This year, Double Exposure (DX) launched a new program for students passionate about storytelling in the public interest – Double Exposure Academy (DXA). This initiative can have a broad and generous impact on students; I know, as a college senior in 2015, I attended the first edition of DX. Our hope is that more students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an environment that is both socially-driven and intellectually-challenging by learning from passionate individuals dedicated to elevating stories that matter. Below, I outline the need for DXA and my thoughts after attending DX the past two years.
Today, younger generations consume media across many mediums, including print, audio, and video. As a result of independent funding and democratizing tools like the internet, newer, younger voices have entered the social discourse; however, media is far from achieving a diverse representation of expression.
DX encourages collaboration between filmmakers and journalists. In this spirit, we seek to build a supportive community of both seasoned and emerging voices to strengthen the rights of all to pursue the truth. DXA is designed to offer unparalleled insights into the journalism, film and broader media industries for dedicated students. We hope DXA will encourage young people to pursue artistic endeavors in the public interest and reach a greater parity in storyteller representation.
Not surprisingly, DX is steeped in the investigative instinct. As the nation’s first investigative film festival, speakers remark with regularity that DX is an important space to encourage collaboration between visual storytelling and investigative journalism. In fact, when DX had its first opening night screening of Spotlight, director Tom McCarthy said, “Every city in America should have an investigative film festival.”
DX is a vital node in the media industry, particularly at the intersection of social issue and investigative film and journalism. The symposium develops knowledge and practices by bringing together filmmakers and journalists with producers, funders, academics, and consultants who can advance their work. For example, this year, individuals representing The Atlantic, Frontline, Tribeca Film Institute, The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, Fledgling Fund, The New Yorker, POV, BritDoc Foundation, MIT Open Documentary Lab, and the New York Times will offer their unscripted points of view.
Ultimately, DX influences the media discourse. Attendees leave the symposium and festival with a more nuanced articulation of how storytelling can be a force for social change and accountability. DX does this by celebrating a new genre of filmmaking, supporting the rights of filmmakers and journalists, and casting this body of work as a coherent artistic vision tied to practical consequences.
DX has been an important space for me to engage with journalists and filmmakers who not only seek a better world, but work towards it. I have discussed James Baldwin with a Sundance award-winning director as well as the relationship between memory and trauma with a celebrated cameraperson. I am thankful for having DX at this particular point of my life, and now, especially in today’s political landscape, I sincerely wish other students have the same opportunity.
Written by Conway Reinders