To produce, distribute and screen film and video made in the Americas by community media organizations and independent filmmakers. Through screenings at universities, cultural institutions, community media centers and film festivals our goal is to broaden the US audience’s understanding of issues faced by marginalized populations and encourage further investigation through cultural exchange.
AMI is the only organization working nationally in the U.S. to bring the work of emerging Cuban filmmakers to diverse venues and audiences - from think tanks in Washington, D.C. to urban farmers in Detroit. In Cuba, AMI is the first U.S. organization ever given permission to tour the provinces with U.S. films. Our Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias Documentary Program has traveled to 16 towns in the Cuban provinces and reached more than 800 Cuban citizens, sparking critical and meaningful discussions on gun control, the Iraq War and racism. Closing Distances has brought U.S. documentaries, filmmakers and programmers to audiences in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, Baracoa, Guantanamo, Bayamo, Camaguey, Holguin, Cienfuegos, Havana and Pinar del Río. In April 2015, at the Muestra Joven in Havana, AMI became the first U.S. organization ever to give a cash prize at a Cuban film festival. Since 2011, AMI has invited 13 Cuban filmmakers to the United States and distributed close to 800 DVDs of Cuban independent and community media to more than 70 universities, as well as to individuals in the United States and Canada. AMI now has 12 films in its Cuba DVD catalogue; a distribution collaboration with Icarus Films has allowed educational sales to grow. In this period of new openness, AMI continues to be at the forefront - supporting Cuban independent filmmakers as they tell the stories of Cuba’s past, present and future.
Alexandra Halkin, Director, Americas Media Initiative
In 1998, Alexandra founded the Chiapas Media Project an award winning bi-national organization that has trained over 200 indigenous men and women in video production in Chiapas and Guerrero, Mexico. Alexandra has consulted with various organizations such as Witness and CLACPI (Latin American Coordinator for Indigenous Film and Communication). In 2004, Alexandra was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for the Latin American Indigenous Video Initiative (LAIVI). In 2007, Alexandra was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the Indigenous Audiovisual Archive (IAA) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Alexandra has produced four documentaries in Guerrero, Mexico and her work has been screened at film and video festivals worldwide. In 2010, Alexandra completed a short documentary, LIVING JUAREZ, which looks at the neighborhood of Villas de Salvárcar where 15 youths were murdered at a birthday party in January 2010. In 2010, Alexandra founded the Americas Media Initiative (AMI) a non-profit organization that works with Cuban filmmakers living in Cuba.
AMI BOARD OF DIRECTORS
María Isabel Alfonso, Associate Professor, St. Joseph's College, NY
Deb Ellis, Filmmaker and Associate Professor, Film and Television Studies Program, University of Vermont
Andrés Caballero, Documentary Filmmaker and Radio Journalist, New York City
Jesus Hernandez, Producer, New York City
Catherine Murphy, Filmmaker and Literacy Expert, Miami, FL
Clemencia Rodriguez, Professor Dept. of Communication, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
AMI ADVISORY BOARD
Gustavo Arcos, Professor of Film, FAMCA, Cultural Critic, Cuba
Sarah Doty, Social Sciences Research Council, U.S.
Sujatha Fernandes, Professor of Sociology, CUNY, U.S.
Ernesto Granado, Cinematographer, Cuba
Katrin Hansing, Professor of Anthropology, CUNY, U.S.
Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, International Documentary Association, U.S.
David Leitner, Cinematographer, U.S.
Gordon Quinn, Filmmaker, Kartemquin Films, U.S.
Mónica Rivero, Journalist, Cuba
Marisol Rodríguez, Director, Muestra Joven, Cuba
AMI is funded in part by:
The Ford Foundation
The Christopher Reynolds Foundation
The Lucius and Eva Eastman Foundation
The Pride Foundation
and many generous individual donors across the U.S.