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DC/DOX Film Festival 2024

Reality Check Panel: Films Drive Action

Friday, June 14
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Planet Word, Friedman Family Auditorium

925 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Reality Check Panel: Films Drive Action

Christy Turlington Burns, Founder and President, Every Mother Counts

Kate Dumke, Co-director, Preconceived

Nicole Mackinlay Hahn, Director, Giving Birth in America: Arkansas

Rep. Lauren Underwood, Illinois’ 14th Congressional District

Through the lens of maternal health and reproductive rights, this panel will explore how films can effectively drive impact and shape policy agendas. Filmmakers have long understood the medium’s power to spur action on pressing social justice issues. Few storytelling formats can match the capacity of film to influence public perception, mobilize communities, and even sway legislation, regulation, and policymakers’ stances on crucial social matters. Gain valuable insights from filmmakers and advocates with significant policy goals, as well as from policymakers themselves.

Founder & President, Every Mother Counts

Every Mother Counts (EMC) founder and President Christy Turlington Burns’ work in maternal health began after experiencing a childbirth related complication in 2003—an experience that would later inspire her to direct and produce the documentary feature film, No Woman, No Cry, about the challenges women face throughout pregnancy and childbirth around the world. Under Christy’s leadership, Every Mother Counts has invested more than $25 million in programs in Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States focused on making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. Before founding EMC, Christy received international acclaim as a model representing the world’s biggest fashion and beauty brands which she leveraged to become a health and wellness advocate. She has authored a book about yoga, Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice (Hyperion 2002), and has been featured on thousands of magazine covers. Turlington Burns has been one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year. Christy graduated Cum Laude from NYU’s Gallatin School of Independent Studies and studied Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She has completed 10 Marathons on behalf of Team EMC and lives in New York City with her husband, filmmaker Edward Burns, and their two children.

Co-director, Preconceived

Kate Dumke is a storyteller with a boundless curiosity for the human experience and a special interest in cultural/societal influences and women’s lives. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and photography before continuing her documentary studies in New York City at the International Center of Photography’s Documentary and Visual Studies program.

Director, Giving Birth In America: Arkansas

Nicole Mackinlay Hahn is a transdisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and advocate whose work highlights sociopolitical ideas while amplifying stories of discovery and environmental futures. She grew up working a family business on Fire Island National Seashore, which led to many campfire conversations with park rangers and environmental stewards. With documentary roots, Nicole seeks a naturalistic approach across diverse communities around the globe.

Nicole has worked extensively in Africa, filming for her interactive project concerning workers in the garment industry. The resulting Mirror / Africa installation has been exhibited internationally, from the New Museum of New York to the London College of Fashion. Her continued interest in the lives of workers and food security led to The Welcome Table Project, commissioned by Louverture Films. Nicole directed a series of short film portraits that map the labor chain of food industry workers and were featured at the Tribeca Film Festival/Interactive. Her short film, Burkina, Princess Yennenga, featuring a series of intimate portraits of a group of Burkinabé women, is published on Nowness. Nicole’s documentary work has received multiple awards including a Gold Lion at the 2016 Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

Congresswoman (IL-14)

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood serves Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and was first sworn into Congress on January 3, 2019. She is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress.

Rep. Underwood is a registered nurse and co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, which addresses America’s Black Maternal Health crisis in Congress and advances policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end disparities. Rep. Underwood is Co-Chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and serves on the House Committee on Appropriations.

Prior to her election to Congress, she served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), helping communities across the country prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, bioterror threats, and public health emergencies. As a career public servant at HHS, she also helped implement the Affordable Care Act, broadening access for those on Medicare, improving health care quality, and reforming private insurance. Rep. Underwood has taught future nurse practitioners through Georgetown University’s online master’s program and worked with a Medicaid plan in Chicago to ensure it provided high-quality, cost-efficient care.

She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University, and a lifelong Girl Scout. Rep. Underwood resides in Naperville, Illinois.