'Avatar' Star Steven Lang Endorses Indian NGO Video Volunteers
You may know Steven Lang as the villainous colonel Quaritch in Avatar, but in reality he believes the camera is a stronger weapon than the gun. He’s become a champion of using cinema for the empowerment of the most disadvantaged, and has recently made a video endorsing the global media organization Video Volunteers. The video may be viewed on Video Volunteers’ homepage and on youtube HERE.
Says Steven Lang,"Video Volunteers is creating a kind of grassroots Reuters. They have created an alternative media in places that don’t have cinemas or TV or even regular electricity. As an actor, it is amazing to see people who have so little producing such interesting media.”
Mr. Lang’s endorsement is one of a series of endorsements Video Volunteers has recently received from the cinema industry. Famed Indian cinema actor Abhay Deol is the organization’s “ambassador” in India, the country where, in addition to Brazil, Video Volunteers carries out most of its activities. Thanks to his efforts, several Bollywood luminaries recently attended a Video Volunteers screening in the slums of Mumbai attended by hundreds of local residents. Says founding director Jessica Mayberry, “Video Volunteers believes that, in today’s changing media landscape, the next media revolution will be to make space in the mainstream for the voices of the very poorest. When stars like Steven Lang or Abhay Deol tell poor producers from the slums that they love their videos, it legitimizes community media in the eyes of the world – and of course makes the producers from the slums and villages very, very proud.”
Stephen Lang is a distinguished actor of stage and screen, "an actor's actor" according to the New York Times. His many films include LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, GETTYSBURG, GODS AND GENERALS, TOMBSTONE, PUBLIC ENEMIES, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, and AVATAR. His work on Broadway includes DEATH OF A SALESMAN (with Dustin Hoffman), A FEW GOOD MEN, THE SPEED OF DARKNESS, and his own play, BEYOND GLORY. His awards and nominations include The Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Helen Hayes Award, Joseph Jefferson Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Saturn Award, Scream Award, Grace Prize, the Chairman's Award for Distinguished Service from the NEA, and the Bob Hope Award from the Medal of Honor Society. A graduate of Swarthmore College, he holds honorary doctorates from Jacksonville University in Theatre and Film, and Swarthmore in Humane Letters. He is on the Board of Director's at The Actors Studio.
Video Volunteers has built the largest media network anywhere in the world of poor people making news and documentaries on critical community issues, giving a voice to thousands of unheard people in slums and villages around the world. The people trained by Video Volunteers make videos that are shown on widescreen projectors in hundreds of villages, online and on broadcast TV. The work has created significant impact, reducing corruption, getting teachers to come on time, increasing participation in elections, and creating extraordinary leaders out of people who use to be farm laborers or Muslim housewives but who now are their villages' local journalists.
Functioning as a community news network, a kind of grassroots Reuters or Associated Press, community producers earn income and the films made by communities are sold to news stations, with Video Volunteers producing a weekly show with one of the leading TV stations in India. The organization’s work has been recognized by the Knight News Challenge, Echoing Green, TED, Waldzell, the King of Belgium, UNDP, UNESCO, Youtube and others who have helped us elevate the voices of these rural communities.
Tags: Stephen Lang , 'Avatar' , Hollywood , Tony Awards , Boradway , Actor , James Cameroon , Video Volunteers , India , Community Media
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