Envision forum kicks off at DGA

UN Secretary addresses filmmakers in L.A.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon opened the inaugural edition of the Envision forum on Thursday morning at the Directors Guild Theater.

Ban entreated the aud of filmmakers and philanthropists to “help us tell our stories” — Envision is the U.N.’s second bid to reach out to professional filmmakers after the U.N. Documentary Film Festival was canceled in 2008.

The initiative is the result of a partnership with nonprofit movie org Independent Filmmaker Project. This year’s Envision edition includes discussions with local notables including helmer Jonathan Demme and Abigail Disney, whose Liberian-set pic “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” won Tribeca’s docu award in 2008.

“We’re not interested in creating another film festival,” said IFP exec director Michelle Byrd. “People are really here from the philanthropic community, though.” Byrd says that she wants the event to put filmmakers and funders in the same room so that more docus like “Pray the Devil” stand a chance of getting made.

Envision is funded in large part by Diana Barrett’s the Fledgling Fund, an org devoted to providing funding for docus that raise awareness about social problems.

The forum is the latest of several recent attempts to engage the entertainment community: the U.N.’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative recently hosted a panel discussion the Sci Fi series “Battlestar Galactica” in an effort to foment discussion on global issues.