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<Coding_Democracy/> is a web series of short documentary portraits (5-10m, distributed across social channels and platform licensing) that share the  inspiring visions and work of those trying to realize a more accountable, effective and inclusive democracy.

 

The underlying goal is to distribute these inspiring stories in an emotional, accessible, and non-esoteric format. All in order for more people, particularly young people, to learn about ideas and efforts that have yet to break through into the mainstream, but have real promise. We are approaching each story to create the following arc:

 

PROVOCATION > BIG VISION > HOW TO ACHIEVE THE VISION > CALL TO ACTION

 

We created the self-funded pilot above as a proof of concept and are now seeking individual donations, organizational sponsorships, and licensing agreements with news platforms to aid in the creation and distribution of more portraits like this.

 

Being that we are at a nascent stage, deliverables can be tailored to organizational media strategies, as needed. With Democracy.Earth serving as a fiscal sponsor of the project all donations or sponsorships are tax deductible. If interested in contributing to this work, please write andrew@andrewjamesbenson.com or donate at the links below.

 

Our current target is to raise $125k to create 20 portraits around the world, over the course of one year. A sample cost breakdown is as follows:

 

donate to support the project

All gifts are tax-deductible thanks to fiscal sponsorship from the Democracy Earth Foundation, a 501c3 non profit. Your statement will say Democracy Earth though gifts given through these links go directly to Coding Democracy.

stories in development

Karl Schroeder

focus: simulations

futurist · author

Cory Doctorow

focus: open source and cyberwar

org: electronic frontier foundation

Dalia Ezzat

focus: youth engagement

org: munathara

stories of interest

Anna Kontula

focus: futurism in government

org: finnish committee on the future

Omar A. Mohammed

focus: civic innovation in africa

org: code for tanzania

Smári McCarthy

focus: transparency

org: pirate party · icelandic parliament

Nathan Spataro

focus: liquid democracy in practice

org: flux

Audrey Tang

focus: hacking government

org: Gov. of Taiwan

 

Micah Sifry

focus: history and context

org: civic hall

Kate Crawford

focus: big data

orgs: Microsoft · MIT

additional stories of interest

Boston: Sandy Pentland·How do we design incentive?

Boston: Primavera Di Filippi·How can blockchain help us cooperate?

NH: Ben Berkowitz· What’s realistic for citizen participation?

NYC: Richard Edelman·How do we design to build trust?

NYC: Douglas Rushkoff·Why design a humanistic democracy?

NYC: Thessy Mehrain·Why do we need a universal identity?

London: Nick Srnicek·How can we learn from neoliberalism’s rise?

London: Michael Green·How can we better define progress?

Israel: Yuval Noah Harari·What’s the key to myth making?

Bahrain: Esra'a Al-Shafei·How can we better use media?

Tunisia: Bellabes Benkredda·What is the future of youth engagement?

Tunisia: TBD·What is there to learn from an upstart democracy?

Japan: TBD·Why build an AI for parliament?

Africa: TBD·How can data end corruption?

Costa Rica: TBD·What are learnings from a demilitarized country?

Finland: Anna Kontula·What is the need for a committee on the future?

Finland: TBD·What's the next step for a progressive democracy?

Estonia: TBD·Why is an e-society good for citizens?

Estonia: TBD·Is this progressive democracy on the brink of colonization?

Brazil: TBD·Should citizens be engaged in collective budgeting?

 

 

filmmaker/producer

AI congress, AR avatars for natural systems, liquid democracy, smart contracts, e-voting, participatory budgeting, global democracy, blockchain - there are visions out there that could transform democracy to be more accountable, effective and inclusive...but they’re stuck in an echo chamber. In order for these ideas to break through into the mainstream, we need to put the narratives in a package that is more beautiful, exciting, accessible, and emotional than a Ted talk.

 

For the last five years, I've been studying the confluence of tech and democracy, mostly because I believe in the promise that lies at this intersection and I want to use my skills to help. I've found many compelling stories and am eager to help share them to a broader audience. Over the last year, I've been working through a way to get these stories out in a manner that balances the sacred equation of quality, quantity, and cost. I think the format and approach here strikes that balance nicely, and hope you find the same.

 

In the past, I was fortunate to explore education in the 3-year documentary project, Mitchell 20, and producing numerous series for the Gates-funded, Teaching Channel. Mitchell 20 was funded by the National Education Association and University of Phoenix. It played in theaters nationwide through a deal I negotiated with AMC and picked up a regional Emmy. With an amazing mentor, over the course of 10 years,we documented the rise of the celebrity politician and the decline of the fourth estate in the documentary, The Joe Show. It was acquired by Discovery ID and played festivals globally, picking up many "best documentary" awards. With this same mentor (Randy Murray), we sold a show concept I created to Discovery Military, Edge of War. The show's host, former Supreme Commander of the United Nations, Wesley Clark, said the show could mitigate enthusiasm for war-which was exactly its intent.

 

I've also been honored to serve as a creative director, writer, producer and/or director on dozens of projects for non-profit and for-profit organizations across media, technology, education, and human services. Including clients such as United Way, FreeArts, BBC, Discovery, Animal Planet, CBS, Arizona State University and PBS. I also have served on boards for the Valley of the Sun United Way, Phoenix Elementary School District, and Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation (which included leading an amazing community visioning process sponsored by the Knight Foundation). I am currently an advisor to Conscious Good, a new media platform led by the founding ED of the Tribecca Film Festival. All this just to say, my craft has been shaped by working with amazing people on meaningful projects and I am no stranger to executing projects of varying type. For reference, you can see some of my work at andrewjamesbenson.com

 

I really appreciate your interest and am thankful for you reading this far. Please  connect with me if you would like to explore supporting this work and/or have stories of visionaries working to design democracy for the 22nd century.

Sharing these stories is sorely needed.

 

-Andrew James Benson

415 890 4132 | andrew@ahappyproject.com

 

 

project advisors

David Evan Harris

focus: civictech

orgs: cal + global lives project

Dan Swislow

focus: democracy

org: national democracy institute

© a happy project

All gifts are tax-deductible thanks to fiscal sponsorship from the Democracy Earth Foundation, a 501c3 non profit. Your statement will say Democracy Earth though gifts given through these links go directly to Coding Democracy.

AI congress, AR avatars for natural systems, liquid democracy, smart contracts, e-voting, participatory budgeting, global democracy, blockchain - there are visions out there that could transform democracy to be more accountable, effective and inclusive...but they’re stuck in an echo chamber. In order for these ideas to break through into the mainstream, we need to put the narratives in a package that is more beautiful, exciting, accessible, and emotional than a Ted talk.

 

For the last five years, I've been studying the confluence of tech and democracy, mostly because I believe in the promise that lies at this intersection and I want to use my skills to help. I've found many compelling stories and am eager to help share them to a broader audience. Over the last year, I've been working through a way to get these stories out in a manner that balances the sacred equation of quality, quantity, and cost. I think the format and approach here strikes that balance nicely, and hope you find the same.

 

In the past, I was fortunate to explore education in the 3-year documentary project, Mitchell 20, and producing numerous series for the Gates-funded, Teaching Channel. Mitchell 20 was funded by the National Education Association and University of Phoenix. It played in theaters nationwide through a deal I negotiated with AMC and picked up a regional Emmy. With an amazing mentor, over the course of 10 years,we documented the rise of the celebrity politician and the decline of the fourth estate in the documentary, The Joe Show. It was acquired by Discovery ID and played festivals globally, picking up many "best documentary" awards. With this same mentor (Randy Murray), we sold a show concept I created to Discovery Military, Edge of War. The show's host, former Supreme Commander of the United Nations, Wesley Clark, said the show could mitigate enthusiasm for war-which was exactly its intent.

 

I've also been honored to serve as a creative director, writer, producer and/or director on dozens of projects for non-profit and for-profit organizations across media, technology, education, and human services. Including clients such as United Way, FreeArts, BBC, Discovery, Animal Planet, CBS, Arizona State University and PBS. I also have served on boards for the Valley of the Sun United Way, Phoenix Elementary School District, and Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation (which included leading an amazing community visioning process sponsored by the Knight Foundation). I am currently an advisor to Conscious Good, a new media platform led by the founding ED of the Tribecca Film Festival. All this just to say, my craft has been shaped by working with amazing people on meaningful projects and I am no stranger to executing projects of varying type. For reference, you can see some of my work at andrewjamesbenson.com

 

I really appreciate your interest and am thankful for you reading this far. Please  connect with me if you would like to explore supporting this work and/or have stories of visionaries working to design democracy for the 22nd century.

Sharing these stories is sorely needed.

 

-Andrew James Benson

415 890 4132 | andrew@ahappyproject.com

 

 

© a happy project

All gifts are tax-deductible thanks to fiscal sponsorship from the Democracy Earth Foundation, a 501c3 non profit. Your statement will say Democracy Earth though gifts given through these links go directly to Coding Democracy.

Boston: Sandy Pentland·How do we design incentive?

 

Boston: Primavera Di Filippi·How can blockchain help us cooperate?

 

NH: Ben Berkowitz· What’s realistic for citizen participation?

 

NYC: Richard Edelman·How do we design to build trust?

 

NYC: Douglas Rushkoff·Why design a humanistic democracy?

 

NYC: Thessy Mehrain·Why do we need a universal identity?

 

London: Nick Srnicek·How can we learn from neoliberalism’s rise?

 

London: Michael Green·How can we better define progress?

 

Israel: Yuval Noah Harari·What’s the key to myth making?

 

Bahrain: Esra'a Al-Shafei·How can we better use media?

 

Tunisia: TBD·What is there to learn from an upstart democracy?

 

Japan: TBD·Why build an AI for parliament?

 

Africa: TBD·How can data end corruption?

 

Costa Rica: TBD·What are learnings from a demilitarized country?

 

Finland: TBD·What's the next step for a progressive democracy?

 

Estonia: TBD·Why is an e-society good for citizens?

 

Estonia: TBD·Is this progressive democracy on the brink of colonization?

 

Brazil: TBD·Should citizens be engaged in collective budgeting?

 

 

© a happy project

All gifts are tax-deductible thanks to fiscal sponsorship from the Democracy Earth Foundation, a 501c3 non profit. Your statement will say Democracy Earth though gifts given through these links go directly to Coding Democracy.

© a happy project