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Creative Visions is inspired by the life of Dan Eldon, a photojournalist, artist and activist killed at age 22 while covering the conflict in Somalia for Reuters. To honor his legacy, in 1997 his mother Kathy Eldon and sister Amy Eldon Turteltaub founded Creative Visions Foundation, a publicly supported 501 (c) 3 to support Creative Activist who, like Dan, use media and the arts to ignite lasting positive social change around the globe.
During the early years, Creative Visions provided small grants to emerging filmmakers and watched in awe as those filmmakers went on to realize incredible results, including the Academy Award-winning film Born Into Brothels. At the same time, Kathy and Amy poured their energy into original productions that further demonstrated the power of making media that matters. With the help of seasoned television producer, Jacoba Atlas, Kathy and Amy produced award-winning media such as: Dying to Tell the Story (TBS) which premiered at the UN General Assembly; Global Tribe and Soldiers of Peace television series (PBS); and Extraordinary Moms (OWN) featuring Julia Roberts, Hilary Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, Christiane Amapour, and a host of other inspiring moms who were changing the world around them. During this stretch Kathy was also featured on Oprah’s “Favorites” show because of her inspirational transformation of tragedy.
Kathy and Amy also helped others find inspiration through Dan’s work by publishing three titles with Chronicle Books (The Journey is the Destination, Art of Life, and Safari as a Way of Life). Each showcased Dan’s unique and brilliant vision, most of which was seen through artwork culled from the pages of his bursting and life-worn journals. The books were complimented by traveling educational exhibitions and a branded clothing line that led to Blake Mycowski releasing a special edition line of TOMS Shoes featuring Dan’s artwork. Dan’s story was also captured by seasoned CNN Presents producer, Charles Tsai, in a moving profile of Dan’s life. All of this led to the publishing of the original Creative Activist Toolkit, which was introduced at Harvard Business School where it was affectionately called “business school 101.”
With a growing expertise in helping others realize the impact of arts and media projects, in 2006 Creative Visions formerly launched the Creative Activist Program, an incubator and academy to help individuals nurture their visions into reality. Since that time, CV has incubated more than 180 projects and productions on 5 continents, providing fiscal sponsorship, mentorship, education, fundraising, connectivity, and step-by-step toolkits. To date, activists under CV’s umbrella have touched more than 100 million people and raised more than $12 million to fund their projects. Many of the films have also gone on to receive high acclaim, including one of iTunes’ bestselling films HAPPY, Abduction (Hot Docs Winner), A Small Act (Sundance Winner), Give Up Tomorrow (Tribeca Winner) and many more.
Our members have focused on a variety of social, humanitarian and environmental issues. They have campaigned and secured school fees for hundreds of African children, and raised funds to build a school for orphans in a rural village in Kenya. California-based activists have funded a music studio arts program for teenagers recovering from substance abuse, and created health and wellness yoga classes for over 300 homeless people. Our activists have raised awareness about the rights of indigenous peoples through international photography exhibits, rebuilt communities after natural disasters, and told the powerful stories of courageous survivors of war and trauma.
Always on the cutting edge, our activists have piloted innovative arts education program for incarcerated girls; produced award-winning films advocating for environmental causes; championed peaceful solutions in conflict zones; helped change governmental policies; provided jobs to underprivileged people and communities around the globe. They have fed thousands of hungry stomachs and provided care and shelter to those in need. They ignite movements. They move us.
To celebrate the accomplishments of our Creative Activists, in 2012 Creative Visions hosted the inaugural Turn ON LA gala, and gave out the first ever Dan Eldon Award for Creative Activism. Recipients included Roko Belic (HAPPY), presented by Christopher Nolan; 8 – year old Caine Monroy (Caine’s Arcade) presented by Maria Bello and her son Jackson; and an organizational award was given to Invisible Children, presented by Tom Shadyac. Invisible Children founder Jason Russell still to this day points to Dan as the inspiration to start their organization, which has experienced unprecedented success in using media and the power of youth to change the world.
Today, Creative Visions remains true to its history of providing support to emerging artists and activists, while also growing into a Premier Creative Agency for the use of media and the arts to ignite lasting social change. In addition to our core incubator services, CV trains the next generation by reaching thousands of schools through our Rock Your World curriculum for middle and high school students. Rock your World is a companion piece to RFK Center’s Speak Truth to Power. RYW introduces students to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, guides them to choose an issue that matters most to them, do a deep dive into researching that issue, and then gives them the tools to launch real life media campaigns to raise awareness and ignite change in the world around them.
CV has also greatly expanded its own in-house film production services to create original content as well as offer creative services as work for hire. In just the past two years we have produced more than 100 trailers, promotional reels, and original content highlighting the work of organizations and activists around the globe.
As we look toward the future, we remain committed to the power of arts and media as powerful tools for change. We feel an ever-growing sense of pride and enthusiasm and will continue to pour all of efforts into building a global tribe committed to better world through our adventurous spirits, our artistic visions, and our dedication to creative activism. We invite you to join us!