The Virtual Dinner Guest Project

Discuss. Digest. Document!

The Virtual Dinner Guest Project is a movement aimed at creating a global cultural shift in the way people view their relationship to news media, from one of passive consumption, to one of collaborative production, at the local level, and on a global scale. Visit our Vimeo channel to view our growing collection of student-driven film projects.

Virtual Dinner guests in Beirut, Lebanon connect to a National Public Radio production team at their table in the U.S. 

Virtual Dinner guests in Beirut, Lebanon connect to a National Public Radio production team at their table in the U.S. 

What if the evening news was replaced with the evening conversation? What if we had the chance to connect to people in other countries and compare news headlines to the lived realities and perspectives of real people? What would we ask? What would we say to one another? What might we want to clarify for one another? The Virtual Dinner Guest Project has connected 20 countries across 5 continents for more than 60 encounters.

Our unique methodology utilizes widely available videoconferencing technology to connect Universities, NGO’s, and Media Centers for a series of shared meals, moderated conversations, and collaborative film projects. Our Virtual Dinner tables stretch across borders, cultural differences, and political divisions, placing a special emphasis on Conflict Transformation and the collaborative deconstruction of media stereotypes. Most importantly, our conversations don’t hope for action, they require it.

The Virtual Dinner Guest Project is building a global think tank of local actors, connected first by the power of open conversation amongst equals, then bound by a commitment to make a new kind of media together, chttp://www.virtualdinnerguest.com/o-created grassroots media made for a global community.

What do our participants in Gaza think of our project, and how did it impact them?

 

Visit our Vimeo channel to see more of our bi-national student-film collaborations.

 

 

The Virtual Iftar Project

A Ramadan Road Trip inspired by The Virtual Dinner Guest Project

During Ramadan, 2015, two of our team members set out across Europe to connect European communities to communities in Muslim-majority countries for the breaking of the daylight fast. Just as with The Virtual DInner Guest Project, these diner discussions focussed on bridging cultural differences with open discussion, and with a mind to deconstructing media stereotypes. The journey across Europe came just as the EU Refugee Crisis began to hit its apex, and our filmmakers traveled a similar route to that taken by hundreds of thousands of refugees coming from the Middle East and North Africa. 

These connections Our connections brought together communities from Germany, Palestine (the Gaza Strip), Kosovo, Pakistan, The Netherlands, and Egypt. As with The Virtual Dinner Guest Project, each of these Virtual Iftar connections culminated in binational film projects, highlighting the street level perspectives of all six countries. 

 

Virtual Iftar Project Episode 1: Kosovo & Palestine (Gaza)

Virtual Iftar Project Episode 2: Pakistan & Germany

Virtual Iftar Project Episode 3: Egypt & Germany

Virtual Iftar Project Episode 4: Gaza-Amsterdam 

 

Voices from Lesvos

In December, 2015, Open Roads Media completed a series of short film projects on the Greek isle of Lesbos, then the gateway to the EU for many thousands of refugees and migrants seeking refuge from war, conflict, and poverty. These all-volunteer productions focussed on interviews with refugees, volunteers, human rights workers, and local residents. 

The following interview was completed on the Greek island of Lesbos in late December of 2015. The Syrian woman who spoke with us had recently arrived on the island by boat with her granddaughter. 

An interview with Human Rights Watch, Emergencies Director, Peter Bouckaert.

Interviews conducted with recent arrivals to Lesvos.

An Iraqi father relates the ordeal of guiding their crowded raft to Lesvos from the Turkish coast.