Highest Common Denomintor Media Group Current Projects
CAST THE FIRST STONE is a feature documentary about the most powerful story in history performed by men and women for whom it is perhaps most relevant. Intercutting the lives of the actors with the ‘making of’ footage as well as scenes from the play performed, the film explores the deeper meaning of Christ’s message and its particular relevance to men and women who have acknowledged their sins against their fellow man and are serving some of the longest sentences in the world. An intimate powerful view of redemption in real time, it is as much an insight into the life of the incarcerated as it is a chance to deepen ones understanding of Christ’s teachings.
CONNECTED is the story of Nigerian entrepreneur, Dr. Aloy Chife, and his unrelenting effort to shrink Africa’s digital divide employing his company, Kutana. Less than a decade ago, Dr. Chife returned from the African Diaspora committed to using the power of information technology to level the playing field for the planet’s poorest by deploying the most efficient and advanced technology to improve government’s provision of social services. Today, Kutana’s innovative solutions are being utilized across the continent to bring schools, governments and hospitals into the digital age. This project is currently in pre-production, check back for more developments. Click here to watch the Connected trailer.
Capturing the game-changing power of cellular telephones to deliver financial services to the poor in earthquake ravaged Haiti, teams are building on models developed in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. Commissioned by the Sundance Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this short piece highlights the potential of low-cost cellular technology to serve the poor. Click here to watch Making Money Mobile.
One decade after THE FARM: ANGOLA, USA (Oscar nominated 1999; two-time Emmy winner 1999), we go back inside Louisiana’s maximum security penitentiary, to catch up with our characters’ lives. While the theme of THE FARM was “to err is human, to forgive divine”, we now delve more deeply and find hope for “reconciliation and release”. Angola is America’s oldest and largest prison, with 5,000 inmates, most of whom have received life -, or death-, sentences for violent crimes, and will never leave Angola. THE FARM continues to provide extraordinary opportunities for learning through storytelling.
Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund (AOCMF) is an organization dedicated to exploring the effect of media on individual social norms and behavior. Like Highest Common Denominator Media Group, AOCMF supports the creation and dissemination of media that inspires and unites humanity in a common purpose. Together we are producing a short piece that highlights the mission for achieving their goals, encompassing themes such as the negative impact of media, media as a vehicle for positive social change and the revolution in the global media landscape.
Liberian author Elma Shaw guides us through her nation’s brutal civil war and the conflicting roles that Liberians played in the destruction of their small, West African nation. Many women served as combatants in rebel factions and were both the victims and perpetrators of unspeakable atrocities. This documentary short is a beautiful and moving tale of the journey these women must make as they resolve to either seek revenge against those who stole their childhoods, or seek forgiveness and reintegration into their communities. They courageously choose to release the darkness in their souls by sharing their intimate stories, in order to, in the words of one, “become a human being”.
Led by Jonathan Stack, twenty Haitian students came together in the town of Jacmèl, Haiti, to create their first ever collaborative documentary. The goal was to capture the rich cultural heritage and explosive energy of the town’s world renowned Carnival. This was the challenging final assignment of an intensive eight-day documentary filmmaking workshop at the Cine Institute, part of the Foundation Festival Film Jacmèl (FFFJ). The Institute’s mission is to use cinema and integrated educational and cultural programming to entertain, educate and empower Haitians while promoting national arts, creating jobs, stimulating the regional economy, increasing tourism and sharing insights for sustainable long-term development.
Highest Common Denominator Fund Current Projects
Gabriel City is a virtual world that includes written blogs, educational resources, social networking opportunities, and videos from Louisiana State Penitentiary Television (LSPTv) and other contributors. It hosts a forum for discussion and support for inmates and their families, victims of crimes, criminal justice and law enforcement professionals, and advocates. By reaching out to and hosting a wide variety of the people affected by the criminal justice system, Gabriel City is a supportive and inclusive environment based on the principles of hope and forgiveness.
Over 10 years of filming inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) in Angola, producing a series of award-winning films, director Jonathan Stack has worked with many inmates on a variety of paths, and all have witnessed the transformative power of storytelling in the lives of the men involved. A small, closed-circuit station currently broadcasts church services and occasional events to the prison population. Highest Common Denominator Media Group will bring to LSP world-class training, programming, experts, and technology, and build a 3,000 square foot, state-of-the-art broadcast facility, to be called “Angola Studios”. LSPTv will be run by trained inmate staff and will broadcast educational programming, judicial and life skills training, and sports and entertainment, all from inside one of the oldest prisons in the United States. Click here to watch the LSPTv trailer!
Gabriel Films Past Projects
Jonathan Stack is an Emmy Award winning and two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker. In 1991 he founded GABRIEL FILMS and has since gone on to produce over fifty films for nearly all of the cable channels in the US and many television partners abroad. In 2008, private equity investor – David Deniger – and international policy consultant and advocate – Mara-Michelle Batlin- joined with Jonathan Stack to form Highest Common Denominator Media Group.