Changeworx E-News: Fall 2013

‘The little film that could’ comes to C-Span, Dok Leipzig & your living room

Whether you’re receiving our seasonal mailing for the first time or with us for over a decade, thank you for being a part of what we’re creating at Changeworx. Thanks to supporters like you, over a year after the film’s premiere we are now entering one of our biggest weeks ever for our still-new film FOLLOW THE LEADER:

• Sunday night nationwide in the US, C-Span will broadcast an hour-long primetime interview (8-9pm) about the film featuring several clips.

• Tuesday evening in Germany at 5:30pm, the film has its German Premiere at the prestigious festival Dok Leipzig, where FOLLOW THE LEADER was first pitched publicly within the Documentary Campus pitching forum in 2007.

• We’re also a week from the statewide elections in Virginia, where featured participant Ken Cuccinelli (Ben’s mentor in the film) is currently the Republican candidate for Governor in perhaps the most important political race of the year for providing insight toward what will happen in the nationwide 2014 midterm elections.

Follow the Leader

“When we meet the ambitious high school seniors of FOLLOW THE LEADER, the documentary looks like an examination of the care and feeding of Young Republicans. It quickly becomes an entirely different, and far more interesting, film…As a portrait of baby politicos, FOLLOW THE LEADER contains some fascinating insights. Maybe all politics is just like high school, the film suggests. Really, though, the movie is about so much more than politics. Its true subject isn’t the vicissitudes of politics, but of life.”

— Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

Last month we were honored to have a week-long theatrical release in the Washington, D.C.-area at the Angelika Film Center Mosaic, timed to the back-to-school period and overlapping with the 9/11 anniversary. The film was also broadcast on the new series America ReFramed on PBS stations elsewhere in the country the same week. Among other press, we were particularly pleased that Roll Call
covered the film and the theme of 9/11’s impact on our participants
. After reading about the film in the press, C-Span Founder & Executive Chairman Brian Lamb (pictured at the Angelika with our film poster, left) came out to a screening; days later, he invited me to come on his show on C-Span to discuss it. What a privilege it was to discuss the project, and a wide range of topics I’m not typically asked about (least of all for broadcast), for a full hour! Tune-in or set your DVR to see what we discussed on C-Span’s aptly titled show “Q&A” THIS Sunday on C-Span at 8-9pm (rebroadcasts Sunday, 11pm-12am & Monday, 6-7am).

Prompted by this national broadcast, we are also offering DVDs & Blu-Rays for sale for the first time at the Changeworx Online Store, at a discounted price for a limited time. Previous films including SUNNY INTERVALS AND SHOWERS (also featured near the end of the C-Span hour) are also available for convenient purchase in both North American (NTSC) and European (PAL) formats. If you know any college or high school educators who might be interested in using the film in their classrooms, we would be particularly grateful for any referrals; feel free to just hit reply and to send me any leads or ideas directly.

If you want to bring the film to your community, we are also continuing our College & Community Tour through the Spring. And if you want to bring the film to your local AMC, Cinemark, or Regal cinema, it’s now up on for risk-free cinema screenings nationwide. (And for those who want something even simpler, it’s availabe in the US on iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, Playstation, Google Play & Vudu.)

Follow the Leader: Reality Check


October was also a big month for REALITY CHECK INTERACTIVE – our interactive format for television, computer, iPad and iPhone that breaks social issue documentaries into episodes alternating with interactive sections. In the RCI experience, participants’ responses are reported anonymously but shared in real-time split along demographic lines so that all participants get a “reality check” about what others really think & feel. A successful live event, we presented the online, on-demand platform idea publicly for the first time just a few weeks ago: Briefly at the Storycode Transmedia gathering in New York held at Ogilvy, and then at the inaugural Storycode DC Launch Event during Washington’s Media Rise Festival. Partly an introduction and demonstration, partly a call for collaborators, the response (especially from civically-engaged Washingtonians) was electric. Please
get in touch if you are a designer, technologist, developer, or potential beta-tester who wants to help us create the prototype REALITY CHECK: FOLLOW THE LEADER INTERACTIVE. The aim is to provoke more thoughtful dialogue – and work toward the de-polarization of our polarized political space in America – leading up to the 2014 elections next year.

Follow the Leader


With the exception of FOLLOW THE LEADER‘s Graphics Producer Emily Branham, who also happens to be my dearest advisor in life as well, two people have been particularly instrumental behind the scenes to FOLLOW THE LEADER‘s continuing distribution success – each for well over a year now. Amélie Walker-Yung
is a superstar web designer who developed our Official Website and designs various Changeworx materials (such as the template for this E-Newsletter!). The web developer behind sites for clients from Coyote Ugly Saloon to Archaeological Institute of America, Amélie never seems to get flustered and always does brilliant work on-time & on-budget! Also a superstar, I can’t imagine a publicist who’s more conscientious and hard-working than Brian Geldin. Now in his 4th year as publicity liaison for DOC NYC, Brian has a busy November representing films including The Ghosts in Our Machine, opening Nov. 8 in New York & Nov. 15 in L.A. I can’t recommend each of them highly enough, and you should approach
Amélie & Brian well in-advance (before their schedules fill up) if you have any web design or publicity needs!

We’ll close this Fall Edition of the Changeworx E-News by mentioning another ‘little film that could’AMONG THE BELIEVERS (former working title: Two Children of the Red Mosque), directed by Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Naqvi, produced by Changeworx & Manjusha Films. A recent Emmy-winner for editing on Oscar-winner Saving Face, Director Hemal Trivedi’s first full-length film as a director is slowly but steadily moving toward completion. What a long way it’s come from when we attended HotDocs together a few years ago (pictured, above) to pitch it together for the first time! Our multi-ethnic, pan-religious team can’t wait to share it with you at some point next year.

If you ever have thoughts or feedback about our work at any time, we’d love to hear from you. On behalf of everyone involved in our projects and from the bottom of my heart, all good wishes to you for a joyous Fall Season.

Jonathan and Team Changeworx


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A provocative, amusing coming-of-age story about teen boys who discover…politics isn’t just child’s play.

The Only Film to World Premiere during the 2012 Republican & Democratic Conventions

Featured by CNN, Fox News, Politico, and The Huffington Post

Sold for Distribution in 10 countries across Europe and Japan

“A real-life coming-of-age story for political junkies” – Education Week

“Completely authentic…and without political bias like no film I’ve ever seen.”

– Rich Tafel, President, Public Squared; Founder, Log Cabin Republicans

“Like Michael Apted’s 7 Up Series” – Filmmaker Magazine