Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 10, 2012.

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Agents of Change examines the untold story of racial conditions on college campuses that led to successful struggle for black studies.

Support our Kickstarter Campaign!

Agents of Change is a story about the intersection of race, culture, and the American university. While both Cornell University and San Francisco State believed they had made good faith efforts to become integrated campuses, their failure to connect the relevance and legitimacy of the civil rights movement to their own schools led to conflicts between students, faculty, administrators and the local communities that wreaked havoc at both institutions. By shining a spotlight on the conflicts that emerged in the late 1960’s and the students who were at the forefront, the film deepens our understanding of the ongoing struggle for equality today in a society hindered and haunted by lingering racial divides.

Students exiting Willard Straight Hall. (c) Associated Press, photo by Steve Starr
Students exiting Willard Straight Hall. (c) Associated Press, photo by Steve Starr

The Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of black students with guns emerging from the takeover of the student union at Cornell University in 1969, and the images of student demonstrations and arrests at San Francisco State in 1968 remain powerful symbols of the struggle for a more relevant and meaningful education that raged from West to East across America in the late 1960’s. Through the stories of the young men and women who were at the forefront of these efforts, Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country that led to these protests.

Students demonstrating at SF State, 1968
Students demonstrating at SF State, 1968

Occupy Movement?

Colleges throughout the nation today are at a new crossroads as minority student enrollment is declining in the face of budget cuts to public universities. Coupled with unprecedented cost increases at private universities, the film and the issues it raises have a new urgency. Affirmative action is being challenged at the United States Supreme Court and this film sheds light on why affirmative action is such an important tool in achieving diversity on our college campuses. Agents of Change resonates today with the demands of the Occupy Movement in America and global protests led by students that are resulting in regime change throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world. The film’s characters were at the crossroads of change and controversy at a pivotal time in America’s history, and the risks they undertook and their selfless commitment not only transformed the universities, it created a lasting imprint on them as well.

Black students and Cornell administrators sign agreement ending takeover, April 20, 1969. (c) Cornell University
Black students and Cornell administrators sign agreement ending takeover, April 20, 1969. (c) Cornell University

What is Our Goal?

Our ultimate goal is to share the story of Agents of Change with audiences everywhere. To complete production of the film and finish a rough cut that will help the film secure finishing funds we need to raise $20,000. With funding from the California Council for the Humanities and individual supporters, we have edited 20 minutes toward our hour-long film. Co-producers, Frank and Abby have donated their time on this project and every cent raised has gone to support the film’s production expenses.

Your contributions to this Kickstarter campaign are essential in helping us finish the film before the end of 2013. It is our goal to launch the film at the beginning of 2014, which will be the 45th anniversary of the events at Cornell and the resolution of the student strike at SF State, the longest one in US history. Upon the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign, we will begin to distribute the rewards that can be made available prior to the completion of the film. 

It takes a village to make a documentary, and we thank you in advance for becoming a vital part of our village.

Why Should I Become A Supporter of the Movie?

Agents of Change tells an inspiring story of that is largely unknown. Helping us complete this film will enable audiences to learn about the contributions many people made to improve conditions for all students on America’s college campuses.

“This film brings to light the sacrifices and commitment of thousands of students across the country who fought to change the conditions on college campuses for future generations, as well as for themselves. The challenges they faced, the obstacles they overcame and the gains that were achieved will be illuminated in this important and compelling film.” --Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley 

How Do I Pledge?

Click the green button next to your donation amount. It will take you to the payment page.

You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.

What Happens If We Don't Reach Our Goal?

If funding fails, your card won't be charged and all pledges will be cancelled.

What Happens If We Exceed Our Goal?

The more money we raise, the closer we will be to completing the film.

Can I Pledge From Outside the United States?

Yes. Just click on the Amazon Payment Button and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from anywhere. But, you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. If you have any problems just contact us.

How else can you support the film?

Please share our Kickstarter link with your friends! Post our Kickstarter link on your Facebook and Twitter pages! Be sure to tag us on Facebook and mention us on Twitter

Who we are...

Co-Producers Frank Dawson '72 and Abby Ginzberg '71 were students at Cornell during this seminal moment, and their collaboration brings a unique set of perspectives to the film.

Filmmaker Bio's

Frank Dawson is a Professor and former Chair of the Communication and Media Studies Department at Santa Monica College. He also served for 6 terms at USC as an instructor in a program initiated by Bill Cosby to train new African American television and film writers. Frank earlier served as a programming executive at CBS, and he was a production executive for Universal Television on the NBC dramatic series, "MIAMI VICE".

Frank Dawson is a member of the Writers Guild of America, and earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He earned a Master of Science degree in Television and Radio from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, where he has been inducted into the school's professional gallery of distinguished alumni. Contact: nuhouse98@aol.com 

Abby Ginzberg has been producing and directing award-winning documentary films since 1983. Her work has focused on character-driven stories, racial and gender discrimination and social justice issues, and has been shown in film/video festivals and broadcast on public television networks nationally and internationally

Abby's most recent feature-length documentary, Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice has won Accolade and Davey Awards and won the Best Feature Documentary Award from the Sacramento Film and Music Festival. Abby is the Consulting Producer on The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, produced by Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday, which was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award ® in the Short Documentary category and was broadcast as part of the POV award-winning public television series. Her recent film, Turning the Tide Together, about innovative US HIV programs, premiered at the Opening Session of the AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington, DC. Contact: abbyginzberg@gmail.com

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The primary challenge we face once we have raised the funds on Kickstarter is finding the rest of the funding to complete the film. However, we believe that the money we raise on Kickstarter will enable us to complete production and finish our rough cut, placing us in a much stronger position to raise the final finishing funds. We know there are no guarantees about finding the completion funding but we expect the support we get from the Kickstarter campaign will help us complete a compelling rough cut.

Our qualifications for overcoming the obstacles we may encounter is that both co-producers are committed to completing this film and that we will continue to donate our time on the project so that all the money we raise will go directly to paying our production and editing costs. Finally we will work with our current institutional funders, the California Council for the Humanities and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) to find additional sources of support.

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    Thank you for your generous support! You'll receive a personal thank you email from Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg, updates and inclusion on the Donor Wall at http://agentsofchangedocumentary.com PLUS a limited edition Agents of Change pen

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    Thank you for your generous support! You'll receive a personal thank you email from Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg, updates and inclusion on the Donor Wall at http://agentsofchangedocumentary.com PLUS a limited edition Agents of Change reusable shopping bag.PLUS an 11" x 17" signed movie poster PLUS an autographed copy of the new book, The Black Revolution on Campus by Martha Biondi, Professor of History at Northwestern University.

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    Thank you for your generous support! You'll receive a personal thank you email from Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg, updates and inclusion on the Donor Wall at http://agentsofchangedocumentary.com PLUS a limited edition Agents of Change reusable shopping bag.PLUS an 11" x 17" signed movie poster PLUS an autographed copy of the new book, The Black Revolution on Campus by Martha Biondi, Professor of History at Northwestern University PLUS an autographed copy of the new book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972 by Ibram Rogers, and a 15 minute conversation with the co-directors.

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    A hand written personal thank you from the directors, inclusion on our Donor Wall, the pen, shopping bag, signed 11" x 17" movie poster PLUS a premium DVD package including Agents of Change and a second DVD of one of Abby Ginzberg’s previous films (your choice) PLUS coffee with the co-director (in the SF Bay Area or LA, travel costs not included PLUS a screen credit in the finished film PLUS a private West Coast screening for up to twenty people in LA or SF with directors Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg (Mainland U.S. only. Travel not included. Date TBD.) PLUS 1 round trip airfare to the LA or SF premiere of Agents of Change with VIP admission, priority seating AND dinner with the co-directors. Screen credit, premiere ticket, screening upon completion of the film.

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- (30 days)