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This Entry: Back From BAVC’s ‘Producers Institute’
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Back From BAVC’s ‘Producers Institute’
by Tony Walsh on June 9, 2008 @ 3:08 pm
I had the privilege and pleasure of mentoring 8 teams of talented and open-minded documentary filmmakers last week as part of the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies for BAVC in San Francisco. This is the second year in a row I've been invited down to share my game design experience with the Producers Institute. While last year was a fantastic experience as well, this year focused on projects acting as catalysts for real social change--this emphasis sets the Producers Institute apart from other cross-media labs and workshops I've participated in over the last couple of years.

Most of the work I do is commercially oriented, so it was a nice change of pace to work with people with a genuine interest in positive social impact. I spent most of my time consulting with Susana Ruiz (best known for creating Darfur is Dying) and her team--they're working on a game about the death penalty, imprisonment and flaws in the U.S. justice system. Not only is the game "about" these issues, but Susana's company Take Action Games specializes in actual results--what can a game motivate people to actually do? Darfur is Dying showed that game play resulted in communications sent to the U.S. government. It will be interesting to see what positive action this latest project will result in.

I'd like to thank BAVC's Wendy Levy and her great co-workers, the rest of the mentor crew, and all the teams from this year's Producers Institute for their enthusiasm, interest, and comradeship. Good luck to each team in going after their various funding agencies, you're doing some great work.

Leaving you with this brief interview conducted by Second Life avatar and new-school virtual world reporter Draxtor Despres:

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