Photography Ben Pier for Manhattan Magazine
REACT to FILM is a non-profit organization created by Dennis and Coralie Paul, that showcases powerful documentary films to activate and inspire young people around critical social issues. This platform includes films such as Born into Brothels, The Fluteplayer, Food Inc, End of the Line, Let’s Talk About Sex, Countdown to Zero, Waste Land, Gasland, Our City Dreams, Hell and Back Again, Buck, and The Last Mountain.
Dennis and Coralie started informally when they picked “Born into Brothels”, and screened it for press/influencers at Soho House in NY where they are founding members.They are now expanding to L.A Soho House and Miami. Filmmakers like Zana Briski joined the React to Film advisory board and in 2010 they became a nonprofit 501c3 where they expanded into creating a high school education program that teaches a full-year, for-credit REACT to FILM elective course at public high schools, as well as the RtF College Action Network with nearly 25 chapters at campuses across the country. They recently screened “Hell and Back Again” about the war in Afghanistan, ”Miss Representation”, and this month will screen “The Last Mountain” which will be followed with a q&a hosted by Bobby Kennedy.
Their mission is to expose people of all ages to different social issues, creating awareness and engaging them in a conversation, hearing both sides of the argument, having debates.Essentially changing the world through the power of film.
How do you choose what films to screen?
Coralie: We want to pick the best ones, the most relevant , the most inspiring, the most well made. Usually we pick them right out of the festivals before they are nationally released. We have been very lucky in picking 4 oscar nominated films, including born into brothels (winner), food inc, wasteland, gasland. we have also had oscar shortlisted films like “the lottery” last year 2011, “hell and back again”, “buck” and “tsunami and the cherry blossoms” for this year which are oscar hopefully for 2012.
Most interesting film screening so far?
Coralie: each of them is more interesting than the next. My favorite has been Wasteland and Buck, Dennis might have other favorites.
What are some of the social issues you are most involved with?
- Education, Nutrition, Environment, Politics, Art, Woman’s issues ,
- all of the above. we are not focusing on one particular social issue but on the film that portray the social issues.
Upcoming projects or screenings we should know about?
- We just launched RTF in LA at soho house on Oct 28th.
- Next we are presenting “the Greater Good” at IFC on Nov 18th in NY.
- “Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” during art basel miami at soho house on Nov 30th, and hopefully a screening of “The Interrupters” in December at Soho House in L.A.
- I am trying to squeeze in ”Love Crimes in Kabul” in NY this Dec, as I loved Tanaz’s film.
Favorite films, documentaries Coralie?
It’s too hard to pick one, I loved FOOD inc since it’s really changed the way I eat, along with other movies like Forks Over Knives and Planet Eat. When I’m not watching documentaries I am a sucker for romantic comedies!
Anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. We have only just begun to change the world, in small groups of press/influencers, high school students, and on college campuses.