El Pueblo Se Levanta documentary

TWN News

Sorrow and Solidarity - and call for change

Third World Newsreel mourns with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, and condemns their murders, along with the numerous other Black lives lost to police violence, racist crimes, and the white supremacy that continues its hold on this country. Lives are lost, not just to police violence but to the structural racism that makes for devastating health and economic disparities that this current pandemic has underlined.
Structural social change is needed, not more policing. We will continue our work, in solidarity with the many organizations that stand on the side of the oppressed, people of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ communities, by supporting and nurturing the voices of traditionally marginalized communities here and beyond America.

TWN and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Third World Newsreel prioritizes the health and safety of its workers, students, filmmakers, and communities at all times, and especially now. Our office is mostly working remotely and our evening seminars and exhibitions are now virtual with zoom talks and online screenings. We are concerned for workers who cannot work remotely, and for all who are endangered by health issues and health inequality. We decry the increase in racialized violence against Asians as well as the insufficient governmental response to this crisis.

TWN thanks NY Community Trust, Humanities NY, NYSCA and NEA, DCA and NFPF!

Third World Newsreel is grateful for the support of the NY Community Trust and its contributors for a grant from its NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund, and Humanities New York for its HNY CARES grant. We are also grateful for the continued support of the New York State Council on the Arts for its 2020 GOS and SAS workshop support and the National Endowment for the Arts for its support of the Third World Newsreel Media Production Training program, distribution/exhibition projects and Family Pictures USA with Thomas Allen Harris, which aired its first programs on PBS in August 2019. Thanks also to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for its support of the TWN Media Training program and our 2020 Su-Casa workshop! The Su-Casa TWN Senior Media Production Workshop holds its final film screenings Tuesday, June 30th. Finally, thanks also to the National Film Preservation Foundation for supporting the preservation of SUMMER 68, which will re-premiere summer 2020!

Our TWN Production Workshop and Alumni

Now celebrating 43 years, the TWN Production Workshop has alumni winning awards and kudos! Congrats to Renee Tajima-Pena and Grace Lee, both grads of the workshop on their PBS Asian American series and Lee's She Could Be Next documentary out now. Congrats to Yance Ford and STRONG ISLAND for both its Oscar nomination,its Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking and to Yance for winning the Guggenheim. 2017 Workshop grads Patrick G. Lee and Herukhuti both made short films in the workshop that have garnered press and community attention. Lee's short is UNSPOKEN: Asian Americans on Coming Out to Immigrant Parents and he premiered his full length version at the Asian American International Film Festival in 2019. Herukhuti's film is entitled NO HOMO/NO HETERO, a documentary film about sexual fluidity and manhood in Black America, and he is now finishing up a full length version of the film. Congrats to the 2018 and 2019 TWN Production Workshops (2018 pictured on our home page) for their work and the 2020 cohort engaging in TWN's first Virtual Production Workshop this summer.

Tribute to Camille Billops and James V. Hatch  Watch now on Vimeo

TWN is saddened by the June 1st, 2019 passing of filmmaker/artist Camille Billops and the passing of her husband and collaborator, James V. Hatch on February 14th, 2020.  In 2018 TWN celebrated Camille and Jim's 50 years of making activist and transgressive art and films in a program entitled "A Tribute to Camille Billops and James V. Hatch: 50 Years of Breaking Rules and Building the Arts" sponsored by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Third World Newsreel, Creatively Speaking, Black Public Media, the Media and Communication Arts Department at CCNY, and the Black Documentary Collective.  Michelle Materre, Valerie Smith, Mable Haddock and George C. Wolfe spoke about this couples' work and influence. Two of their films were shown in this free event: Suzanne, Suzanne (which was placed in the National Film Registry in 2016) and Take Your Bags. This event was made possible in part by an Action Grant from Humanities New York and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Much of Camille and Jim's large archive of work is at Emory Univeristy and a selection can be seen here.

2020 TWN Production Workshop in production!

Going into its 43rd year, the TWN Production Workshop continues its long tradition of providing0 an unique hands-on training program that provides practical skills and resources for emerging filmmakers. This intensive 6-month program supports and trains people of color from communities that historically been marginalized in media, and have had limited economic resources and access to mainstream educational institutions or training programs. By providing the basic technical and storytelling tools to create fiction or documentary projects, the Production Workshop carries on the mission of TWN of promoting independent cinema made for and by underserved communities of color and their progressive allies. The 2020 class is in new territory, beginning their training virtually during this pandemic.

TWN Partnered with Workers Unite! Film Festival

Since 1967, TWN has promoted activist media that challenges all systems of oppression. TWN supports the ongoing efforts of progressive communities of color to work for peace, social justice and equality. In May 2017, TWN collaborated with the Workers Unite! Film Festival to present the Global Gathering of Progressive, Radical and Activist Filmmakers at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. Last year, TWN partnered with Workers Unite! Film Festival to present the Activist Filmmaker Bootcamp in May.

The TWN Evening Seminars - see the schedule!

Sound, Fundraising, Field of Vision, Impact Partners, NYSCA, The Cave, Warrior Women and more! The Spring Seminar season started January 30th, and just finished its spring/summer season. See the current lineup. Stay tuned! And last year, along with the Documentary Forum at CCNY, Maysles Documentary Center, Harlem Stage, NY Latino Film Festival and ImageNation, TWN also cosponsored the first Double Lens: Harlem Doc Film Fest November 15-17th 2019.

TWN Call for Change shorts featured on CUNYTV web series

The CUNY TV Short Docs Web Series showcases short documentaries about NYC's minority communities and examines issues including immigration, human rights, education, diaspora, multiculturalism, environmental issues and criminal justice. The documentaries will stream at CUNY-TV's YouTube Channel, along with interviews with the filmmakers and subjects related to the pieces. This season features several of TWN's acclaimed Call for Change series, including DASTAAR: Defending Sikh Identity, by Kevin Lee--along with an interview of Sapreet Kaur, Sikh Coalition Executive Director -- and WORK AND RESPECT by Domestic Workers United, on the struggle for the rights of domestic workers -- with an additional interview with Barbara Young of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Watch Now!

TWN Seeks Graphic Design & Abobe Premiere Interns

If you have graphic design or Premiere experience, or would like to learn; live in New York City and need to add more credits to your resume, please apply to our internship program at Third World Newsreel. Send a cover letter and resume to distribution@twn.org.

TWN's SU-CASA Senior Media Workshops - 2020 Edition

Last year, TWN worked with Senior citizens at the SelfHelp Latimer Gardens Senior Center and the SelfHelp Innovative Senior Center in Flushing in basic video production classes. This year we have been working with Latimer Gardens seniors, virtually with filmmaker Yung-Jen Yang teaching in Mandarin to seniors filming and editing on their phones. 2020 is the fifth year TWN has been part of the DCA Su-Casa program, which was made possible with support in part from public funds through the NY City Council in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of the Aging - and special thanks to City Council member Peter Koo. See the videos!

TWN at the Museum of the City of New York

ACTIVIST NEW YORK exhibit & CITY OF MOVEMENT documentary at the Museum of the City of New York is an exhibition that presents the passions and conflicts that underlie the city's history of agitation. The exhibition includes an original 10-minute documentary film, CITY OF MOVEMENT, featuring material from the Third World Newsreel Archives.

TWN on New York City Screens

 In 2019, we premiered the 1978 Mohawk Nation - at the Film Forum, and screened numerous films at BAMCinematek, the Metrograph and more.  This 2020, the The Woman's Film (1971) is having a screening at the Berlinale - as part of its 50th anniversary.  Past important screenings - in 2015, TWN was part of the "Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York 1968-1986" program, with amazing and rarely seen films by New York-based independent filmmakers from a time when films by people of color were neither recognized or supported, and frequently suppressed. This historic series, programmed by Michelle Materre of Creatively Speaking and Jake Perlin, the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Programmer at Large included TWN produced or distributed films - A DREAM IS WHAT YOU WAKE UP FROM; NAMIBIA: INDEPENDENCE NOW!; SUZANNE, SUZANNE; TEACH OUR CHILDREN; and VOICES OF THE GODS. 

"An ambitious, revelatory series devoted to an astonishingly rich, dismayingly under appreciated chapter in American movie history." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"MUST-ATTEND... you may never get another opportunity quite like this again." --Tambay A. Obenson, Indiewire's Shadow and Act

"More than just a cinematic feast; it's a revelation." --Richard Brody,The New Yorker

"ESSENTIAL... assembles some of the most vital and groundbreaking cinema of the era." --Melissa Anderson,The Village Voice

"Extraordinary collection of films." --Ashley Clark, L Magazine

TWN also screened JANIE'S JANIE and MAKE OUT at the Museum of Modern Art, as part of the Women's Film Preservation Fund screenings. EL PUEBLO SE LEVANTA, a historic documentary about the Young Lords, screened as part of a joint exhibit at El Museo del Barrio and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and THE CASE AGAINST LINCOLN CENTER was part of the P.S. 1 exhibit "Greater New York".

Girls and Women of Immigrant Backgrounds Production Workshop- the 2020 edition!

For 4 years, TWN, collaborated with New York Women In Film and Television, teaching girls and women of immigrant backgrounds in a one day Production workshop - a rapid fire lesson on how to conceptualize and shoot a short doc. This was supported by the City Council's Immigrant Cultural Initiative and one of the films, The Multiplicity of Us, was recommended by the Librarian Magazine. Since 2018, TWN has worked with Emerald Isle Immigration Center and the Museum of the Moving Image to present multi day media workshops for Immigrant Activist Women, and will be doing so again in 2020, virtually, thanks to the Queens Council On the Arts.

The TWN Film Preservation Fund

Third World Newsreel worked with the Preservation Committee of the original Newsreel film collective to preserve some of the original Newsreel films. Numerous historic short activist films were made in the late 60's and early 70's that are at risk.

We finished the preservation of the film BREAK AND ENTER (ROMPIENDO PUERTAS) and COLUMBIA REVOLT with the help of the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF). Previously the films MAKE OUT; and JANIE'S JANIE -- the latter an important but rarely seen feminist documentary shot in Newark by Geri Ashur, Marilyn Mulford, Stephanie Palewski -- and others were preserved with the support of New York Women in Film and Television's Women's Film Preservation Fund. NYWIFT also helped support the preservation of THE WOMAN'S FILM, a classic early women's movement piece, which was screened at the 2020 Berlinale.  TWN also received support from the NEH program for Preservation Assistance for Smaller Institutions, which helped to develop our plan for preservation. We are also pleased to announce that we have just completed the preservation of SUMMER 68 with NFPF support.

We need your help to preserve our other films, like EL PUEBLO SE LEVANTA on the Young Lords. This film and other high caliber historic documentaries are at risk of being lost for ever! It is critical that we preserve the early TWN films for future generations of students, scholars, activists and audiences. To donate online, or for information on making donations, please go to our donation page.

H2A Partners With Third World Newsreel on Indie Distribution Label, H2ONewsreel

The Hip-Hop Association (H2A) has been working with Third World Newsreel (TWN) through a partnership called H2ONewsreel, to provide the Best in Hip-Hop Media, Education, and Culture. H2O NEWSREEL is a Hip-Hop multi-media independent developer and distribution outlet. It acquires media projects and facilitates the creation of curriculums and study guides for the education and urban entertainment markets. H2ONEWSREEL offers among the most competitive percentage agreement to independent filmmakers and split profits on a non-exclusive agreement. Formed in September 2008, H2ONEWSREEL is now releasing its titles to the international educational sector. H2ONEWSREEL is featuring documentaries including: MASIZAKHE, FREKUENSIA KOLOMBIANA, and an award winning short series collection. Filmmakers whose projects are aligned with the H2O NEWSREEL mission will be selected to work closely with staff members on their marketing campaigns, programming and distribution goals, so that the H2A can offer more cultivation and resources. For more information on H2ONewsreel, go to the H20Newsreel site.

In Memoriam

William Sloan,a great champion of independent filmmakers - and especially underrepresented filmmakers passed away January 28th, 2017. He was film librarian at MoMA, and before that, at NYPL, an editor at the Film Library Quarterly, taught, active on numerous film juries - and for over a decade was an active member of the Board of Directors of Third World Newsreel. Fabulous and witty, he (and his wife Gwen, who passed in 2015) were great and active supporters of TWN. Rest in peace Bill. A memorial was held for him October 5th, 2017 at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, Library for the Performing Arts.

We lost our friend, colleague and compañero Herman Lew suddenly on September 20th, 2014. Filmmaker, professor, activist, teacher, and beloved father and husband, Herman will be missed by his family, the Third World Newsreel family, the City College family, and the numerous students and emerging filmmakers to whom he was committed. For decades, Herman worked to nurture the creative voices of media makers of color both as Director of the Third World Newsreel Media Production Workshop and Director of the B.F.A. Film & Video Program at City College. Funny, easy going, yet working hard all the time, Herman was the person we could all depend upon as a friend and colleague -- from telling us exactly what would make our film projects better, to putting up shelves in the office, and hosting barbecues at his house in New Jersey. Herman embodied the best of Third World Newsreel and believed in the organization's mission to cultivate the next generation of filmmakers of color. All our hearts are broken by this sudden tragedy. If you have memories or photos of Herman you would like to share, we have created a page to Remembering Herman Lew for friends and family. There were three memorials for Herman, two in NY and one in Los Angeles this past fall; he impacted so many people's lives. The Herman Lew Memorial Scholarship has been established at City College to benefit outstanding BFA film students in need. To contribute, please visit the City College donation site. Also, a family trust is also being established on behalf of Kian, Cole and Galen Lew. Please contact jt@twn.org to contribute.

James Allen Thigpen, Jr., passed Wednesday, January 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. Fondly known as Jim, he was born May 28, 1950 in Columbus. He is preceded in death by his father, James A. Thigpen, Sr. and is survived by his mother, Louise of Columbus; sister Dorothy of Brooklyn, NY; brothers Steve (Veda) of Columbus, Barry (Riccarda) of Franklin, TN, Robert (Molly) of New Albany, OH, and life companion of 38 years, Larry J. Willis of Columbus, along with a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. Jim graduated with honors from Ohio State University, with a degree in Psychology. He resided and worked in a number of professional capacities in Columbus and New York City, and owned a computer software development business. But Jim’s longest efforts were on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and their families. Throughout New York State, he was widely recognized as an effective advocate for the principles of equal protection, justice and fairness for all. He had a great passion for the arts, the internet, Web and software development. He developed e-commerce websites and database applications for non-profit art and government entities. Colleagues and friends describe Jim as always kind, empathetic, sincere, respectful, and loyal toward every person. His kindness and compassion will live in our hearts forever. The crew at Third World Newsreel remains devastated by this loss. Jim was our beloved friend, co-worker, webmaster - in fact he designed our upgraded website; - and he was our consummate shademeister.

Laura Dottin a member of the 2010 Production Workshop, passed away October 25th, 2010, after a long illness. Laura was truly a passionate and dedicated activist starting with her involvement with C.O.R.E. as a student during the sixties. An anti-war activist, Laura was a founding member of the Black Student Union at SUNY New Paltz and worked with migrant workers in the area. Later, Laura became Vice Chairperson of Organization of Staff Analysis, a group that fought and won collective bargaining rights for workers. She also worked with organizations such as the African National Reparations Organization, Brooklyn Neighborhood Improvement Association, National Black United Front, and the Patrice Lumumba Coalition. For over a decade Laura worked with the African and Caribbean Resource Center, producing community forums and radio programs. She traveled extensively to Cuba, Grenada and Canada representing the organization. Her media work started in the 80’s with WBAI-FM where she was a volunteer and researcher for “Behind The News” and continued with her starting and co-producing, with three other colleagues, the monthly news magazine “Cuba in Focus” which still airs today. Laura also produced at WBAI the news magazine “Caribbean Perspective”. A self proclaimed “computer geek”, Laura worked professionally with computers as a manager of a computer support group. Her long involvement with video and audio started in the 80’s where she documented and recorded community activities and political struggles. Laura truly saw the interrelationship of various media, computer technology, and the internet as a means and tool for political activity. Her desire to be a storyteller and to produce documentaries that spoke to our place in the world was her motivation to be in the Production Workshop. To quote her, “I think every life is interesting and instructive – it is the storyteller who must capture the essence”. Laura's compassion and love for other people was always evident and she will be missed. A memorial was held October 31st, 2010 in Brooklyn.

Miriam 'Sa'uuda Akoma Nsoroma' Perez passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, August 24, 2010 in Ka'apuli, Hawaii, while on vacation. Born in Brooklyn, Miriam is survived by her loving and talented daughter, Maryam Afiya Perez, devoted friend Dorothy Thigpen, her sisters and her brothers, and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends, including TWN's staff. Miriam and her daughter Afiya are part of the Third World Newsreel family. Miriam was a beloved teacher of English and Literature at Cobble Hill High School, and was one semester away from receiving her Masters of Arts in Media Studies and Film from the New School of Social Research. Miriam was also an accomplished writer, artist and documentary filmmaker, and was awarded a Development Cohort grant from the Fledgling Fund in 2009 for her current documentary project, HOLLER. Her first film Walking with FUREE, is part of Third World Newsreel's Call for Change Series and has screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and many more national and international venues. Miriam was an alumna of Third World Newsreel's Film and Video Production Workshop. Miriam was passionate about using her artistic skills to address social justice and fairness for all. As an avid believer in the Buddhist principles of moral thought and action, Miriam was compassionate, loving, kind and generous to all and always spiritually positive in her life pursuits. Her beauty and intelligence will be missed and never forgotten by all. Memorial services were held on September 3, 2010, at The Church Of The Open Door, in Brooklyn.

Jennifer Fasulo died in a tragic accident in the summer of 2010, taking from us a committed and talented filmmaker. An esteemed alumna of the TWN Production Workshop, Jennifer was dedicated to feminism and social justice activism, a testament to her integrity and compassion. Her first video, Women’s Struggles For Freedom In Iraq (co-produced with Liz Miller), was selected for the World Social Forum Film Festival in 2003. For several years she worked as an Assistant Producer for Joy of Resistance: Multi-Cultural Feminist Radio at WBAI Community Radio in NYC. Her writing has appeared in Women's ENews, ZNet, Salon.com and the radical feminist journal Rain and Thunder. Her 2009 workshop documentary, PRIMETIME: Fighting Back Against Foreclosure (with co-producer Manauvaskar Kublall) is a strikingly human and concise explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis and its disproportionate impact on families of color. The video screened at the MoMA Doc Fortnight in 2009 and is being used by many communities and classrooms today. We will miss her big smile, bright intellect, talent and great heart at Third World Newsreel.


Call Us 1 (212) 947-9277
  • Third World Newsreel
  • • 545 Eighth Avenue, Suite 550, New York, NY 10018
  • • Telephone 212-947-9277
  • • Fax 212-594-6417