American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver

Click here for the American Idealist Movie Website
Premiered nationally on PBS on January 21, 2008.    In the shadow of the war in Vietnam and assassinations and rebellion at home, Sargent Shriver launched a string of social inventions that touched more lives than those of any leader since Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.Shriver opened pathways to civic involvment — Peace Corps, Head Start, VISTA, and Legal Services — for a generation of youthful volunteers to change their country. Largely unknown today, the story of “Sarge” Shriver will inspire viewers with its moving illustration of the difference leaders can make when they see America as an act of the imagination and look to the young to shape it.”

Shriver’s biography | American Idealist: Sargent Shriver (An LA Times editorial) | The Shriver Center
Bruce’s WBEZ public radio interview | The Student Campaign for Public Service


The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and his Legacy
Narrated by Alec Baldwin. Produced by Chicago Video Project and Media Process Educational Films. 1999.
IndieFlix website for the film.

A gripping story about how ordinary people can become forces for change. The documentary portrays a slice of community organizing history by revisiting Saul Alinsky’s pioneering organizing work with labor, civil rights, and religious leaders, and looking at how people use his methods today.

“The film shows the excitement of people achieving success through organizing. It’s a universal message and applicable to all kinds of organizing.”

— Paul Booth, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

“A powerful and revelatory documentary on one of the pioneers of grassroots organizing…It could never be more timely than today.”

— Studs Terkel

Best Documentary, 1999 Philadelphia International Film Festival
Special Jury Award, USA Film Festival


Telling Our Story

Ten years ago, more than 100,000 public housing residents in Chicago learned that their buildings would be torn down.Telling Our Story reveals the human story behind America’s most ambitious plan to transform public housing. This is the residents’ story: the hardships they experienced, the gains some enjoyed, the lessons they’ve learned, and their hopes for the future.

Telling Our Story is a call to action for public housing residents and public housing authorities nationwide. It offers a timely reminder that good public policy cannot be developed without the voices of those most affected being included in its planning and implementation.


No Place to Live: Chicago’s Affordable Housing Crisis

2002 Midwest Emmy Award winner

The two-hour commute has become a familiar part of life for hundreds of thousands of Chicago’s workers because low-wage jobs are in one part of the metropolitan region and affordable housing is in the other.  This television documentary, produced for WTTW, examines the region’s jobs/housing mismatch: how it came about, its economic impact, and the hardships faced by low-income workers caught in a growing housing crisis.

“…a shining example…of taking a serious local issue that’s been underplayed by commercial media and giving it the attention it deserves.”

— Chicago Sun-Times


Willing & Able

Documentary trailer about  a grassroots program in which individuals with disabilities participate in their community through volunteering.


Access Denied: The Roots and Causes of Racial Isolation ( Working title )
Pre-production.This feature-length documentary will examine the history of race and housing in Chicago. Throughout the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s, discriminatory public policy and racially motivated violence shaped Chicago into one of the most segregated cities in the United States; while whites fled to the suburbs, Chicago’s blacks became increasingly confined to ghettoes in the inner city. The video will show how this history of segregation has led to many of the problems facing Chicago and other American cities today: poverty, poor schools, few job opportunities, and a lack of affordable housing.



When You Got A Guy

Investigators at the Better Government Association root out government corruption.  Credit card abuse, pricey public pensions, and wrongful convictions are revealed.


Making Ends Meet

Produced for a coalition of advocacy organizations, this film helped modify welfare reform so that the needs of vulnerable families would continue to be met.  This clip shows Margaret and her disabled son Conlan, one of three stories featured in the film.


Henry Horner Mothers Guild

Working with the Henry Horner Mothers Guild, CVP produced a 4-minute video news release depicting the desperate living conditions at Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes. Released in conjunction with the filing of a class-action lawsuit against the Chicago Housing Authority, the VNR generated news coverage on ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS This Morning. News reports also appeared in the Washington Post, and in every major news media outlet in Chicago. It enabled a group of mothers to tell their story the way they wanted it told.” (see section in Services)


Campaign Finance Reform
The Illinois League of Women Voters, the Dollars and Democracy project, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and other advocacy groups use this video in community meetings statewide to educate residents on the need to reform Illinois’s campaign finance system.


Chicago Rehab Network
A coalition of housing organizations—the Chicago Rehab Network (CRN)—used a 12-minute video to organize community action to address Chicago’s affordable housing crisis. Integrated into CRN’s organizing strategy, the CVP video graphically captured the urgency of the housing crisis faced by Chicago’s low-income residents. When shown in town hall meetings, the video helped to galvanize civic action. When shown to elected officials, it helped secure their backing. And when shown to reporters, it helped frame the media’s message to the public. CRN’s use of video helped to obtain an unprecedented five-year $752 million affordable housing program for the City of Chicago. (see section in Services)


American Association for Retired Persons
CVP produced a video with six different endings specific to the needs of six separate AARP chapters in the Midwest. AARP members use the videos to advocate for consumer protection legislation against HMO abuse.


Earned Income Tax Credit
The Make Work Pay Coalition used this video to secure an Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program for low-income working families in Illinois. The Coalition successfully used 250 copies of the video to organize a statewide campaign, frame the issue with the media, and persuade policymakers to pass the bill. In May 2000, Governor Ryan signed Illinois’s first EITC bill into law.


The Resurrection Project
CVP produced both an English and Spanish version of a new organizing video for The Resurrection Project (TRP), which uses the video to secure business and political support for its projects and programs. TRP also shows the video to new leaders and staff as part of its orientation process.


Here is a list of selected resources that social change organizations may find helpful:Accessing the Media
A 12-minute video that will help you understand how to get media coverage. Includes instructions on how to focus your message and pitch your story/event, etc. Tape also includes Discussion Guide.$24.95, ACTA Publications, 1-800-397-2282Running Good Meetings
This 12-minute video will teach your organization the basic elements of running good meetings, including pre-planning, starting and ending on time, developing and sticking to an agenda, and dealing with naysayers.$24.95, ACTA Publications, 1-800-397-2282Recruiting New Members
This 12-minute video will teach your group the basic techniques of intentionally identifying, contacting, interviewing, developing relationships with, and ultimately recruiting new members to your group.$24.95, ACTA Publications, 1-800-397-2282top