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Digital Diaspora Roadshows

Our transmedia community engagement project Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) is deeply rooted in the quest for multicultural understanding and creating a sense of empathy among people of differing backgrounds. We use film, video, live events, social media and workshops as part of an integrated toolkit designed to break down barriers and inculcate dialogues across cultures and between generations. We use the ordinary vernacular images that people create every day as the lever to celebrate the connections, shared values and common experiences that unite us all in our basic humanity.
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DDFR features the award-winning documentary film Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, which looks at contemporary artists probing the recesses of the American family album by interrogating images of stories suppressed, forgotten and lost. It is the first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present.
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The DDFR transmedia platform is a powerful tool for bridging perceived differences between people and transforming strangers into family. Even among groups of people who have worked together for years, DDFR provides a safe space for revealing the hidden depths of our common humanity to bring groups closer together and form lasting bonds. By harnessing the power of personal story-telling, DDFR also unlocks the creativity and imagination of participants, motivating them to become more expressive and sensitive to the stories of others.
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Our experience with this unique project is that it deeply impacts its participants, creating a sense of family out of strangers and bringing people together at a core level. To date, DDFR has held over 45 live DDFR events, in over 30 cities, in partnership with local community organizations, interviewed over 1,250 people, gathered over 25,000 images, recorded over 1,500 hours of video footage, produced over 75 video modules, received over 525,000 views, 100,000 “Likes,” and had over 70 million impressions. This is the foundation on which we are building as we take the next steps in the evolution of the film and DDFR transmedia project.
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A TYPICAL ROADSHOW – DDFR Roadshows are flexible, from 90-minute photo-sharing events to week-long residencies, culminating with a Grand Finale. The DDFR Grand Finale event is a 2-hour multimedia performance with a live audience, where people share their stories and family photographs, on cellphones or as actual photos, projected on a large screen. The atmosphere created, with music and intimate revelations, is that of a sacred space, where strangers are transformed into Family. People laugh, cry, hug, make new connections, discover new insights and generally come away with a very deep appreciation for our connections with each other as fellow travelers on the great journey of life. It is as beautiful as it is precious!
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OUR STRATEGIC VISION – Our goal is to create a global movement that celebrates our shared values and experiences as Human Beings. DDFR and Through A Lens Darkly have already been to many communities across North America, Europe and Latin America. We want YOUR community to be next!