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Media Impact Festival 2015 Program

The Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media presented to Virunga

Additional 2105 Media Impact Festival selections:
Chasing Ice
Girl Rising
When I Walk
Who is Dayani Crystal?

6:00 | Reception opens

6:15 | Welcome — Vince Stehle, MIF
A Life in Media for Social Good: Remembering Charles Benton — David Haas, The Wyncote Foundation

6:25 | A Celebration of the Media Impact Festival Films — Kathy Im, MacArthur Foundation

6:30 | Presentation of the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media — Annie Leonard, Greenpeace and Jess Search, BRITDOC

6:45 | Closing remarks

About the Media Impact Festival

The Media Impact Festival celebrates the social impact of media, and its capacity to transform society. Now in its second year, the festival showcases documentary films that have made a notable impact on a particular issue through powerful coverage and inspired engagement of audiences, influencers, and institutions.

View case studies for each film and related campaigns.

We thank our 2015 selection committee:

Chair: Juliette Feeney-Timsit, After-FACT
Sonya Childress, Firelight Media
Sandy Herz, Skoll Foundation
Kathy Im, MacArthur Foundation
Ken Jacobson, IDA
Joy Thomas Moore, Consultant
Andrea Nemtin, Inspirit Foundation
Debika Shome, Harmony Institute
Kim Spencer, LinkTV
Rahdi Taylor, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program


virunga horizontal final

In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers—including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas, and a dedicated conservationist—protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers, and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources.

A powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary, Virunga is the incredible true story of a group of courageous people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten, and a gripping exposé of the realities of life in the Congo.

Production Team

Orlando von Einsiedel, Director/Producer; Joanna Natasegara, Producer/Impact Producer; Howard G Buffett, Executive Producer; Leonardo DiCaprio, Executive Producer; Adam Del Deo, Executive Producer; Lisa Nishimura, Executive Producer; Jon Drever, Executive Producer; Jess Search, Executive Producer; Maxyne Franklin, Executive Producer

Core Funders and Partners

AfriDocs, Appian Way, Arcus Foundation, Bertha Foundation, BRITDOC Foundation, CBA Worldview, Copeile, CREDDHO, Fledgling Fund, Global Witness, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, IDPE, Investec Asset Management, IUCN NL, Kindle Project, Netflix, Reseau Cref, SOPR, Virunga Foundation, Zoological Society of London, 11th Hour Project


Virunga’s campaign focused on four key areas: film, legal, advocacy in the DRC, and international advocacy. The campaign garnered public awareness through multiple awards, a significant press profile, influential supporters, further action by governments and NGOs, and distribution in over 100 countries.

In February 2014, after a series of private briefings by the campaign team, the Church of England Ethical Investment Fund called upon oil company SOCO to address allegations concerning their operations in Virunga National Park. In addition, the filmmakers have successfully engaged six governments in this issue—a number that continues to rise—and legal work related to the film is ongoing.

Henry Hampton

The Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media is named in honor of a man who broke traditional molds of documentary filmmaking and put social justice and democratic ideals at the forefront of his work. Hampton (1940-1998) was one of the 20th century’s most influential documentary filmmakers. His work chronicled America’s great political and social movements and set new standards for broadcast quality.

Over 20 million viewers watched Eyes on the Prize, his miniseries that won six Emmys, a Peabody, the duPont Columbia Award for Excellence in Radio and Television and an Academy Award nomination. Eyes on the Prize, the story of the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. from 1954-1985, is the definitive television history of that era and is used as a teaching tool in most U.S. schools and colleges. In addition, the Blackside team produced several other landmark series including Malcolm X, The Great Depression, America’s War on Poverty and I’ll Make Me a World.

Recognition for his outstanding work include a designation in 1990 from President George W. Bush as one of five Americans who had made outstanding contributions to the humanities, the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and 14 honorary degrees.