Press Kit | Shelbyville Multimedia

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Adapted from the film Welcome to Shelbyville
directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder

Press Kit

Press Release

June 1st, 2011 – “Community Groups Across the Nation Celebrate World Refugee Day with New Documentary”

Feb. 28th, 2011 – “Active Voice Launches Shelbyville Multimedia to Spark Community Building Among Long-Term Residents, Immigrants and Refugees in the U.S.”

Character Images and Bios

Shelbyville, Tennessee: A typical southern town undergoing dramatic demographic changes, Shelbyville, TN embodies America’s latest face of diversity. Known to many as The Pencil City, Shelbyville’s economy has been driven by pencil manufacturing and poultry processing.

Miss Beverly: Beverly’s family has lived in Shelbyville for generations. A devout churchgoer and gregarious caterer, she asks aloud the tough questions about her new Muslim neighbors, their beliefs and their impact on the town.

Hawo: A math teacher and nurse in her native, war-torn Somalia, Hawo worked for two years at Tyson Foods in Shelbyville, the town she now calls home. She is currently learning English and studying for her citizenship test.

Miguel: Originally from Mexico, Miguel is a 19-year resident of Shelbyville, where he and his wife, Guadalupe, have raised six thriving children. In addition to working at General Motors, he is very active in his church and Shelbyville’s Hispanic community.

Ms. Luci: The American-born daughter of Mexican parents, Ms. Luci teaches citizenship and ESL to many of Shelbyville’s newcomers. Among her long list of community service work in Bedford County, she volunteers with Welcoming Tennessee. Ms. Luci has been married to her husband, Tom, for 41 years.

Pastor Stephen: Stephen ministers at the First Presbyterian Church, where he helps to address the gap and tensions among the new- and long-time Shelbyville residents. He was the first local Christian minister to reach out to the Muslim imam, in an attempt to tackle mistrust in the community.

Miss Marilyn: Marilyn, a native Shelbyvillian, is a retired public elementary school teacher who taught in Shelbyville for 34 years. She often draws parallels between the civil rights movement – in which she was very involved in the 1960s – and the experience of immigrants today.


To view all webisodes, check out the Shelbyville Multimedia Channel on Vimeo!


“There are currently 37 million immigrants who are making new lives United States. While pundits and lawmakers boil down the immigration issue to data points and politics, Shelbyville Multimedia will lift up what ordinary people are doing to help their new neighbors integrate into community life, even in extremely tough times.”

— Ellen Schneider, executive director, Active Voice

Shelbyville Multimedia is an opportunity to push past polarized rhetoric around immigration and open up a space for open conversation that sparks deeper trust and understanding. By providing both online and offline tools, we hope that people everywhere will be inspired by the residents of Shelbyville, share their own stories and create a ripple effect of dialogue in their own communities – whether it’s at church, in the workplace, or on a Facebook wall.”

— Shaady Salehi, deputy director, Active Voice

Shelbyville Multimedia carries the message of shared humanity and reminds us that we all come from somewhere. The history of immigration in this country is fraught with contrasts. Today’s struggles with immigrants are no different than struggles in the past. Shelbyville Multimedia reminds us of that and offers tools and solutions to change history, embrace difference and remember our past.”

— Erin Sorenson, Chief Programs Officer, BeCause Foundation

“Shelbyville is a small town, but a big story. [Welcome to Shelbyville] is so symbolic, such a perfect microcosm of the national and global challenges we face that for a second there I couldn’t believe it was a documentary. Now Shelbyville Multimedia takes this to a whole new level by creating a virtual Shelbyville, one in which all of us from across the globe are community members, sitting across the table from each other. This great little town in rural Tennessee teaches us that only by building that honest and safe space for relationship and dialogue can we work past our fears. Shelbyville Multimedia is a great space for conversation to take place.”

— Fabio Lomelino, assistant director for media relations, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service


About Active Voice
Active Voice uses film, television and multimedia to spark social change from grassroots to grass tops. Our team of strategic communications specialists works with mediamakers, funders, advocates and thought leaders to put a human face on the issues of our times. We frame and beta-test key messages, develop national and local partnerships, plan and execute high profile, outcome-oriented events, repurpose digital content for web and viral distribution, produce ancillary and educational resources and consult with industry and sector leaders. Since our inception in 2001, Active Voice has built a diverse portfolio of story-based campaigns focusing on issues including immigration, criminal justice, healthcare and sustainability.

About BeCause Foundation
BeCause Foundation ignites social change through the powerful fusion of documentary filmmaking and creative outreach and engagement projects. BeCause films tell moving stories about individuals, organizations and communities who, with compassion and determination, are finding innovative solutions to complex social problems. By implementing engagement campaigns and coalition building around the films, BeCause Foundation helps transform these solutions into broad-based movements for social change.

About the Director/Producer
Kim A. Snyder is an award-winning filmmaker with over a dozen shorts and two feature documentaries. Welcome to Shelbyville is a recipient of a 2010 Gucci-Tribeca Documentary Fund grant, an official selection of the U.S. State Department’s 2010 American Documentary Showcase, and will have its national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in early 2011. Over the past four years, Kim worked together with the BeCause Foundation to direct and produce Welcome to Shelbyville (in association with Active Voice), along with its first three short documentaries, which have won numerous festival awards and been the catalyst for campaigns furthering the work of the social innovators they highlight.

Additional credits include director/producer of the award-winning documentary feature I Remember Me, distributed theatrically in the U.S. by Zeitgeist Films, writer, Variety Magazine, and associate producer of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor, which became the cornerstone of The Trevor Project, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention among gay youth. Kim has served as advisor on the 2010 Academy Award-winning short Music by Prudence and Ronit Avni’s Encounter Point. Kim graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and resides in New York City.