Winooski, VT

Contact Name
Orly Yadin
Project Dates
throughout the month of March
The Global Roots Festival presents films from the home countries of New Americans living in Vermont in order to share stories that foster connections between new neighbors and allow audiences the opportunity to become better acquainted with the various cultures that comprise our community. Starting as a package of 4 films in the town of Winooski, VT, it will then be offered to other communities in Vermont. This festival is designed to strengthen the communal bonds between Vermonters and those recently arrived. By showing films from the home countries of New Americans, we offer an opportunity for people to connect, to be introduced to various cultural heritages that are shaping our ever-evolving identity, and to nurture new relationships between neighbors.
Project Goals
What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
The Global Roots Festival will offer a welcoming place for neighbors to meet and engage with one another. Through the films being shown and the contributions of invited guest speakers, we hope to bridge some of the apparent differences between cultures by presenting stories that illustrate our commonalities. Our purpose is to create dialogue across cultures, encouraging conversations between those from diverse backgrounds, as well as to support New Americans as they navigate a new and unfamiliar culture.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
In 2013 and 2014, we showed a series of Global Roots in Burlington, VT in a mixed neighborhood. While it was well received, we found it difficult to get the ethnic communities to come to the screenings. So we decided to take the films to the heart of the refugees cultural institutions and work directly with them.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
Both the Community College of Vermont and the O’Brien Community Center are excited to partner with us by hosting these screenings. Speakers will be invited to offer audiences cultural context and personal connections. All of the events will be free and open to the public. We believe this is crucial to ensure the greatest diversity of festival attendees.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
After the Global Roots festival in Winooski, we plan to offer the Global Roots Festival to other communities around the state, adapting titles to suit the varying demographics.
Project Specifics
Please list the steps taken to implement the project:
An initial appeal to our members to support the project, stressing the importance of being able to afford to offer these as free screenings.
If the project steps changed over time, please describe how:
Marketing in print with posters and brochures.
What were your major obstacles for the completion of the project?
Some of the ethnic communities of new Americans do not have a tradition of cinema going.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Help from long-terms residents of Winooski who saw the value of the project made connections between us and the community centers.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
work with the refugee centers first and foremost, and get them to enthuse their consituencies. Don't impose it from above.
Project Impact
How has this project strategically connected arts and cultural activities to social, economic, and cultural issues in your community? What is different in your community as a result of this project?
We'll have to wait to see the impact of the March 2015 project.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
enriching the community through film, VTIFF's mission statement, takes many forms. In the case of this project, the focus is on empowering different groups in our community to see themselves represented, to foster dialog and tolerance.
How did you measure this success or progress?
numbers of attendees and questionnaires.
Please describe any unexpected impacts:
we don't know yet.