• About
  • Blog
  • Store
  • Contact
  • Film Catalog

The Long Night Survivor Helps Pass Historic Law

Today we celebrate legislation that has been passed to protect young people from sexual exploitation with the passage of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Sex Online Trafficking Act of 2017We celebrate especially those advocates, featured in our film The Long Night, known to us as Natalie and Nacole, who fought tirelessly to make this happen.

As she stood by the President’s side to sign this legislation into law, Natalie finally reclaimed her name: Jessika.

Jessika, the fifteen-year old girl from suburban Seattle who was forced into prostitution and is featured in The Long Night, has been an advocate in this cause, claiming that her pimp used the website Backpage.com to fuel his business, and her enslavement. She helped to shut down backpage.com last year and now has worked for legislation that “makes it easier for prosecutors and victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that fail to keep sex trafficking and exploitive materials off their platforms,” as explained by Reuters.

108 days after her disappearance, Jessika’s Backpage ad was targeted as part of a sting by the Seattle Vice Squad. There, she was rescued by officers who understood her situation and have since helped her testify in the case against her pimp. Her pimp, Baruti Hopson, has been sentenced to 26 and a half years in prison for promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor. That was just the start and today, Jessika has made the type of change that will protect young girls for years to come.

The Long Night was a co-production with filmmaker Tim Matsui, who found this story and brought it to us with the help of the Alexia Foundation’s Women’s Initiative. 

Jessika and Nacole, very simply, are our role models. They used their pain and tragic experience to become strong voices against the sexual exploitation of minors. In helping to close the adult ad section of Backpage, they have made the world just a little bit safer for our children. We thank you for all you have done and hope that in documenting your experiences in The Long Night, we made this fight, a little easier too.

Watch their story here.


Posted in MediaStorm Announcements | Leave a comment

Workshop: Investigative Reporting Program @ UC Berkeley

The Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism is now accepting applications for a workshop for independent filmmakers, to be held September 23-25. Details and instructions to apply are here, and more details are below.

Independent filmmaking is flourishing, but stories can be undermined when filmmakers and journalists don’t bulletproof their stories against powerful critics or opponents. The goal of this workshop is to elevate the journalistic standards of independent filmmakers, increase the impact of their stories and help them break new ground. Topics covered will include:

  • Interviewing and storytelling techniques to strengthen creativity
  • Fairness: how to prepare for public information/distortion of your reporting
  • Ethics: recreation of events, point of view scenes, use of hidden microphones and cameras, use of studies and polls, providing recording equipment to third parties, use and limits of releases, privacy and trespassing, payments and licenses, advance screenings
  • Sources: relationship with sources, use of confidential sources, the “reporter’s privilege”
  • Legal: libel, copyright law, plagiarism, how to avoid litigation

The workshop will include one-on-one coaching, as well as ongoing support for participants via phone or Skype with veteran journalists and legal experts for up to a year following the course.

Through the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, financial assistance is available for those who need it. Please do not let cost be a barrier for applying.

INSTRUCTORS: Veteran producers and reporters from the IRP and elsewhere, including IRP Director Lowell Bergman; Gary Bostwick, media attorney; and Dawn Porter, award-winning documentary filmmaker; and Kerry Smith, senior vice president of editorial quality for ABC.

REQUIREMENTS: Interested applicants must submit the online application, their resume, a letter of recommendation from someone who knows their work and a one-page memo explaining their project and what editorial issues it has raised. Applicants might be interviewed by phone.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: All materials must be submitted by June 15.

QUESTIONS? Contact Kristen Go at kristenrgo@gmail.com.

Posted in MediaStorm Announcements | Leave a comment

W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund: Applications Open

This year, the W.Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is offering $49,000 for projects that highlight untold stories, for a purpose. Photojournalism and documentary photography are more important than ever, in a time where individuals can control media and publications, and information is wealth. Applications are due May 1. 

©Krisanne Johnson, winner of the 2011 W. Eugene Smith Grant 

Students can now apply for the  new W. Eugene Smith Student Grant, a $4,000 grant to support collegiate-level photography students in finishing a longer-term project that has the power to sway social dialogue and uses modern technology and image sharing platforms to affect change. To encourage entries from all around the world, submission fees for the student grant are only $1.

The W. Eugene Smith Grant Recipient will receive $35,000 in funding to complete a long-term documentary project and one finalist will receive $5,000towards their project. Non-photographers, editors, and researchers can apply for the Howard Chapnick Grant, a $5,000 grant that supports leadership in fields ancillary to photojournalism.

For more information, click here.


Posted in MediaStorm Announcements | Leave a comment

MediaStorm Produces 8 films for the 2018 ICP Infinity Awards

For the past six years, MediaStorm has been honored to partner with the International Center of Photography and Harbers Studio to produce films that honor the winners of the annual Infinity Awards for their contributions to the field of photography and visual culture.

The films MediaStorm produced for this year’s winners are: Lifetime Achievement: Bruce Davidson; Applied: Alexandra Bell; Art: Samuel Fosso; Artist’s Book: Dayanita Singh, Museum Bhavan; Critical Writing and Research: Maurice Berger, Race Stories column for the Lens section of the New York Times; Documentary and Photojournalism: Amber Bracken; Emerging Photographer: Natalie Keyssar; and for Online Platform and New Media: Women Photograph.

Each year, the ICP recognizes these outstanding artists at a fundraiser that supports a full range of programs, including exhibitions, collections, community outreach, scholarships, and the ICP School.

MediaStorm’s films have been highlighted as the signature moment of the event. Since the first presentation of the films at the 2013 gala, ICP has skyrocketed its fundraising goals and achievements. MediaStorm is humbled to have played a role in catalyzing that effort. Our work with ICP and Harbers Studios affirms that storytelling moves people to action.

For MediaStorm, creating these films pays homage to our roots in photography and our aspiration for the field, that it continue being a force for change.

In a career that spans a lifespan, Davidson has used his camera to explore the world. From his iconic work “Gangs of Brooklyn” to “E.100th St.”, his work stands out for its intimacy with its subjects and long lasting impact.

Culture historian and art critic, Maurice Berger, uses his monthly column in the New York Times to explore racial literacy through visual literacy. He uses the power of photography and the written word to urge his readers to think about their own racial attitudes and to reflect the works of photographers of color, whose voices are often not seen by the mainstream art world.

Alexandra Bell draws on her journalism background to examine how words and images expose the media’s racial biases. In her signature work, Counternarratives, she re-imagines stories from the New York Times to create more equitable framings.

Tired of being quiet about a problem that has long persisted in journalism, Daniella Zalcman sought to address the hiring gap between white men and women, and people of color. The result is Women Photograph.

Natalie Keyssar has spent years documenting the consequences of unrest and economic turbulence in Venezuela in the aftermath of Hugo Chavez’s death. In her work, she explores the impacts of the violence on individuals and on society at large, demonstrating the effectiveness of the camera as a window to the world.  

For decades, Samuel Fosso has used self-portraiture to question political and social norms in Africa and America. In his latest series, Black Pope, Fosso challenges the Catholic veneration of whiteness in contemporary visual culture.

In her latest work, Museum Bhavan, Dayanita Singh seeks to put the power of curation into the hands of the reader, to make the work accessible to a broader demographic. The result of her work is an object that is personal, interactive and portable, and one she hopes will encourage other photographers to recognize the importance of dissemination.

Drawn to photography in her quest for social justice, Amber Bracken, started working in the indigenous communities of her hometown, Alberta, Canada, to learn about their struggle for land rights. When she heard of protests in Standing Rock, she chose the camera as her weapon of choice to document a struggle for sovereignty.

Posted in MediaStorm Announcements | Leave a comment

MediaStorm Master Class at Berkeley

We are thrilled to be bringing our Storytelling Masterclass to Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism on April 20, 2018. This workshop is perfect for visual storytellers who are looking for inspiration on the work, or a practical guide on starting your own business. Brian Storm draws from his experience building a sustainable company and working in the rapidly changing media landscape for over twenty-years, so that you can join the ranks of independent creators and publishers that are breaking new ground. For more information and to apply, see here.


We have been telling stories and building an-award winning business for over a decade and we want to share our lessons with you. Our immersive trainings have helped so many, from the most seasoned journalists and filmmakers, to those just entering the field.

2018 marks our 11th year of training at MediaStorm. Each year our courses attract leading industry professionals looking to advance their storytelling skills. Over 200 participants have come through our professional workshops and we continue to be humbled by how much they take away from the experience.

Our Brooklyn training dates are:

Brooklyn, NY: April 7, 2018   One day master class
Brooklyn, NY: May 26, 2018   One day master class 
Brooklyn, NY: July 10-13, 2018   Methodology master class
Brooklyn, NY: Oct 20, 2018   One day master class
Brooklyn, NY: Nov 10, 2018   One day master class
Brooklyn, NY: Dec. 18-21, 2018   Methodology master class


Applications are now open. Apply now.




Posted in MediaStorm Announcements | Leave a comment
  • Advertisement

    MediaStorm Field Guide

  • Categories

  • Archives