Masterclass: The Power of Voice in the Cinema of Social Change

Interdisciplinary research,
education and capacity building

10 Apr 2017

Next week, John Fiege, Professor at the University of Texas, and Anita Grabowski will give a three-hour Masterclass in The Madeira Film Festival.


Within the context of UT Austin and M-ITI partnership, John Fiege, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Anita Grabowski are giving the workshop "The Power of Voice in the Cinema of Social Change".

This workshop is part of the Madeira Film Festival and discusses the following topics: Storytelling, Production, Interactivity, Outreach and Fundraising.

The M-ITI MHCI student Sara Stalla designed the event poster.


Date: Wednesday, April 19 (10am to 1pm)
Venue: Teatro Municipal Baltazar Días (Madeira)
Entrance: Paid (3€ or free with Madeira Film Festival pass)
Speakers: John Fiedge & Anita Grabowski


About The Madeira Film Festival

The Madeira Film Festival is a celebration of nature through the power of film. The festival has an annual edition during springtime on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

This independent international film festival, inspired by nature, brings together several initiatives associated with Sustainability, Art, Education, Eco-Tourism and Leisure, a tribute to the Laurissilva Forest consecrated as World Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

In its sixth edition, the Madeira Film Festival stands out for its diversified program combining cinematography with musical concerts, lectures, workshops and solidarity fashion shows in an intimate and unique setting.

This festival also makes a difference for its educational aspect aimed at the development of projects in numerous areas namely: communication and marketing, multimedia, arts and design, theater, environment and sustainability, among many others, in an event that aims to raise awareness for the ecological preservation of natural resources, and provides an excellent opportunity for those who wish their film project to be evaluated by international cinematographers.


About the Masterclass

This Master class will probe the power of voice in the cinema of social change through an exploration of John and Anita’s work and its place in a broader project of the arts as a public intellectual pursuit. They will show clips from several of their film projects – features and shorts, completed and in-progress-and discuss storytelling, production, interactivity, outreach, fundraising and perseverance in a media landscape dominated by commercial interests.


For more information please write to


About the Speakers

John Fiege is a director, cinematographer, and photographer whose films have played at the Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, Museum of Modern Art, and Hot Docs, among many others. His latest film, ABOVE ALL ELSE, is a feature-length documentary about the Keystone XL pipeline that premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival, with an international premiere at Hot Docs. The film won Best North American Documentary at the Global Visions Festival and a Special Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival. MISSISSIPPI CHICKEN, his intimate portrait of immigrants working in the poultry industry, was nominated for a Gotham Award for “The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.” He recently photographed the 2014 Sundance documentary selection, NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY. He holds a BA from Carleton College, an MS in cultural geography and environmental history from The Pennsylvania State University, and an MFA in film production from the University of Texas at Austin, where he also works as a lecturer.


Anita Grabowski is the Communications Director for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Previously, she served as the Texas State Campaign Coordinator for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. An Austin resident since 2001, Anita has over twelve years of experience organizing throughout the southeast and nationally on a diverse set of social justice and policy initiatives with the Center for Community Change and the Equal Justice Center. During this time, she was a founding member and lead organizer for the Mississippi Poultry Workers Center, a grassroots organizing project working to breakdown racial and language barriers between African American and Latino poultry workers in order to develop joint organizing campaigns to improve workplace conditions.
Anita works as a producer on her husband’s films including, Above All Else (in production) and Mississippi Chicken (2007). They use visual storytelling through film and photography to engage new and diverse audiences in pressing social issues.
Anita received her Bachelor of Arts from New York University in political science and Latin American studies and her Master of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in Latin American studies with a focus in social anthropology.