Netroots Nation!

We are jazzed to announce that Waking the Sleeping Giant has its next big activist screening lined up: Netroots Nation in Atlanta (August 10-13)! We don’t have the specific time and date yet, but we do know you can register for Netroots and get all sorts of info about the rest of the agenda at the Netroots Nation website.

Folks who have already seen the film know that Black Lives Matter charging the stage at the Netroots Nation in 2015 (as well as BLM activists staging similar protests elsewhere) is a key moment in Waking the Sleeping Giant. It will be very cool to share the film there this year with a bunch of activists who are working hard to do cross-movement organizing different and better than its been done in the past.

 

Reminder: Montpelier, DC, & Denver Premieres Are This Week

If you live in Washington, D.C. or Denver here's your chance to catch Waking the Sleeping Giant on the big screen. And we've got some great news: Kai Newkirk and Amirah Sequeira (both of whom are in the film) will join filmmaker Jacob Smith for the Q&A after the D.C. premiere.

350.org founder Bill McKibben introducing Waking the Sleeping Giant to an audience of 800 at the People's Summit in Chicago last weekend.

350.org founder Bill McKibben introducing Waking the Sleeping Giant to an audience of 800 at the People's Summit in Chicago last weekend.

Waking the Sleeping Giant heads to Montpelier, the capitol of Vermont, the evening before the Vermont State Legislature’s veto session kicks off. This special presentation, hosted by Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, State Senator Chris Pearson, and State Representative Mary Sullivan, also includes a Q&A with filmmaker Jon D. Erickson.

Then the Giant heads to Washington, D.C. for a screening at the E Street Cinema on June 21.

And then the film is Colorado-bound, with a screening at the Sie Film Center on June 23. There are only two dozen tickets left!

 

 

Thank you Bill McKibben and The People's Summit!

Despite the 10pm start time, eight hundred progressive activists found themselves in the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago's McCormick Place convention center to see the People's Summit screening of Waking the Sleeping Giant. It was awesome. Huge hats off to the extraordinary Bill McKibben for his introduction to the film, to the People's Summit for inviting us to participate, and to National Nurses United for coordinating such a massive and successful event. And thanks to all of you who stayed up so late to see the film and then made a point of telling us how much you appreciated it afterward.

We can't wait to share it with more folks in more cities. Next week: Montpelier, Washington DC, and Denver.

Three more screenings: Montpelier, D.C., and Denver

Waking the Sleeping Giant heads to Montpelier, the capitol of Vermont, the evening before the Vermont State Legislature’s veto session kicks off. This special presentation, hosted by Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, State Senator Chris Pearson, and State Representative Mary Sullivan, also includes a Q&A with filmmaker Jon D. Erickson.

Then the Giant heads to Washington, D.C. for a screening at the E Street Cinema on June 21.

And then the film is Colorado-bound, with a screening at the Sie Film Center on June 23. Fewer than half of the tickets are left!

Sold Out in Brattleboro

Another screening, another sold out house. Thank you Latchis Theater for hosting the screening on Saturday after Brattleboro's famous Strolling of the Heifers parade. And thanks to the Brattleboro Film Festival for partnering with the theater to make it happen.

Special thanks also to Rights & Democracy VT and Rights & Democracy NH for helping folks answer the critical ”so now what do we do?!?!" question after the show, and to Ethan Zuckerman from the MIT Center for Civic Media for attending, and for much inspiration in the early days of production.

We can't wait to share the film with audiences in other parts of Vermont, as well. Stay tuned for more screening announcements!

A sold out audience in Brattleboro's stunning (and historic) Latchis Theater.

A sold out audience in Brattleboro's stunning (and historic) Latchis Theater.

The Giant Heads to Vermont

We had a great time at the Vermont premiere on Friday evening. Many the film’s financial supporters were among the audience in the sold out theater, including some of the earliest and some of the biggest donors, as well as a bunch of folks that had only recently learned about the film and wanted to check it out. We are grateful for the responses at the Q&A and in the messages we received afterward, which included:

"Perfect blend of inspiration & reality for troubled times."

"Must see film. Inspires us to keep on organizing."

"... it has the potential to galvanize diverse groups and individuals."

"Powerful film! Thank you!"

"Thank you for making this very moving film of the voices of people on the front lines of struggle, and the front lines of building a progressive movement. This is big. I especially appreciated that they devoted a significant focus to intersectionality, including Black Lives Matter."

"It is an important film and it needs to be seen by all who believe We are the Change We Believe In and it needs to be seen by those who believe they have no voice."

Next up: Brattleboro on Saturday, June 3 (at 4pm after the Strolling of the Heifers parade) at the historic Latchis Theater. Tickets are free but your best bet is to grab them in advance. Director Jon Erickson will be there for a Q&A afterward.

We’ve got more Vermont screenings in the works. Stay tuned!

Sold out crowd at Burlington's Main Street Landing theater.

Sold out crowd at Burlington's Main Street Landing theater.

What Are People Saying About Waking the Sleeping Giant?

An “incendiary new film”
    - Movie-Blogger.com

“Jacob Smith, Jon Erickson, and Kathryn Goldman’s ambitious new film … point[s] to a turbulent time – but also, perhaps, a singular moment of opportunity, if coalitions and alliances can unite sometimes disparate voices in a coherent public conversation, to forge a mandate for effective change.”
    - Jay Craven, Vermont Public Radio

“Giant seriously rouses when it looks at Black Lives Matter or the story of West Virginian Sabrina Shrader.”
    - Georgia Strait

The filmmakers invite us to see the people in this film “as an arm, maybe a little toe, of the rousing giant, joining unionists, Black Lives Matter activists, academics, environmentalists, LGBTQ advocates, the quite religious and the not religious, all manner of just plain decent hard-working people, red staters, blue staters, rural dweller and urbanites, and yes, one or two quoted members of the liberal media, in channeling [the] anger into a politics of inclusivity.”
    - The Tyee

“Waking the Sleeping Giant is so important. It’s turning to the people on the ground. It is the good kind of reality TV.”
    - Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

The Sleeping Giant: Vermont Premiere on Friday!

We're just days away from the Vermont premiere of Waking the Sleeping Giant. If you can get to the Main Street Landing Film House this Friday evening (May 26), we'd love to see you there!

Producers Jon Erickson and Jacob Smith will both be on hand for the event and will stick around after the screening for some Q&A.

Reserve your free tickets!

The Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center on the Burlington waterfront.

The Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center on the Burlington waterfront.

DOXA Documentary Film Festival: Travelogue

We want to offer the hugest of thanks to the DOXA film festival for hosting our international premiere ... they put on a great festival, they treated the filmmakers and audience members alike really well, and Waking the Sleeping Giant screened in two fantastic Vancouver theaters. It's never looked and sounded so good.

And we are grateful the film was received so warmly at both screenings. Roughly 300 people attended between the two screenings, nearly everyone remained for the Q&A after the film, and when they finally kicked us out of the theater (so the next film could start) we ended up in the lobby with long lines of folks who had more questions and comments. The film tells some really important stories, and it was gratifying that so many people (Canadians and Americans alike) found moving and inspiring.

And we had a great contingent of fans who made their way to Vancouver to be part of this, from Colorado, Seattle, and Vancouver! Thanks to everyone who made their way to the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at Simon Fraser University or The Annex (at the Orpheum) to be part of our international premiere.

 

Waking the Sleeping Giant International Premiere: Vancouver, British Columbia

The Sleeping Giant had its international premiere last night at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada. It looked and sounded amazing on the beautiful SFU projection system. We are grateful to DOXA for inviting us to the festival and promoting the film, and to the audience of 200 for being part of the event.

If you happen to be in Vancouver but couldn’t make last night's screening, you have another chance today: 12:30pm at The Annex (823 Seymour Street),  which is also a really nice theater with a terrific projection and audio system.

    DOXA festival-goers starting to fill in the SFU theater at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for the international premiere.

    DOXA festival-goers starting to fill in the SFU theater at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for the international premiere.

    We had a couple of nice media hits over the past few days, as well, which no doubt helped turn out folks to see the film:

    • Yesterday the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation hosted producer Jacob Smith for an interview about the film and about the state of the American progressive movement. We'll get this online soon.
    • On Monday, Vancouver’s North Shore News ran a story about the three DOXA screenings, including Waking the Sleeping Giant, that are part of the Trumped! What the $%*%(!! Now? film series at the festival.
    • And we’ve been getting some great Vermont press, as well, in advance of the May 26 Vermont premiere. Check out this story on Vermont Public Radio.
    Producer Jacob Smith at CBC/Radio-Canada studios in Vancouver.

    Producer Jacob Smith at CBC/Radio-Canada studios in Vancouver.

    "Best Documentary Feature Film"

    Turns out that Waking the Sleeping Giant received the "Best Feature" award at the Thin Line Fest! We are feeling humbled and grateful, and especially appreciative of the many people who worked on the crew or contributed financially. And we are deeply grateful to the many, many folks who allowed us into their lives to film, or sat down for interviews, or helped us make crucial connections.

    And just as importantly, we are pleased because we feel so strongly that these are stories in need of telling. This was a great way to begin sharing the film with the world.

    Thank you Thin Line Fest (and special thanks to the inimitable Stanton Brasher, the festival's programming director, for taking such good care of us)!

     

    Thin Line Fest: Travelogue

    We can't say enough about our time in Denton, Texas. The Thin Line Fest team was terrific and super friendly and did a great job with the festival. Everyone we met in Denton, including other filmmakers, festival-goers, and random Denton residents, were super friendly as well. The festival itself was loaded with great films and music. It was a perfect festival for our U.S. (and world) premiere.

    And what a premiere it was! Amy Goodman joined by Facetime and offered an enthusiastic introduction to the film. The theater itself was a gorgeous mid-century art house, and Sleeping Giant looked and sounded really, really good. The large audience (despite the late 9pm start time) seemed genuinely moved, we had a bunch of engaged questions during the Q&A, and the entire time afterward at the festival afterward people kept talking to us about the film.

    We couldn't have asked for a better premiere - thank you Thin Line and Denton!

     

     

    "UVM Faculty Member to Release Documentary on Resurgent Progressive Movement"

    Today's University of Vermont press release about the film:

    University of Vermont Professor Jon Erickson has never been a fan of the status quo. 

    As an ecological economist, his national and international scholarship has challenged the core assumptions of mainstream economics. As a social entrepreneur, he has helped build interdisciplinary research-to-action collaborations between reluctant academic, government and civil society partners. Now as an up-and-coming independent filmmaker, he’s gauging the strength a new era of progressive politics in America he thinks may be waking at just the right moment to seed the social movement of a generation.

    “Waking the Sleeping Giant: the Making of a Political Revolution” is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the growing strength of the American progressive movement. Erickson wrote, directed and filmed the documentary over the last three years with former Senate staffer Jacob Smith, veteran political consultant Kathryn Goldman, and a team of cinematographers from around the country.

    The film will be released on April 19 when it opens the Thin Line Fest in Denton, Texas, followed on May 11 by an international premiere at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver in the event's “Spotlight on Troublemakers” series. A Vermont premiere is in the works for late May and a screening is planned for the People’s Summit in Chicago in June, an annual gathering of thousands of progressive activists.

    The film is structured around the arc of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, beginning in January 2015 before Sanders had officially announced his candidacy, following him to the Iowa caucuses and through the primary campaign to the Democratic National Convention in July 2016.

    Along the way, it chronicles the elements of a re-energized progressive movement in America through personal stories of struggle for democractic principles and reform, including Black Lives Matter activists in Los Angeles fighting institutionalized racism in the police force; a grassroots political candidacy of a West Virginian rising from generational poverty against all odds to run for state office; and a wave of progressive activism among Millennials to protect voting rights and confront the corrupting influence of money in politics head on.  

    The film features interviews with notable progressive thinkers and commentators, including former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Dream Corps co-founder Van Jones, Democracy Now!’s host Amy Goodman, and host and founder of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur. Rising voices in the progressive movement appear along the way, including Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, and key players in the Sanders “Political Revolution” such as The People for Bernie’s Winnie Wong and Becky Bond and Zack Exley, co-authors of the new book Rules for Revolutionaries.

    Erickson, who crisscrossed the country making the film, says it was a “crash course in the state of American politics,” but also a reminder that, “we are a democracy that still aspires to care for and love our neighbors, all our neighbors and all our communities.” He witnessed firsthand, “the insurgency of the Sanders campaign on first principles of justice and respect that we should take to heart against a backdrop of a two-party system that has lost touch with basic grade-school lessons on the aspirations of American democracy.”

    The core filmmaking team also includes Smith, former senior adviser to Sen. Sanders and former mayor of Golden, Colorado; Goldman, a campaign consultant in Idaho who helps progressive candidates campaign in red states; Brad Johanson, nine-time Emmy award-winning editor; and Erickson’s son Jon as director of photography. 

    Erickson has collaborated on eight documentary films in the past with Vermont-based non-profit Bright Blue EcoMedia as a producer and cinematographer, including the Emmy award-winning PBS series “Bloom” on the problem and solutions to Lake Champlain pollution. He is the David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and fellow of UVM’s Gund Institute for Environment.

    "Documentary about Sanders, left-leaning activists gets world premiere at Denton's Thin Line Fest"

    In today's Denton Record-Chronicle:

    Filmmaker Jacob Smith said the crew behind Waking the Sleeping Giant wasn't sure what kind of movie they were making back in 2014.

    "When we started, it was clear something important was happening," Smith said. "I was working for Bernie [Sanders] when this started. He was doing these town hall meeting that were incredibly well-received. ... But it was more than that, bigger than that. In red states, we were seeing minimum wage initiatives pass at the polls. And in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chevron basically bankrolled a city council election, and they lost and lost in a major way."

    Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution opens Denton's Thin Line Fest with a world-premiere screening at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St.

     

    The Sleeping Giant International Premiere: Vancouver!

    Big News! Waking The Sleeping Giant's international premiere is at the 16th annual DOXA film festival in Vancouver, Canada on May 11 (with a second screening on the afternoon of May 12).

    DOXA is a documentary-only festival, which one participating film director describes as "a mind-feast." Our film is part of DOXA's Spotlight on Troublemakers series, celebrating "people who act up, resist and fight on."

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    The entire team is headed to Texas in a couple of weeks for the US premiere at the Thin Line Fest. A lot is happening. Please check out the first teaser for the film that we just posted on our website--and know that you helped make it happen! 

    Waking The Sleeping Giant will be screening at The People's Summit in June in Chicago. Some of the remarkable people in the film will be at the summit, including Bernie and Van Jones. Bernie is actually headlining the summit!

    Stay tuned for more updates about premieres. A Vermont premiere is in the works now, and we will keep you posted. Follow us on Facebook for the timeliest updates regarding festival happenings and for details about a premiere coming to your town!

    The U.S. Premiere: Sleeping Giant Will Open the Thin Line Doc Festival

    We have some great news: Waking The Sleeping Giant has been accepted to another film festival, the Thin Line Fest in Denton, Texas.  This is Texas' largest documentary film festival, and it also includes a music and photo festival. 

    And we are even more thrilled to announce that our film will be the opening film for the 5-day festival on April 19, 2017. This is our U.S. premiere! We will share more details about this particular festival and others in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!