Thursday, May 05, 2005

Yesterday I visited Betsy Bayha, a friend of mine who is a producer for Lucasfilm, working on documentaries. Skywalker Ranch is a very cool place! I was passed by four guys in Stormtrooper gear: the publicity machine is getting ready for the release of the new Star Wars movie later this month. The environment is designed to be conducive to the creative process: I was especially impressed by the library in the main house. It's both an architectural marvel as well as an effective library supporting the creation of films.

Betsy and I know each other from years of working on disability issues. One of her recent projects was Freedom Machines, the PBS documentary on the award-winning P.O.V. series, which was released last year. It's all about how adaptive technology improves the lives of people with disabilities. Well worth seeing. I especially liked it because our Open Book reading system was mentioned in the film.

The last stop on my visit was for lunch in the main house (terrific food). It was great sitting in that wonderful environment, talking about how telling stories with film can influence society. I shared my experience seeing a segment of The New Heroes, the new PBS program premiering next month. At the Skoll Summit in Oxford, we were treated to seeing a segment about fighting slavery in the modern world. Skoll also was a funder for the translation of the movie 'Gandhi' into Arabic, which I also saw a clip at Oxford. I'd tell you more about the cool projects Betsy is working on, but they are still under wraps. Suffice it to say that telling great stories with social impact is part of the package!

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