"Ideas + Empathy = impact" is the motto for The Nation of Artists. We sat down with the Founder and CEO of this innovative company, Elliot Kotek, to learn more about how they work with a broad range of parters to leverage the power of story to create change.
1. Love the line from your website "Ideas + Empathy = impact". It seems like this social impact space continues to expand and you are connecting a lot of dots - storytelling, innovation . Tell us more about Nation of Artists what sounds like a very unique model
2. With all the new ideas around branded content, can you share a few examples of how "Brands are using stories" and content to do good in the world? And how you've worked with them.
3. We did some work together back when you were publishing Moving Pictures. The "content" universe has certainly changed. Can you give us an example of how content is integrated into your work...Journalism with Beyond, and AFCI?
4. Back in 2000, we had short films online, as that was all the bandwidth could handle. iFILM and Atom bet on convergence, but they were too far ahead of the curve. Now we have hundreds of streaming platforms, with movies (longform) but a youth culture more interested in shorter form, and new forms of video storytelling. How do you see short form content exhibition evolving over the next few years. Content on the go, vs binge watching
5. I see this double edged sword for this expanded interest the in social impact space. Do you think it will continue to escalate until its just the new normal...or do you think it's just a combo of creative filmmakers, lower barrier to entry and sign of people trying to connect to the world around them in uneasy times?
Elliot Kotek Bio:
Elliot Kotek is the CEO & founder of The Nation of Artists, founder of Beyond Cinema and co-founded Not Impossible. He believes in the power of content and campaigns to change the world and takes pride in building collaborative teams around ideas that deliver real impact to real people in real need. The producer of groundbreaking projects like 140 and Project Daniel, Don's Voice and Queen Mimi, Elliot directs & produces brand-funded docs and VR for Qualcomm, Intel, HP, Sony, Hyundai, LEGO Education, California Almonds, Aflac, Accenture, Participant Media etc and his docs and docu-series have been shown at the Consumer Electronics Show, the United Nations Foundation and achieved distribution through National Geographic, FastCompany, Upworthy & GOOD magazine, Facebook Watch, Amazon and Netflix.
Lucky to have been honored with some of the big stuff - 2x SxSW Innovation Awards, 3x Cannes Lions (Titanium, Gold & Bronze), 5x Silver Tellys, 3x One Show Pencils, 3 Maggies, 2 AICP Awards, archiving at MoMA, Webby Award honors,NYU/Tisch Craft Award, the 2016 Innovation Fellowship at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, TEDMED Hive selection, Nominet Trust 100 List, he has spoken at the United Nations, US Institute of Peace, US Chamber of Commerce, SxSW, NxNE, Social Innovation Summit, Social Impact Week, Anderson School of Business, Techweek, Philanthropy Summit, DOHA Goals, Global Marathon et al.
A leading mind on purposeful content, technology for good, innovating for humanity, storytelling for social impact, Elliot hosted the 2018 SxSW Innovation Awards & sits on the board of directors of The Giving Back Fund.
We’re excited to dive into film production today with a successful, and very prolific, film producer - Gill Holland.
1. You wear a lot of hats, and are continue to be very respected both the film and music worlds. Tell us more about your workflow, and how your film and music roles intersect.
2. You've managed to have a successful career, living on the indie side of Hollywood, before we jump into your current work, give us a few highlights from projects over the years. A story or two, lessons learned (emerging filmmakers want to learn from these podcasts)
3. So you have two films that have been playing the fest circuit, that will soon be seen by audiences, on their platform or choice I assume. 7 Splinters in Time is one of them. Tell us more about this project and how/when our listeners can see it?
4. Beauty Mark is another film of yours recently acquired for distribution. Give us some background on how you got involved in that project.
5. Since this is clearly in the Cause Cinema space, and knowing it is based on a true story, was there a mission to just share this important story, or was there an intention to create a call to action or movement?
Any final thoughts or tips for our aspiring listeners out there. Words of wisdom we can't read in a book about this crazy business?
And how about your film picks?
Gill Holland Bio
Spirit Award nominee for Producer of the Year, Gill Holland has worked on over 100 films, including producing “HURRICANE STREETS”, the first film ever to win three prizes at Sundance. Other Sundance faves include FLOW: For Love of Water, which I supported over at Cause Cinema fyi, SPRING FORWARD, LOGGERHEADS, IT FELT LIKE LOVE and LOOK AND SEE: A Portrait of Wendell Berry.
He worked on SXSW-winners MAIDENTRIP and MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, Emmy-nominated DEAR JESSE and FOX TV hit GREG THE BUNNY. Other award-winners include SWEETLAND, WHERE HOPE GROWS, and AN HONEST LIAR. He runs sonaBLAST!, a music label and publisher with over 2,000 songs from acts like Ben Sollee and soundtracks from films like 7 SPLINTERS IN TIME, BEAUTY MARK, and the upcoming 2018 Cannes Film Festival competition selection YOMEDDINE. He is deeply involved in Louisville’s civic, political, and cultural life.
You can find Gill via http://www.sonablast.com/
This is a very exciting time for social impact cinema, as a low barrier to entry combines with an increase in public interest for Cause Cinema.