Join SBIFF for an in-depth discussion in this video Giving back, part of 2010 SBIFF Women's Panel: Creative Women in the Business.
(Music playing.) Madelyn Hammond: Sarah, so in addition to all the things that you and you mentioned you're from the business world also you're very begin to giving back in philanthropy. So I know you do the Food Banks and Energy UP Organization, Fresh Air Fund. Was this something that was kind of engrained in you from your parents something you did based on your desires or how did it come about and how active are you still today with limited time? Sarah Siegel Magness: Oh, we're very active.
This movie has given my husband and I an opportunity to really help people in a way that philanthropy does without having it be philanthropy, with spreading a positive message. I mean ultimately this film is about hope and we hope that people take that message away. But actually my husband and I are building with the Fresh Air Fund, a Camp Precious, which we haven't really talked about, that will house 209 campers, inner city girls that are underprivileged, and it will focus on literacy.
We're really excited about it. We're dedicating a library of like the best works to Sapphire and we'll continue to fund this for a long time and hopefully get a few other people involved in it. But I love film, because you really can do what you do with philanthropy and have it be a business and then also we like to take it from film, but continue to spread the message like that.
Once you make a film like Precious it's impossible to stop thinking about those girls and I think it would be irresponsible of my husband and I and Lee Daniels to really walk away from what we've learned from this film. So my job as a filmmaker, but also as a philanthropist and businessperson is to continue to help these girls on a very personal level, whether it's giving time, building Camp Precious or meeting other organizations like today, Girls Inc., and figuring out ways to continue to do the work. [00:02:16.6 8] Madelyn Hammond: Well, it's in extending that message so it goes way beyond when the film is out of the theatres and you've kind of lit the fire and now you're just fanning the flame.
That's a nice thing. It's good. (Applause.) Amanda, talk to us about it. It doesn't have to necessarily be philanthropy, but I'm sure along the wayswith the work that you've done, you've must have come across, particularly with the former USSR and the other film that you've mentioned, along the way where you were just touched in such a way you thought I've got to do more and what can I do and get involved? Amanda Pope: Well, really I think the current film that Tchavdar Georgiev and I are doing, The Desert Of Forbidden Art, is a wonderful example of something that we-- An art collection and stories that we found out about doing another project and we were just-- It was so impossible, we immediately became interested.
Then the whole idea of doing a film that could bring a collection that was close to inaccessible. You can go to the city where this collection is. It's in Nukus. It's the far western desert of Uzbekistan and when we were filming there it got to be 122 degrees. [00:03:37.38 So I mean you can go there in the summer. You can in the winter. It gets below 30. It's not-- The film can bring this collection of 40,000 paintings and graphic art, which are really, it's a missing chapter of Russian art history.
And if by doing the film we can bring international attention to this collection, which will protect it. Because once it's known we have the paintings there somebody can't just go in and say well I think I'll take this home with me, if you're a bureaucrat or wicked person. So by doing the film and then we hope to be able to-- We're working on doing a book to go with it.
People, universities, many people can have access to this art and they can study it and at the same time mobilize support and interest in this museum and hopefully turn around the whole attitude of the Uzbekistan government, which can-- One can do well to push them in a progressive direction and if they could only see this collection as a way to bring people to their country and also bring resources.
It's great to do a film that is challenging aesthetically and then as well can open people's hearts and their aesthetics. So that's what the film can do. I mean that's what our hope for it is. Madelyn Hammond: Is there going to be a book as well so that? Amanda Pope: That's what we hope, in the shameless promotion department. We do need to raise the funding for it, but we have two wonderful people that we hope to work with here in Santa Barbara.
So just as you say, once you do a film you don't walk away. People say, what's your next project? The next project is putting this film out in the world, getting the book done, taking it to Russia. Can you imagine in Russia people have never seen this art? They're going to flip. It's these artists went from Russia to Uzbekistan and got inspired just as Gauguin went to Tahiti.
So it's great. It's hard work, but it's great. Madelyn Hammond: Are you using social networking or anything viral since the budget is limited in terms of getting a word out? Amanda Pope: My partner Tchavdar is teaching me about social networking and we are moving in that direction and thanks to him I may even learn what to do when I get something saying in Facebook when somebody wants to add me to. Madelyn Hammond: Could be your ex-boyfriend. Ask Erin about that. (Laughter.) Amanda Pope: But I think actually social networking is the way for us in the nonprofit world and for those of us who have a small idea or big idea, it is the way for us to get our message out there.
Madelyn Hammond: Particularly with a limited budget and a message like that. On How to Train Your Dragon. Bonnie, are you guys do anything special with respect of viral marketing? Madelyn Hammond: I guess you don't really need to for a film that big. Bonnie Arnold: What aren't we doing? So this is my film that's coming out on March 26th, if you don't mind me saying, from DreamWorks Animation called How to Train Your Dragon. So this is a big whole animated movie. We're doing everything, all over the place.
I mean we have websites and I mean over the next six weeks to be honest with you, we're working on it, because this is of day and date world-wide release in 3D. Madelyn Hammond: In 3D? Bonnie Arnold: Moving up to that we'll be doing-- I think we'll be doing a lot of that type of thing and I know we have a website. We have all types of things. Madelyn Hammond: It's funny you can do such a small film like Last Station with a somewhat older cast and then complete other direction at the same time, because you are still juggling Last Station. Bonnie Arnold: It's definitely a whole-- It's just so interesting just to study and just a completely different thing.
There's never been, like Precious, there's probably never been a real more independent film than Last Station in terms of raising the money completely from whatever, versus a big studio film. And it's just interesting the differences and the types of things that you have to be concerned about on a daily basis. Madelyn Hammond: But Amanda, it's about the last days of Tolstoy. So there's a whole Russia. Bonnie Arnold: Yeah, we have a connection in the whole Russia thing, because definitely we get to have support of the Tolstoy family when making The Last Station. Amanda Pope: In last February I was in Russia and was in the Tolstoy home in Moscow.
In a snow storm you look outside the room where Tolstoy was and it's snowing outside and there are Russian crows on the trees, oh, my goodness!