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Life Arts    H4'ed 11/25/19

The Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival Wins Best Festival Award at FestFourms 2019

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Left-Michael McCray, Co-founder, Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival; Right-Dawn Padmore, Director/Producer, Harlem EatUp!
Left-Michael McCray, Co-founder, Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival; Right-Dawn Padmore, Director/Producer, Harlem EatUp!
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On November 20-22, over 1,000 attendees and exhibitors converged on the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, formerly The Fess Parker. FestForums Santa Barbara awarded lifetime achievement awards to Jon Anderson, Penelope Spheeris, and Ray Parker Jr., and winners from three festival types: Music; Arts, Film & Culture; and Food & Beverages. The Whistleblower Summit won "Best of the Fests" for innovative in Arts, Film & Culture. The "Best of the Fests," is an award ceremony recognizing North America's leading festivals. ( ) Earlier this year the ACORN 8 hosted the 8thAnnual Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival on Capitol Hill (


"I want to say thank you on behalf of Marcel Reid, the summit co-organizer, and the entire whistleblower community. We are extremely pleased to receive this recognition and "Best of the Fests" award as a breakthrough festival in Arts, Film & Culturebecause we are largely considered a group of misfits. Whistleblowers are often maligned, marginalized and largely ignored. However, recent events in the international news prove that whistleblowers play a very important role in society and popular culture. And the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival celebrates them.

"I would like to specifically thank FestFourms for this award and your positive reaction to our community. Specifically, Laurie Kirby and Stuart MacNaught for making this happen and allowing us to participate in an event with organizers of festivals that changed the world like Woodstock, Coachella, Sundance, Burning Man and Essence. I also want to thank C.R. Caper and the Harlem Film House for noticing the summit and recognizing our efforts and longevity as African American event organizers within the festival community. Including the Whistleblower Summit on stage with Essence, BET Live, Broccoli City and Harlem Eat Up was truly amazing.

"On the first day of FestFourms, I took the festival boot camp and discovered that we were doing everything WRONG. There were half-a-dozen to a dozen tips and best practices and we did none of them right. Except for one thingour WHY. We exist to provide a sense of community and support network for whistleblowers and advocates. We save lives! We have our WHY and that makes all the difference. Thank you"

-- Michael McCray, Co-founder

Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival

For The Culture Panel Speakers
For The Culture Panel Speakers
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Festivals that focus on African American culture have become a driving force in the festival industry. From Essence Festival in New Orleans, which boasts over half a million attendees, to AC3 in Atlanta, to festivals produced by Hip Hop moguls and top names in the industry, and prestigious festivals in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill, festivals mired in the Black experience are in a unique position to claim market space in a world oversaturated with festivals. The panel examined the unique perspective of these festivals from the men and women who defy industry norms and have made culture a global experience using music, film, health and cuisine.

"We designed the Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights to highlight the contributions of women and minority whistleblowers along with public health and safety advocates. Earlier this year we honored John Singleton with the Mary Pickford Award, not for his incredible talent as a filmmaker, but for his courage and activism standing up against racism in the studio system of Hollywood." Marcel Reid, Co-founder, Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival.

The Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival is the largest assembly of whistleblowers in the country and is the only film festival dedicated to whistleblowers and first amendment activism. The summit recognizes that cinema is a powerful medium for highlighting civil and human rights violations across the globe. It seeks to shine a light on stories of courage and perseverance in the face of injustice; and to encourage individuals to stand together to achieve human rights for all. The call for submissions for this annual film festival, which will take place in July 2020, is open. The summit is looking for films about whistleblowers, the First Amendment or that touch on one of several human rights issues including but not limited to freedom of expression, women's rights, discrimination, communal violence, and defending human rights. The themes mentioned are not exhaustive; films centered on social justice or other civil and human rights issues are equally welcome for submission.

(Article changed on November 26, 2019 at 04:11)


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Michael McCray is a public interest advocate who combats racism and corruption in the government and other institutions which deprive individuals of their basic civil rights, human rights and constitutional liberties. McCray is co-chair of the (more...)

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Michael McCray

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Over the last twelve years' members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. During that time members of MISC have passed thirteen laws, including No FEAR and the WPEA, conducted congressional lobby days, provided Continuing Legal Education training, written Op-Eds, published magazines and books, hosted radio shows, provided mentoring and lawyer referrals, penned sign-on letters, submitted amicus briefs, written columns and law review articles, made television appearances, produced plays and theatrical productions, showcased a film series, held protest rallies at the White House and on the National Mall. Whistleblowers have even "occupied" government agencies.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 25, 2019 at 7:31:56 PM

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