2015 Workshops

In 2015 CMG hosted two Catalyst Workshops. The first ran from July 5-11th with a focus on Healthy Oceans, and the second ran from July 12-18th with a focus on Renewable Energy Solutions. The workshops took place at Alnoba in Kensington, New Hampshire, an hour’s drive north of Boston. Participants stayed in on-site cabins & shared meals while focusing on conservation, video and impact. Over the course of these two weeks, CMG helped incubate 9 projects for 8 conservation organizations, with 23 workshop participants and a wide range of speakers and staff. Also in attendance were CMG's first Filmmakers-in-Residence. Workshop partner organizations included those who are working in ocean conservation, renewable energy and sustainability education.

Participants included:

  • Producer, National Geographic
  • Independent Filmmaker, San Francisco
  • Founder & Executive Director, Windustry
  • Independent Filmmaker, New York
  • Climate Fellow, Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire
  • Conservation graduate student and an underwater cinematographer, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Filmmaker & Wildlife Conservation Biologist, University of Rhode Island
  • Independent Filmmaker, Tennessee
  • Teacher and Independent Artist, Northfield Mountain Hermon School
  • Independent Filmmaker, Alabama
  • Producer, PBS
  • Filmmaker, China
  • Marine Conservation Director, Turkey
  • Journalist, UK
  • Independent Filmmaker, Massachusetts
  • Independent Filmmaker, Washington, DC
  • Marketing Manager, The Ocean Foundation
  • Founder & Exec. Director, Women in Solar Energy

Speakers included:

  • Digital Director, 350.org
  • Founder, Island Institute
  • President, The Ocean Foundation
  • Cinematographer, BBC
  • Senior Online Strategist, Greenpeace
  • Research and Strategy Director, Impact Media Funders
  • Senior Director of Programs, Fledgling Fund
  • Founder & Director, Dot Connector Studio

The Catalyst Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is a practical, project-based learning assignment that challenges organizations and filmmakers to push their projects further. Each Capstone begins with ocean health or renewable energy objectives set by each organization and ends with a 30-90 second concept video with a call-to-action. Capstone groups also develop strategic plans for campaigns, with a focus on distribution, outreach and engagement. Every project includes key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of the video and campaign. Through this process organizations and filmmakers develop deeper working relationships that extend beyond the workshop week.


                                                                                                                           2015 Oceans Catalyst Workshop Participants

2015 Capstone Projects: Oceans

Mediterranean Conservation Society

Zafer Kizilkaya, our 2015 Blue Initiative grantee, joined us from Turkey from the Mediterranean Conservation Society.  Zafe was paired with filmmaker Ingrid Pfau and social media strategist Lauren Reid to work on a campaign to increase invasive fish consumption as part of a community-managed Marine Protected Area.  After the workshop, Zafer continued to work with filmmaker Ingrid on the film, which has now been screened with much success in Turkey.  The videos can be viewed on Zafer's project page.  The Capstone team’s social strategist, Lauren Reid, was hired as a researcher by CMG to work on the 2016 Islands & Climate Catalyst Workshops. Lauren returned as a participant for the Islands & Climate workshop where she worked as a strategist on a video campaign for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

The Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow

Marketing & Operations Manager, Jarrod Curry, joined us from Washington, DC from the Ocean Foundation with the objective to increase the use of their SeaGrass Grow online carbon calculator & to increase purchases of their blue carbon offsets. His Capstone team included filmmaker Kristin Tieche who continued to work on the project through a CMG Action Grant, and Scripps alum, Michelle Heller.  As a result of the workshop Michelle was hired on full-time by The Ocean Foundation as a Program Associate. The team’s videos launch publicly in early 2016 and can be seen on the Ocean Foundation's CMG Action Grant pageAfter the videos launched The Ocean Foundation received over $71,500 in pledged blue carbon offsets.  Jarrod returned for the 2016 Islands & Climate workshop where he acted as a strategist for a Capstone Project for 350 Pacific.

Sailors for the Sea

Social Impact Director Hilary Kotoun’s objective for Sailors for the Sea was to increase the number of sailors to sign their No Trash, No Trail, No Trace Pledge. Their Capstone Project goal is to reach 300,000 views with their first 3 videos with an average pledge rate of 2% and a goal of 6,000 total pledges. Hilary was paired with National Geographic producer Hilary Hudson and Rhode Island filmmaker Ayla Fox.  As a result of the workshop Ayla was granted a CMG Fellowship with Sailors for the Sea, where she she developed strategy, creative direction, and more videos for their pledge project.  The final videos can be seen on Ayla's project page.  Each video received attention from over 100 media outlets and Sailors for the Sea's website traffic increased 74% as a result of the videos.  Ayla returned for the 2016 Islands & Climate workshop where she acted as the filmmaker for the Capstone Project for the Ocean View Foundation.

National Marine Sanctuaries

Producer Steve Ellzey from Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was paired up with Cynthia Matzke, an underwater cinematographer and lecturer at UCSD/Scripps, and Alexa Elliot, the Series Producer for PBS’s Changing Seas. This Capstone team developed a stunning visual journey which was then used to catalyze potential partnerships between diving manufacturers, National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.


                                                                                                                           2015 Energy Catalyst Workshop Participants

2015 Capstone Projects: Energy


Executive Director Lisa Daniels joined us from Minnesota-based Windustry, a non-profit focused on empowering communities to develop & own clean energy assets. Her objective was to increase the use of their newly created wind toolkit on their website and begin a conversation with the White House Administration about creating a national Community Wind Energy Partnership. With the help of filmmaker Jordan Fein and Climate Fellow Ravdeep Jaidka from the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute, the team developed the #StickWindHere campaign & video.  After the workshops Windustry was given an Action Grant which developed the campaign even further, resulting in a catchy and convincing short video, which can be seen on the Windstury project page.  As a result of the video campaign over 1,000 signatures were collected serving as a show of support for creating a National Community Wind Partnership with the White House Administration.

Women in Solar Energy

Founder Kristen Nicole joined us with the objective of using video to tell WISE’s story & obtain partnership with corporations to support their work. We paired her with Chithra Jeyaram, an independent filmmaker from Washington, DC, and Hina Pandya, a freelance journalist from London. The team created a short film showing women as solar industry workers and as consumers of solar energy. A second version of the film was also created to share via WISe’s social networks as a recruiting tool.

Hurricane Island Foundation

Sam Hallowell, Director of Hurricane Island Foundation’s Center for Science and Leadership, joined us with the objective to increase summer attendance for their island sustainability programs. We paired Sam with two emerging independent filmmakers: Jay Sia from Tennessee and Rita Liao from China. Together, they developed an Off-shore, Off-line, Off-the-grid video series aimed at engaging teachers, parents and students to explore the foundation’s programs on their website and sign up for their mailing list.  After the workshop CMG provided an Action Grant for the team to complete the films, which were released in early 2016.  The films can be viewed on Hurricane Island Foundation's project pageThe videos garnered a previously absent social media presence that the Foundation had never before experienced increasing their connectedness and broadening their audience reach

The CMG Workshops are made possible with generous support from the Lewis Family Conservation Foundation, providing us with direct program funding and use of Alnoba.