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Premiere Screening: Letters from America’s 3rd World

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (November 30, 2022) – Ship and Anchor founder and CEO, Devin Smith, participated in the Short Films World Premier with JAC and JUSTstories documentary screening event. JUSTstories is a documentary videography curriculum program that supports nonprofits, community organizations, and justice leaders in building capacity for impactful, visual storytelling and content creation within their organizations. With the support of the Art for Justice Fund, JAC and social impact production company Unchained Stories helped 6 chosen creators bring their messages to life.

The purpose of Smith’s 12-minute short film, Letters from America’s 3rd World, is to explain our definition of the 3rd world, as outlined in his The Business Equality Network (BEQ) Pride magazine feature. With this project we aim to humanize current and formerly incarcerated people, centering our common humanity, which we view as divine. We aim to highlight the necessary resistance and joy that characterizes citizens of America’s 3rd world. The project is intended to be connected with the Letters from America’s 3rd World Podcast.

The JUSTstories program not only offered facilitated classes to help Smith and other participants develop visual storytelling skills, but admission to the JUSTstories program also came equipped with the essential equipment needed to make high quality films using only a smart camera phone – smartphone rig, mics, lights, tripods and more.

Creating compelling messaging has been a core offering of Ship and Anchor since its launch in 2019, and Smith believes the JUSTstories program is their upgrade. “Our formula for Inspiration has always helped us tell very powerful stories; however our focus was more on written communications. Having had training for visual storytelling for the purpose of social impact…I believe our campaigns are now upgraded in entertainment value and clarity of message,” said Smith.

“I was doing the ‘Letters’ podcast for my personal healing journey,” said Smith. “But after hearing so many people who found value in it, and having the opportunity to relay the message of America’s 3rd world visually, I knew I had to move forward with the project.”

Coming off the heels of a successful premier screening, Smith says that he and the Letters from America’s 3rd World team are more inspired than ever to complete the vision. He leaves us with the admonition, “You definitely want to make sure you subscribe to our blog, because you don’t want to miss the next screening…or the relaunch of the podcast, and everything else we’ve got in store for this project!”


About the Letters from America’s 3rd World

The purpose of Smith’s 12-minute short film, Letters from America’s 3rd World, is to explain our definition of the 3rd world – the marginalized, largely ignored communities within America’s borders that operate under de-facto laws, codes of ethics, and institutions, such as the incarcerated, homeless, those battling mental health, and more.

The film also juxtaposes the struggle of constant resistance with the joy of having a dream you are willing to take a risk and go after, in the face of consequences as severe as loss of freedom. It repositions “criminals” as dreamers, people no different from entrepreneurs or Dr. King even – willing to risk it all for the life they envision for themselves and those they care for. This, we hope, will intrigue viewers to new perspectives on how our society can engage our [criminal] dreamers and better direct resources. We hope to intrigue viewers to reimagine the divinity inherent in all humans, including residents of America’s 3rd World.

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