Storyteller to Activist: Use Film for Social Good

We are excited to announce that First Person American is included in the SXSW Panel Picker! Our proposal–Storyteller to Activist: Use Film for Social Good–is one of the many potential panelists at SXSW. Panel picker is only part of the selection criteria for the SXSW Interactive, Music, and Film Festival, but it is important that we get your support!

First Person American will use the Welcoming Stories Workshop at Newcomers High School as framework for a workshop proposal for SXSW. Using its Welcoming Stories initiative as a guide, First Person American will show attendees how to produce compelling video narratives that help change hearts and minds about any issue, give best practices on how to turn narratives into powerful on-camera stories, and how to turn constituents of any cause into activists. Interested in attending? Vote for our workshop and join us at SXSW!

Please vote for our workshop by clicking on the “thumbs up” icon in the panel picker and share our proposal with your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter! Thanks for your support!

Learn more about how First Person American developed the idea for the workshop.

Over the last two years, First Person American has had the opportunity to collect over 70 stories of modern immigration. Every story is unique, yet each one captures heartfelt moments during an immigrant’s path to becoming American and shows the impact a single person can have on an immigrant’s journey. By documenting these journeys, First Person American creates a broad narrative that creates a culture of understanding across the communities of New York City.

The stories are powerful, but it’s the act of sharing them that changes attitudes and builds common ground. During a recent partnership with Newcomers High School ( a 100% immigrant high school in Queens) First Person American realized that sharing a story could be a platform for turning storytellers into activist and social change.

This past spring First Person American, and the Human Rights class of Newcomers High held a 10-session Welcoming Stories Workshop. The workshop explored personal immigration narratives from high school students about the people that welcomed them and changed their lives forever. More importantly the workshop gave First Person American the opportunity to transform 29 high school students into advocates of change.

The Welcoming Stories Workshop at Newcomers High School helped students realize that by sharing their stories it made them more aware of how they can make a difference in the lives of another person. Empowered with knowledge, each student welcomed a recent immigrant in their high school. Eventually their peers grew curious about what they were doing and were taught how to be a welcoming person.

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