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by Mark Elijah Rosenberg
June 12th, 2009

On Saturday, June 13, Rooftop Films will host the US Premiere of Persona Non Grata, a documentary directed by Fabio Wuytack and co-funded by the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund. The film tells the story of the filmmaker’s father, Franz Wuytack, a sculptor who spent many years in the 1970s as a missionary in Venezuela, fighting for the rights of the impoverished. Wuytack was so radically left-wing that he was ex-communicated from the church and exiled from Venezuela–twice! 

Now decades later, Wuytack returns to Venezuela as a working-class and artistic hero in this gorgeous and inspiring film. Featuring exciting material from his days an activist and touching footage from his return, the film has won numerous awards at European film festivals and competitions. Be the first to see it in the US! 
Fabio Wuytack will be in attendance on Saturday at Rooftop Films, partaking in a panel discussion before the film and a Q & A afterward. I hung out with Fabio and his family in Belgium, and he’s a brilliant speaker and a lot of fun. Watch an interview with him below. 
SATURDAY, JUNE 13 
PERSONA NON GRATA – GET TICKETS
U.S. Premiere! 
Prosecuted as a rebel. Banned as a priest. Committed as an artist. Loved as a father. An inspiring documentary–co-funded by Rooftop Films–about the filmmaker’s father, Franz Wuytack, a radical left-wing Belgian missionary in the slums of Venezuela in the 1960s. With a new liberal movement sweeping Latin America, and people like Wuytack needing to continue the fight for social justice in the US and around the world, this film is crucially relevant today.


  PERSONA NON GRATA

VenueOn the roof of the Old American Can Factory
Address232 3rd St. @ 3rd Ave. (Gowanus/ Park Slope, Brooklyn)
Directions: F/G to Carroll St. or M/R to Union Ave.
Rain: In the event of rain the show will be held indoors at the same location

5:00PMPanel discussion: “Message Vs. Craft,” outside in courtyard

6:30PM: Panel discussion: “Filmmaking Strategy,” outside in courtyard

7:30-9:00PMReception in the courtyard including free sangria courtesy of Carlo Rossi

8:30PM: Live music by Nutria NN presented by Sound Fix Records
9:00PM: Film
Tickets: $9-$25 at the door or online 
Presented in partnership with: Cinereach, New York magazine, IndiePix, Shooting People & XØ Projects

MAP

 

PANEL DISCUSSIONS, presented with Cinereach, Shooting People and IndiePix:
 
 

 

5:00-6:00PM 
Message vs. Craft: The Art of Effective “Issue” Storytelling

When a filmmaker takes on a topic related to social justice or human rights it is often with the hope of influencing public opinion and inspiring action. To achieve that, a film must reach and engage the right audience, in the right numbers. It must also portray the human impact of the issue o
r problem persuasively. How does a “social issue” filmmaker balance the need to educate with the public’s desire to be entertained? How does he/she move past preaching to the choir and make a film that can become a catalyst for real change? This panel will provide advice on the above from documentary and fiction filmmakers including Fabio Wuytack (Director of Persona Non Grata) and Paola Mendoza (Entre Nos), whose work successfully walks the issue/entertainment line. Leah Sapin of Arts Engine (which specializes in production and outreach for socially relevant films), and New York magazine film critic Bilge Ebiri will join the discussion, to be moderated by Lina Srivastava. 
Panelists include:
Lina Srivastava (consultant to non profit media companies working for social change) – moderator
Justin Schein (Co-director of No Impact Man)
Fabio Wuytack (Director of Persona Non Grata
Bilge Ebiri (film critic from New York magazine)
Paola Mendoza (Director of Entre Nos)
Tony Gerber (Co-Director of Full Battle Rattle)

6:30-7:30pm
Filmmaking Strategy:
Tips, Tools and Wisdom to Help You Make the Right Decisions For Your Film

Filmmakers have to be both artists and strategists to get their films made and seen and this is the case now more than ever as changes in funding and distribution force filmmakers to shoulder more of the crucial decisions on their own. This panel will help you learn how to be the best advocate for your film by asking all the tough questions that you will have to ask along the way. For example: How much work (and what work) do you need to achieve on your own before approaching a funder? And how can you tailor your pitch to communicate your vision to a foundation vs. an equity investor? What other funding options are there? How do you balance traditional outreach to festivals, sales agents, broadcasters, and distributors with the need to also create your own fan base? Which distribution deals do you accept? How do know when a deal is a good deal? How do you hope for the best but plan for the worst?

Panelists include:
Ingrid Kopp (Shooting People) – moderator
Adella Ladjevardi (Cinereach)
Janet Brown (Cinetic)
Liz Ogilvie (B-Side)
Simon Kilmurry (POV)
Tia Lessin (Co-Director of Trouble the Water)
Andy Bichlbaum (Co-Director of The Yes Men Fix the World)

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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