The first Sunday of every month, SIMA RAMA Cinema Club will release a Social Impact Media Award (SIMA) selected film online to its club members. Each month brings a new theme and after viewing the film, members across the globe can then discuss the movie, brainstorm ways to problem solve and affect change, remotely attend a panel discussion with field experts, and take action. The idea behind this cinema club gives a nod to the power of cooperative actions. SIMA Director of Programs, Erinn Sullivan asks, “What if people around the world saw the same doc each month and crowd-sourced solutions around the social issue it illuminates?” Well, SIMA RAMA Cinema Club will find out later this month.
Its inaugural film for their new digital film club is Elemental. This environmental documentary follows three diverse characters from around the globe who are affected by or attempting to fix pollution problems.
In India, the once pristine Ganges River, is now so contaminated that government official, Rajendra Singh, has made it his personal duty to shut down factories that contribute to its pollution. His seemingly well-intentioned actions also put him at odds with locals who, equally as passionately, feel that the hydroelectric energy industry brings jobs, and help create wealth and stability. In Canada, tar sands—a mixture of clay, sand, water, and black oil—are being heavily mined and processed, to the objection of many, including “indigenous rights activist” Eriel Deranger. She and her supporters are at strife with the Keystone XL pipeline developers. Australian born, California based inventor, Jay Harmon is developing technology to diffuse atmospheric and environmental pollutants. He is hampered, however, by cautious investors wary of his claims.
SIMA RAMA Cinema Club members were able to access this documentary April 2nd. Thursday, April 6th, an online panel was held where panelists Katharina Rall of Human Rights Watch, Joshua Sheridan Fouts of Bioneers, and Elemental director, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee answered member-sourced questions. The following week, in the Cinema Club’s Facebook group, discussions were held among members about how to best tackle global environmental issues. SIMA RAMA also provided action items, including petitions, boycotts, social media hashtags, and energy saving tips. Podcasts, articles, additional film links, and other educational information were also distributed. Club membership is $5 per month or $55 per year.
Next month’s theme will highlight freedom of the press, or lack thereof. May’s movie, Frame by Frame, will feature Afghan photojournalists post war.
For additional SIMA RAMA Cinema Club information, please visit https://simarama.club/
Alexandrea Thornton is a journalist and producer living in NY. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Columbia University, she splits her time between California and New York. She's an avid reader and is penning her first non-fiction book.