Films For Action Launches New Website, a "Learning Library for People Who Want to Change the World"
Films For Action Launches New Website, a "Learning Library for People Who Want to Change the World"
By Films For Action / filmsforaction.org

Lawrence, KS -- After 12 months in development, Films For Action has launched its new website - a head-to-toe redesign that lays the foundation for a vibrant community-powered news site dedicated to inspiring positive social change. At the heart of the new site is a constantly growing learning library of over 200 documentaries and 500 short films that can be watched free online, daily independent news, and a practical "Take Action" section to help users find ways to make a positive impact.

"It's probably the most comprehensive collection of videos dedicated to social change online," says Tim Hjersted, co-founder and director for the project.

"With the overwhelming amount of junk-food-news and political gossip out there, people have really grown hungry for diverse, nutritious information. We've spent hundreds of hours looking for videos all over the internet so that we could catalog the best of these all in one place. After 3 years adding only the best gems, the website has become a treasure trove for people wanting to learn about what's really going on in the world."

Founded in 2006, Films For Action is a non-profit organization that works both on an international and local level to raise awareness of important social, environmental, and media-related issues not covered by the mainstream news. Locally, the group has organized dozens of documentary film screenings, bringing in crowds from 60 to 400 people. Many of the screenings have been used as a spring-board to launch action-oriented campaigns, including the opposition of a 2nd Wal-Mart coming to town, a street protest against the Iraq war led by Iraqi war veterans, and the introduction of a Peak Oil Resolution to the Lawrence city commission, which was successfully passed in 2008.

All and all, through the group's website and its local city chapter efforts, the goal is to empower citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

The site has 42 special coverage areas, including activism, big media, corporations, climate change, community, human and animal rights, media literacy, economics, education, politics, peak oil, sustainability, permaculture, solutions, big ideas, vision, war & peace, and more.

"With so much content to discover on the site, accessibility was key," says Mason Umholtz, the team's Chicago-based graphic designer. Umholtz spent months teleconferencing with Hjersted to reach the site's new visual look.

"A lot of news and activist sites can be intimidating, too cluttered or clogged up with ads. Oftentimes the content is great but the clunky interface or presentation turns people away. It was essential for us to create an aesthetic and a user-experience that was attractive, familiar, and easy to use."

The site boasts an extensive feature list, drawing on many of the best innovations in web 2.0 design and social media connectivity. Member profiles can be created easily with Facebook Connect, and include messaging, notifications, and the ability to follow your friends' activity on the site. The new site also allows anyone to contribute content, while a democratic voting system gives users the power to help decide what content is featured on the homepage. Several other features are dedicated to the site's city chapter areas, including local events, local news coverage, and a directory for local activist groups.

All of these features were brought to life by the team's computer programmer, Eli Dragen, who saw the potential for the project to take on a national and global focus.

"After four years focusing the project on efforts in Lawrence and seeing the success we'd had, we realized that the needs our own city had for better media was true everywhere,” Dragen said.  “Most organizations are strapped for technical resources and can't afford to hire a Web designer to create a robust news site from scratch, and so far, none of the ‘website-out-of-a-box’ solutions, like Word Press or Blogger have focused on activist functionality. With the new site, we've made it easy for anyone to create a local chapter dedicated to providing indy-media for their city."

Matt Toplikar, a co-founder and editor for the project, believes the site may become the future of activism on the Web.

“This is more than just a catalog of 700 films and video clips,” said Toplikar, who works in the film and TV industry out of Albuquerque, N.M. “It’s an activist’s library, an information hub for local organizing, and a place where people can connect with others of like-mind and find ways to get involved."

"People are tired of the weak journalism and shallow debates from the usual talking heads on TV," Hjersted says. "But we don't need to wait for the mainstream media to reform themselves. With the internet, we don't need $500 million to buy our own network. We can create our own media channels. Grass-roots, from the bottom up."

4.0 ·
5
What's Next
Trending Today
A Perfect Symbol of Media Capture: DWS Booed, MSNBC Caption Says “Cheered”
Liam Miller · 53,898 views today · Monday morning saw Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former DNC chair, booed offstage at the Florida Democratic Delegation Breakfast; while it was transpiring, MSNBC's caption read...
How Prison Labor Is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support It
Sara Burrows · 16,572 views today · If you buy products or services from any of the 50 companies listed below (and you likely do), you are supporting modern American slavery
History Tells Us What May Happen Next With Brexit and Trump
Tobias Stone · 14,935 views today · It seems we’re entering another of those stupid seasons humans impose on themselves at fairly regular intervals. I am sketching out here opinions based on information, they may...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 14,367 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 13,292 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved
Sigmund Fraud · 12,157 views today · For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the...
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 9,829 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 9,477 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs
David Graeber · 8,738 views today · Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber explored the phenomenon of...
Eckhart Tolle: Your Facebook Ego, That's Not Who You Are
2 min · 8,035 views today · “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past: the "little me" and its story. This...
Who Are You? This Breathtaking Video Might Change Your Life
2 min · 4,182 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
"Don't Owe. Won't Pay." Everything You've Been Told About Debt Is Wrong
Charles Eisenstein · 3,940 views today · With the nation’s household debt burden at $11.85 trillion, even the most modest challenges to its legitimacy have revolutionary implications.
We've Been Protesting for Decades. What's It Going to Take to End Police Brutality?
Tai Amri Spann-Wilson · 3,818 views today · On #BlackLivesMatter, moral injury and activism
Wetiko - The Cannibalistic Disease Consuming Our Planet and Society
4 min · 3,695 views today · Wetiko is an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit or thought-form driven by greed, excess and selfish consumption. It deludes it host into believing that consuming the...
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 3,517 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
I Stopped Eating Animals Because of Human Rights
Andy West · 3,291 views today · What does the meat industry do to people’s mental health?
Watch What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
2 min · 3,102 views today · How to Be There for the People who Need you Most. Read the article here.
A World War Has Begun - Break The Silence
John Pilger · 2,952 views today · I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, "Where is...
How Psychedelics Could Help Treat Anxiety, Addiction and Depression
5 min · 2,520 views today · Psychedelic drugs could be the key to making you happier and healthier. So why won't we research them?
The Importance of Staring Out of the Window
2 min · 2,520 views today · We are so busy and so obsessed with our phones, we rarely take a break to do that vital and rather philosophical thing: stare out of the window. 
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Films For Action Launches New Website, a "Learning Library for People Who Want to Change the World"