Clàudia Prat, Journalist/Producer/Filmmaker
“From social movements I learned how my role as a journalist was not only about “giving voice,” but actually uplifting and empowering communities through my understanding of tech and storytelling.”
Pronouns: She/Her, They/Them
Meet Clàudia Prat. Claudia is a journalist, freelance producer, and an immersive filmmaker. Clàudia describes her focus as “understanding the potential of new technology and working with academics, researchers, activists, and reporters to create groundbreaking content.” She is a 2015 graduate of Jay Rosen’s Studio20 graduate program at NYU, and a resident of Crown Heights. Over the last two years, Clàudia has embraced a plant-based diet in her attempts to addressing climate change on a personal level. She enjoys hiking, swimming, and follows much of the human rights film festivals around the world. You can reach her via email or LinkedIn, as well as Twitter and her website.
WHAT DOES SHE DO?
Since graduating from Studio 20, Clàudia has combined her background as a documentary filmmaker and journalist to learn and leverage the new immersive technologies. She is in demand to produce 360-degree video content with journalists at outlets including The New York Times, the Associated Press, Univision, and Al Jazeera English.
HOW DID SHE GET INTO THIS WORK?
“We need to build our own narratives.”
Clàudia hails from Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain. “My mother, a psychoanalyst, taught me how to read people and see all of the complexities humans have.” Her father is a businessman. She suggests that she gets her entrepreneurial spirit from him, as well as her embrace of risk: “Every time I fear technology, actually, you have to touch that technology. Fear is the path.”
She graduated into the (global) economic recession of 2008, unable to find work as a traditional journalist -unemployment among Spanish youth was then the highest across all of the E.U. – hovering close to 50%. Originally a documentarian, she grew estranged from the medium: “I did indie docs and I wasn’t totally comfortable with how they live in the world – mostly through film festivals. I sought other ways to create narratives for change through the communities.” Asking herself ” what do these communities actually need? ”
Since Barcelona was itself the political and activist hub of Spain, she and her colleagues built a grassroots television station – at one point a pirate station – banding together to defend their right to broadcast. “We were lawyers, vegans, academics, squatters, punks, and videomakers. We operated through horizontal consensus. Everyone came together.”
While Clàudia is proud of her years in Spain, she notes that it wasn’t a culture (at least five years ago) that embraced change. Yearning to grow as a journalist, she contacted Prof. Jay Rosen, who runs the groundbreaking Studio 20 program at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University. While he initially told her to keep doing what she was doing, after a few years later, she elected to join his Master’s program, which is geared towards project-based work with an emphasis on working with many marquee journalism outlets to solve its systemic problems.
HOW DID SHE COME TO CIVIC HALL?
“When I was at Studio20 we frequently discussed new business models for journalism. At the time, The Guardian had launched an event center to organize events and get trust and money. And with one of my classmates, Eric French, we daydreamed about creating a space that would foster journalism and collaboration. Two years later, I came to Civic Hall to teach a workshop about how to use immersive technology for non-profits. And now I am here.”
WHAT PROJECT(S) IS SHE WORKING ON?
Clàudia’s project, Area 1, was showcased at the UN Global Festival of Action last week in Bonn, Germany. It is a VR film made with the human rights organization New Media Advocacy Project and directed by Katherin Machalek. “The piece seeks to demonstrate the crucial role of investors and stakeholders in human rights violations that can occur in ” development” projects and advocates for responsible investment.” You can follow the link or download the Wonda VR App and search for “Area 1.”
House To House: The Battle For Mosul is a 360-video produced for the Associated Press. Clàudia points out that it is a scene about the “performance of war” and how war is staged.
WHAT IS SHE “READING”?
Clàudia reports that she was enthralled by Shoshana Zuboff ’s new book, The Age of Surveillance.
To introduce the community to immersive filmmaking, Clàudia recommends these experiences:
- “Notes on Blindness” is a VR exploring the sensory and psychological experience of blindness.
- “Across The Line” is a project by Nonny de la Pena (known as the ” Godmother of VR Journalism” ) produced with Planned Parenthood, which places the audience in the shoes of a woman seeking sexual and reproductive health care. (Civic Hall member Connie Colvin participated in the distribution and training around this VR piece!)
- Autism TMI Virtual Reality Experience: “I like sharing this VR experience because it shows how you can produce projects with a low budget and good ideas!”
- Prison Valley: The Prison Industry was made by David Dufrense a decade ago. One of the first interactive documentaries, it was a piece that had a pivotal impact on Clàudia: “It made me realize that journalists and filmmakers had to shift their mindset and understand tech/Web/ and beyond!”
WHAT IS HER ASK AND OFFER OF CIVIC HALL?
Ask: Clàudia has been collaborating with Emblematic Group, the media company of VR pioneer Nonny De La Pena, to promote REACH, a platform that will make the creation of VR projects more accessible and affordable. REACH debuted at Sundance back in January, it’s now in beta version, and Clàudia is looking for guidance about sponsorships and ways to organize a few Hackathons this coming fall to explore how REACH may be used by the social justice community.
Offer: Clàudia is interested in hosting a “Lunch & Learn” at some point this spring to demo all of the immersive experiences and tools that emanate from her monitor while she is working out of Civic Hall.