Agents of Change


Filmmaker Biographies:

Agents of Change Movie Poster

Agents of Change – Abby Ginzberg & Frank Dawson

Abby Ginzberg has been producing award-winning documentaries about race and social justice for the past 30 years. She is the Co-Producer and Co-Director of Agents of Change, which premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and won the Jury and the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary. Ginzberg attended Cornell during the time depicted in the film.

Her feature award-winning documentary, Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa (2014) won a Peabody award and has screened at film festivals around the world. It has won four audience awards for Best Documentary. It also won an Outstanding Achievement Humanitarian Award from the Global Film Awards. It will broadcast on public television later this spring, and a segment will broadcast on Independent Lens in April 2016.

Her work as a documentary filmmaker took her to the Academy Awards in 2012 with a short documentary film, The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, for which she was the Consulting Producer. The Barber premiered at Sundance in 2011 and won numerous awards for Best Short Documentary at film festivals across the US. 

Ginzberg’s documentaries, Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey and Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice (about an African American and Latino judge) have aired on public television and been screened at film festivals across the United States and abroad and won numerous awards, including a Silver Gavel and CINE Golden Eagle for Soul of Justice.

Her short films, Cracking the Habit and recovering lives, uncovering hope, have been critical in helping to document model programs for both adult and juvenile drug courts, as well as other successful programs for at-risk youth. She has also documented the innovative work of cities in combating the HIV epidemic with films about Oakland, Miami, and the Bronx. She produced Turning the Tide Together for the Opening Session of the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, DC.

She is the President of the Berkeley Film Foundation, which has awarded over $900,000 in grants to documentary filmmakers; is on the Boards of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley Law School; The Impact Fund; and the Yale Law School Visual Advocacy Project. She was selected as a Gerbode Foundation Fellow in 2008.

Frank R. Dawson is an Associate Dean and former Chair of the Communication and Media Studies Department at Santa Monica College. Dawsib is also a Producer, writer, and founding partner in NuHouse Media Group, a company originally formed to develop and produce television series, movies for television, and cable television features in association with CBS Entertainment Productions. Currently, NuHouse develops projects independently. He is the Co-Producer/Co-Director of the documentary film, Agents of Change.

Dawson’s prior experience as a media executive and producer includes having served as Director of Comedy Development and Director of Programming at Universal Television. He served as Universal’s production executive on the NBC dramatic series, “Miami Vice.” During his six year tenure at the CBS Television Network, Dawson supervised the development of network series scripts and coordinated production of various comedy and drama television projects. As a partner in the media company, “2002 Communications,” Dawson was a producer of Tavis Smiley’s first television talk show series Pilot.

Dawson earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science degree in Television and Radio from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, where he has been inducted into the school’s professional gallery of distinguished alumni.

Film Synopsis:

Agents of Change chronicles the story of the movement for black and ethnic studies which grew out of the impact of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements on college campuses. Between 1965 and 1972, Black students at over a thousand colleges and universities organized to demand the increased admission of Black students, the creation of Black Studies departments, and the hiring of Black faculty in order to create a system of higher education that would be relevant to and reflect the Black experience and subsequently that of other unrepresented groups such as Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans. These students, influenced by the Black Arts Movement and the music and culture of the time, made their own mark on history. Agents of Change presents this dramatic, untold story through the experiences of those on the front lines at SF State and Cornell University, introducing today’s audiences to a piece of forgotten history, but one which resonates with college students of color today, many of whom feel like the film accurately depicts the situation they find themselves in.

Schedule:

Thursday, September 8, 2016: Broward College Foundation, Davie, FL, 7:30 PM ET
Friday, September 9, 2016: Miami-Dade Co. Dept. of Cultural Affairs/South Miami-Dade Cultural Center, Cutler Bay, FL, 8:30 PM ET
Monday, September 12, 2016: Tropic Cinema/Key West Film Society, Key West, FL, 6:30 PM ET
Tuesday, September 13, 2016: Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, 7:00 PM ET
Wednesday, September 14, 2016: Opening Nights Performing Arts/Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, 7:30 PM ET
Thursday, September 15, 2016: North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Ruston, LA, 7:00 PM CT
Friday, September 16, 2016: Arts Council of Central Louisiana, Alexandria, LA, 7:00 PM CT

Film Trailer: