The Men’s Story Project: Building Strength, Creating Peace

Higher Education DVD + PPR: $250.00

The Men’s Story Project: Building Strength, Creating Peace

What does it mean to “be a man”? How do social ideas about manhood and gender relations affect health and justice for all people? Acclaimed by leading scholars and advocates as “revolutionary,” “deeply moving,” and “thought-provoking,” this film shows the debut of the award-winning Men’s Story Project in Berkeley, CA. It highlights a diverse group of 16 men, ages 22-60, sharing personal stories with unusual candor before a public audience. Critically exploring social ideas about masculinity, topics addressed include family relationships, sexuality, friendship and violence between men, ending one’s perpetration of domestic violence, transgender identity, homo/transphobia, physical disability, cancer, HIV/AIDS, transformation in prison, self-determination, and intersections with race and other aspects of identity. Multiple artistic mediums. Set to become a classic in gender studies.

“It is still relatively rare — and often startling — to hear men talk openly and honestly about experiences in our families, struggles (and joys) in relationships, violent victimization or perpetration, or anything else that leaves us feeling vulnerable — especially in front of other men. That is why the Men’s Story Project film is such an important contribution to the expanding work of engaging men at all levels of gender justice work: it speaks to our hearts as well as our minds, and beautifully brings together the personal and political aspects of these critical issues.”

-Jackson Katz, anti-sexist educator, filmmaker & author

Higher Education DVD + PPR $250.00
Higher Education DVD + PPR + Streaming License $400.00
K-12 and Nonprofit Groups DVD + PPR $89.00
“The Men’s Story Project” gathers a wonderful array of men’s voices and stories — deeply moving, at times hilarious, and always thought-provoking.  It was a big hit with the students in my college sex and gender course — they were inspired by the film to think about male privilege and pain, as well as the commonalities and differences among men.  And most important, the film provided plenty of grist for us to ask together, ‘Just what is a man?'”

-Michael Messner, Professor of Sociology & Gender Studies, U. of Southern California

Filmed at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA with a standing-room-only audience, this film shows the powerful debut presentation of the Men’s Story Project – a new, arts-based community dialogue project that explores social ideas about manhood for the purpose of health and justice.

Described by audience members as “groundbreaking,” “transformative,” “courageous” and “something that needs to keep happening,” this bold performance highlights a diverse group of 16 artists, activists, and first-time presenters, ages 22-60, sharing personal life stories through slam poetry, monologues, prose and dance.

“The Men’s Story Project film is a powerful and moving tool for sparking conversations about male socialization, the variety of masculinities men act out, and the roles that all men can play in building healthy and just communities.”

-Paul Kivel, co-founder of Oakland Men’s Project; author of Men’s Work & other books

The stories address topics including friendship between men; coming out to one’s parents; struggles with religion, homophobia and HIV/AIDS; intersections of physical disability, sexuality and race; images of African American masculinity; men’s public restroom rituals; testicular cancer and personal wholeness; two men’s journeys from perpetrating domestic violence to becoming anti-violence activists; spirituality and transformation inside San Quentin prison; transgender identity and gender fluidity; challenging a father’s racism; the value of often-undervalued lives; being raised without male role models; desire to be in a committed relationship; and gratitude to lifelong mentors.

Presenters include Robert Haaland, the first transgender candidate elected to San Francisco public office; Juan Cuba (San Francisco Women Against Rape); Leroy Moore (Sins Invalid); and members of the Berkeley and San Francisco slam poetry championship teams. Directed by Josie Lehrer, Sc.D.

“A film of cultural importance.”

– San Francisco Chronicle

Educators may opt to show the film in its entirety, or select from 16 stand-alone pieces (chapter selections) including 10-min director introduction. Pieces range from 4-11 min. Total run time: 114 min. 2009

Run time: 114 minutes

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Higher Education DVD + PPR, Higher Education DVD + PPR + Streaming License, K-12 and Nonprofit Groups DVD + PPR


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The MSP has been featured on CNN Headline News, and recognized with the UC-San Francisco Chancellor’s Award for Public Service and Bears Breaking Boundaries Award at UC-Berkeley. An ongoing film project in Chile is sponsored by Amnesty International. Leading researchers and advocates in gender studies and violence prevention are on the MSP Advisory Council, including Jackson Katz, Michael Kimmel, Mary Koss, and Frederick Marx (Hoop Dreams).

The MSP was founded in 2008 in San Francisco by Josie Lehrer, Sc.D., a public health researcher, health educator and musician. She completed her doctoral work at the Harvard School of Public Health and postdoctoral work at the UC-San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. Lehrer’s work in the U.S. and Latin America focuses on the prevention of HIV/STI and gender-based violence, and the promotion of healthy masculinities and gender equality. Her family is from Chile.