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Filmmaker aims to democratize social action

Technology Puts a New Twist on Mobilizing Fans

Iranian-American documentary filmmaker Bita Haidarian, whose work has been described as "the best hope for film and politics in Australia," launched a groundbreaking project this week, giving her fans a deciding voice in the new initiative.

After placing a rough trailer of her upcoming film Finding Bibi online in December, Haidarian was inundated with positive responses. The film itself, which follows Haidarian around the world as she documents the lives of Middle Eastern women and interviews notables like human rights activist Mukhtaran Bibi, already serves as a clarion call for women's empowerment. But her fans wanted more.

In response, Haidarian, the daughter of Baha'i religious refugees from Iran, announced the Finding Bibi movement this week. But unlike many documentary activists, Bita decided to bring her fans in at the very beginning. Rather than craft a program in isolation and mobilizing supporters around it, she is offering them the chance create the first project themselves.

Using the ranking technology Slinkset, similar to applications used in social bookmarking sites like Digg, Finding Bibi fans are able to submit project ideas and other comments which their peers can rate by clicking simple up or down arrows. Over time, the most popular ideas rise to the top. After submitting the top five projects to a final vote, Haidarian has committed to working out the logistics and obtaining the resources to transform the best idea into a reality.

"By giving our fans an active role in building the organization and its projects from the get-go, we know they'll be even more committed to seeing it succeed later on," said Todd Brogan, Head of Creative Expansion for Finding Bibi. "We're creating a cycle of empowerment. We give fans ownership in projects that will in turn empower women and girls to act against the attitudes and practices negatively affecting them."

The website,, also features updates on the film and its most recent trailer, as well as regular blog posts on the constantly innovating organization. The film is slated for completion late this year.


If you would like more information about Finding Bibi the film or movement, please direct all questions to Todd Brogan at

... Payvand News - 03/30/09 ... --

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