” isn’t entirely accurate because Planet 4 has a lineage and that lineage is WordPress. In essence, Planet 4 will be a customized version of the most widely used CMS on the planet with the intent on saving the planet.

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Why African Farmers Are Challenging International Aid Agencies

Why African Farmers Are Challenging International Aid Agencies

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Greenpeace Africa office in Johannesburg, South Africa, to work with our newly formed team to figure out what’s wrong with agriculture in Africa and how do we build a campaign around fixing it. One daunting but not insurmountable barrier was we really wanted to work with farmers in East Africa, specifically Kenya, but we didn’t have much by way of full-time staff. Most people were in Johannesburg. But we did have some great partners like the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network and Institute for Culture and Ecology.

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If Climate Change Is So Urgent, Why Aren’t We Talking About Cows?

If Climate Change Is So Urgent, Why Aren’t We Talking About Cows?

One thing that has always puzzled me about the climate movement is why we don’t see more digital ink devoted to cows. Cows, you say? Yes, cows. If you were to itemize lifestyle changes that the average person could adopt to make a significant impact on their climate footprint, essentially there would be four.

First, a person could invest in rooftop solar panels on the family home from providers like Vivint or SolarCity, store the energy in a lithium-ion battery like a Powerwall and sell the excess back to the local utility grid. Second, that person could purchase an electric vehicle like a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or Tesla Model 3 and make that their primary commuting vehicle. Third, he or she could call their financial advisor and ask to divest their stock and mutual fund portfolio from any fossil fuel companies and channel that money to sustainable investment products. And fourth, he or she could change the way they eat by adopting part-time vegetarianism and reducing consumption of beef and pork.

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‘Journalism alone’ not enough to combat ISIS media messages

‘Journalism alone’ not enough to combat ISIS media messages

WASHINGTON – The propaganda spread by ISIS is more powerful and sophisticated than Al Qaeda’s media messages of just a few years ago.  So now, “journalism alone” is not sufficient for the U.S. to combat the Islamic state’s media campaign.

That was the message from two U.S. international broadcasting executives, Shameem Rassam, Executive Producer of Alhurra Iraq, and Davin Hutchins, Director of Digital Content for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, at Monday’s CCLP Communication Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

Empowering future Arab leaders: There’s an app for that

Empowering future Arab leaders: There’s an app for that

When Radio Sawa launched as an FM radio station network in the Middle East in 2002, the Arab world had not really experienced anything like it. In many Arab countries, restrictive state control of radio licenses stifled innovation in music programming. But Radio Sawa provided an alternative of a mix of Arab and Western popular music coupled with on-the-hour objective newscasts and magazine shows on social issues.

Launching in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and the Palestinian Territories, Radio Sawa was the “cool channel” on the FM dial at the turn of the century. As the decade continued, a liberalization of the broadcast landscape and local investment in media created lots of competition. In addition, in key countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, terrestrial FM distribution was elusive. Some markets had never even heard of Radio Sawa or its unique news brand.

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Creating Digital Media To Confront Extremism, Inform Arab Audiences

Creating Digital Media To Confront Extremism, Inform Arab Audiences

WASHINGTON – At the board meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Davin Hutchins explained the digital strategy at Alhurra and Radio Sawa to BBG chairman Jeff Shell (Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group), Richard Stengel (former managing editor for Time and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department) and Middle East career diplomat Amb. Ryan Crocker.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors focused its meeting today on perceptions of the United States throughout the Middle East and took an in-depth look at the activities and accomplishments of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

The four-hour meeting at MBN’s headquarters examined the impact of U.S. international media in the region, including the operations of Radio Sawa and Alhurra Television, which marked its 10th Anniversary this month.

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‘Middle East Voices’ Wins Online Journalism Award

‘Middle East Voices’ Wins Online Journalism Award

The team from Middle East Voices won the 2012 Online News Association (ONA) award for “Topical Reporting, Large Site,” for their collaborative reporting technique during the Arab Spring.

To gain better insight how their innovative approach to journalism won them the award, I spoke with Davin Hutchins (former VOA Managing Editor, Middle East), Robert “Bob” Morris (VOA Chief of English, Middle East), Adam Martin (ODDI Manager of Technology Services), and Eric Pugh (ODDI Web Developer).

Here is the profile as penned by the Innovation Series Blog at the BBG… Continue reading

PBS MediaShift – ‘Syria Stories’ Uses On-Demand Illustrations to Tell Personal Wartime Stories

PBS MediaShift – ‘Syria Stories’ Uses On-Demand Illustrations to Tell Personal Wartime Stories

Published on PBS Mediashift with Mark Glaser.

This article was co-written by Brian Williamson. It’s a first-person account of a project by the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The news reports from Syria are dominated by casualty counts: 80 thousand… 90 thousand… 100 thousand people killed in the conflict.

Comprehension of Syria’s human suffering is desperately needed to keep the human cost in perspective. Journalists at the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) (part of the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors) felt that a different approach was needed to give an Arab-speaking audience a deeper, personal connection to individual Syrians trying to survive.

Syria Stories is a new online documentary project from MBN that aims to tell the stories of the ongoing Syrian civil war on a very personal, human scale.

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On Assignment: The Story Behind Middle East Voices

On Assignment: The Story Behind Middle East Voices

Middle East Voices is a unique social journalism project powered by Voice of America. Its goal is to inform, amplify voices, stimulate dialogue and foster understanding within, without and across man-made borders.

The site won the Topical Reporting category in the 2012 Online Journalism Awards (ONA) beating CNN and the New York Times (Nate Silver’s Political Calculus Blog).

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Samsung, iPhone, Nokia and the Next Arab Spring

Samsung, iPhone, Nokia and the Next Arab Spring

If there is to be another Arab Spring in the next few years, it will look markedly different from what has transpired in 2011-12. Social media and mobile phones clearly played a role. But satellite television was deemed the amplifier that took self-organizing groups on Twitter and Facebook and turned them into million-man (and women) marches and armed resistance. Next time the Arab Spring may be more subtle… and more powerful.

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Ashraf Khalil – Reflections on the Meaning Of Tahrir Square in Egypt

Ashraf Khalil – Reflections on the Meaning Of Tahrir Square in Egypt

Ashraf Khalil, an Egyptian-American journalist living in Cairo, literally wrote the book on Egypt’s Tahrir revolution. After writing for the Times of London and Foreign Policy magazine, in 2010, Khalil wrote Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation about the events leading up to the January 25 revolution that brought about the downfall of Hosni Mubarak.

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REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Egypt Returns to Tahrir Square

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Egypt Returns to Tahrir Square

Voice of America dispatched teams to Cairo to cover the historic presidential election between Mohamed Morsi and Ahmad Shafiq. The same week, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces assumed legislative powers as the Supreme Court dissolved the democratically elected parliament. Egyptians sporadically protested in Tahrir that week until after the elections, when tens of thousands marched on Tahrir in defiance of SCAF.

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Covering the Arab Spring With Tumblr In Syria and Bahrain

Covering the Arab Spring With Tumblr In Syria and Bahrain

Before we embarked on re-launching the award-winning Arab Spring blog, Middle East Voices, the Middle East team in VOA English actually learned some tough lessons in creating participatory micro-sites. We originally planned to created Middle East Voices on Tumblr but after two experiences, we realized we needed to use a more robust platform which turned out to be responsive WordPress.

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Analysis: An Agenda for Egypt’s Next President and His First 100 Days

Analysis: An Agenda for Egypt’s Next President and His First 100 Days

All eyes are on Egypt this week as the democratic birth-pangs that began with last year’s Tahrir Revolution seem to be undergoing their final convulsions. Two days of voting May 23 and 24 mark the main event – the heavily anticipated presidential election, the first after the ouster last of long-time president Hosni Mubarak. With this week’s round of votes and a presumed run-off next month, the nation of more than 80 million will decide on which man will set the tone of executive leadership in Egypt’s new era.

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Is the Arab Spring Over? – Reflections on Bahrain

Is the Arab Spring Over? – Reflections on Bahrain

Is the Arab Spring over? It’s a question on the minds of many observers of Middle East politics. Back in 2011, in Bahrain, Syria and Egypt, television stations broadcast scenes of defiant democracy movements and socially mobilized youth taking to the streets, in most cases peacefully demanding the removal of old systems along with their entrenched leaders. The scenes a year later look markedly different.

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The Future of Journalism, Public Diplomacy & Innovation: Five Rules to Follow

The Future of Journalism, Public Diplomacy & Innovation: Five Rules to Follow

What does the future of international broadcasting look like in the age of mobile? Should journalists focus on providing objective information even though information is no longer scarce in the age of the Internet? Should public diplomats focus on explaining a foreign policy or rather sparking discussion and promoting free speech even if it’s critical of that policy?

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Lessons from the Lab: Driving The Parking Lot Movie

Lessons from the Lab: Driving The Parking Lot Movie

IndiesLab Director Davin Hutchins runs through the digital successes achieved by the Independent Lensfilm, The Parking Lot Movie.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the mission of IndiesLab, it is a joint initiative of ITVS and PBS and our goal is to test and devise strategies for filmmaker success on emerging online distribution platforms. Our distribution partners include iTunes, Amazon Video-On-Demand, Hulu, YouTube, SnagFilms, PBS Video, and several other video-on-demand services on cable.

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The Story of Indego Africa

The Story of Indego Africa

This video was shot and produced by Davin Hutchins’ social change video platform Nomadsland.

“Indego Africa extends to Nomadsland our deepest and most sincere thank you for this video. We believe strongly in their innovative mission of joining forces with social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to curate, create and distribute visual media that tells inspiring stories in the age of Web 3.0. Nomadsland is also leading the field in affordable production, great storytelling, and cutting-edge cinematography.”

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Lessons from the IndiesLab: Digital Survey in Review

Lessons from the IndiesLab: Digital Survey in Review

This month, IndiesLab is launching a new feature, “Lessons from the Lab,” a regular blog with new marketplace data and observations about what’s working and what’s not in the digital space for indies. This month, we are building on the knowledge gleaned from our 2009 ITVS Digital Survey which polled nearly 1,000 independent filmmakers about their attitudes and strategies towards digital distribution and promotion. Here’s what we found:

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Predictions for Documentary Films and Digital Distribution

Predictions for Documentary Films and Digital Distribution

The Independent Digital Distribution Lab –– IndiesLab for short –– is a joint initiative of ITVS and PBS designed to help filmmakers navigate the marketplace and to generate revenue streams while also having a social impact. Indie Labs Director Davin Hutchins shares his first of five predictions about the future of films and digital distribution. Be sure to visit Beyond the Box over the next several months to hear more predictions.

As independent filmmakers proceed with their projects for 2010, I thought I’d take a crack at making some predictions for the New Year.

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The Vision of Dragonfly Expeditions

The Vision of Dragonfly Expeditions

This mini-documentary was produced for an ecotourism company in the Florida Everglades. Davin Hutchins shot the footage and completed the editing independently.

Dragonfly Expeditions explores the biologically diverse tropical regions of our world.  We specialize in travel to the Caribbean and to Central and South America.  From the Yucatan peninsula, down the Caribbean coast of Central America, the top of South America, the islands of the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Florida from Orlando to the Keys – everything that touches the Caribbean. We explore rainforests, historic capitals, coral reefs, volcanoes, Mayan temples, aquamarine shallows, remote backcountry and jungle canopies.

The Knight Commission Website – Aspen Institute

The Knight Commission Website – Aspen Institute

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy was a blue ribbon panel of seventeen media, policy and community leaders. Its purpose was to assess the information needs of communities, and recommend measures to help Americans better meet those needs. Its Report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, was the first major commission on media since the Hutchins Commission in the 1940’s and the Kerner and Carnegie Commissions of the 1960’s.

Davin Hutchins was hired as a digital consultant for the Aspen Institute as a web developer to build a usable, flexible website for Aspen staffers to feature aspects of the report coming to life across the United States in various communities.

Read the full site at KnightComm.org.

Kingston and Coal Lobby’s Grip on the EPA ‏

Kingston and Coal Lobby’s Grip on the EPA ‏

In March of 2000, during the last days of the Clinton administration, the EPA decided coal ash was a hazardous waste. Then, two months later, it flipped. If the EPA had stuck to its guns, the Kingston Coal Ash disaster in Tennessee might have been averted. Now, momentum is building to federally regulate coal ash.

Produced for The American News Project / Huffington Post.

Video Essay: America and Obama Look Forward (Election Night 2008)

Video Essay: America and Obama Look Forward (Election Night 2008)

Forty-five years after the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech, many Americans feel that dream has been realized with the election of Barack Obama as 44th president of the United States. The producers of the American News Project take a cinematic look back on this election season as we trace Obama’s footsteps in Colorado, Alabama, California, Virginia, Illinois and Washington D.C. As we look back, Obama reminds the nation to look forward to the challenges ahead.

Originally published on American News Project / Huffington Post.

Immigration: The Battle for Manassas ‏

Immigration: The Battle for Manassas ‏

The US Census Bureau estimates more than 10 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. In the absence of a national policy to stem the rise of illegals, some local governments are taking matters into their own hands. Virginia’s Prince William County has implemented the “rule of law” policy which allows officers to arrest people suspected of being in the US illegally and expedite deportation. And citizens are up in arms.

Produced for American News Project / Huffington Post.

Iraq: A Captain’s Return ‏

Iraq: A Captain’s Return ‏

After returning from two tours of duty in Iraq, Capt. Luis Montalvan is the highest ranking member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Despite post-traumatic stress disorder, he is campaigning to expose the Iraq War’s grim realities. He has been branded a coward and traitor, but this recipient of the Purple Heart is on a mission to expose what he calls “incompetent” leadership in the highest ranks of the military. Produced for American News Project / Huffington Post.

The Art of Flight – Documentary on Sudanese Refugees in Egypt

The Art of Flight – Documentary on Sudanese Refugees in Egypt

The Art Of Flight tells the story of refugees fleeing Sudan’s civil war for Egypt and one journalist’s struggle to get their story told. This feature-length film tells the story of three people who have found themselves struggling to survive in Egypt – a U.S.-financed dictatorship which has reluctantly become their home. The film delves deep into the nature of charity, the consequences of American empire and the price of transience.

The documentary debuted at AFI Fest Hollywood, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and Bangkok International Film Festival and is distributed by 7th Art Releasing.

Available on iTunes.