In Philadelphia, the birthplace of the US, people from all walks of life are building courage, connection and hope against all odds. Groundwork is a documentary series about what happens when people stop putting up with injustice and start building a movement. Explore the plight and the fight through 5 documentary shorts that go in-depth with each of the characters or through a 40 minute film that weaves these stories together.

Director's Statement

MilenaI’ve spent 6 years producing grassroots documentary stories with the Media Mobilizing Project because I believe change happens from the bottom up. Groundwork is the story of a few of the many unsung heroes around us who give me real hope that we can create a better future. They are people who refuse to accept their circumstances of poverty, discrimination and marginalization. Groundwork is an exploration of the experience of fighting for justice, and of how that experience transforms people. It’s about the process of change that you go through when you know your community has your back.

We produced Groundwork in order to make the practice of fighting for justice more transparent. Too many stories about social movements begin with the ending – we hear only about the culminating moments of victory or mass protest. Groundwork is about the beauty and power that’s in the beginning. We hope to not only inform, but inspire, by making the nuts and bolts of building a movement accessible and visible.

Groundwork is also about regular people. Rather than putting leaders on a pedestal, this film shows their full humanity – their fears, their humour, their daily struggles, and the experiences that build their commitment. What makes a single mom risk her job? How does an eighth grader become an organizer?

The process of producing Groundwork is a reflection of the organizing portrayed in the film. Each storyline was produced in deep collaboration with the organizations portrayed, by a collective of independent media makers of different backgrounds, many of whom have deep ties to the issues portrayed. This film was not created by any one person, rather, it is the product of many people working together, just like the movements portrayed in the film.

– Milena Velis