PBS is doing a really awesome thing for social activist/educational mobilization and awareness for all the arts. It’s called OVEE and it’s a new live, interactive social screening platform where you can choose your own content from the eclectic documentary PBS library. You can invite up to 500 people to join and watch from anywhere, along with the added plus of having a Question & Answer chat with the filmmaker! The possibilities for launching and fundraising a spectrum of educational/grassroots organizations are endless. It doesn’t have to be a social issue. PBS also programs a lot of great music programming, so you can get together and watch Bonnie Rait at the Austin City Limits concert if that’s what you want to do. But it also just might be a game changer in that it offers an optimal tool to connect beyond geography.
The beta version of OVEE is available to public media organizations and their community partners. If you are interested contact firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ve queued up a range of upcoming public screenings including Ted Talks, culinary arts shows and a number of concerts, listed here. Which leads me to:
This Thursday, June 20 at 4pm PST you can join to watch this extraordinary historical portrait, REBEL by Maria Agui Carter. Co-presented by Latino Public Broadcasting and Women and Girls Lead, an innovative public media campaign designed to celebrate, educate, and activate women, girls, and their allies across the globe.
Screening info and how to join here.
Rebel is the forgotten story of a woman civil rights soldier. What??? Yes. That’s right. Loreta Velazquez fought as Harry Buford, a Confederate Soldier, then spied for the Union. Born in Cuba and raised in New Orleans, Loreta was unconventional to say the least. Her memoir which was published in 1876, revealed the dark side and ills of the war-time society. She was publicly attacked and discredited over it, and for over a century, critics have dismissed her as a hoax.
The film inhabits an ambitious hybrid form of classic documentary and epic drama, featuring luscious costume and production design, a lively score and a huge cast of actors embodying the reconstruction of Loreta’s infamous practically erased life and times. It plays like a big scale period piece weaving dramatic sequences of Loretta as a woman in those times, with battle action scenes and fascinating recently uncovered archives.
I recently met María Agui Carter at NALIP where she is the Chair of the Board. I admire her character and drive for continuing to raise the bar for herself. Bringing to light this Latina Civil Rights soldier was so important to her that when she realized there was barely any footage she dove in and recreated the feel for the era. She joked that if she had known how much work it was going to be she would not have gone though with it. But that just goes to show she went with her gut, doubled down, and the result is a distinctly novel aesthetic. At one of the keynotes she shared her story of immigrating to the U.S. from Ecuador, growing up as an undocumented “Dreamer” . A Harvard grad, she is passionate about using media storytelling to inspire social change and specializes in visually arresting and complex storytelling.
REBEL is a co-production of IGUANA FILMS, L.L.C. and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with WPBT/Miami and Latino Public Broadcasting with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
You can also watch Rebel at the Roxie for the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco June 29
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