This master class with film director and new media artist Helen De Michiel shares the process of making her new feature, BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE SIDEWALK

In a region where 39% of young people under 30 live with diabetes or pre-diabetes, BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE SIDEWALK focuses on a public health battle being waged at the local level -- against the harmful beverage industry and the over consumption of sugary drinks. In cities across the US -- from Philadelphia to Oakland -- and in countries like Mexico, soda taxes on beverage distributors have been used to support community-based health education

"These sons and daughters of farmworkers, of domestic workers – most of them barely 18 years old – are our future leaders. They are learning to lead by doing, by organizing and by fighting for what they believe in. Adelante!"


Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist

Join the Conversation!

Helen De Michiel as well as participants in the Between the Sun and the Sidewalk will discuss the process of producing documentaries in new ways and across platforms on social justice issues

Wednesday, April 5,  at 7 p.m.  

The event is hybrid.  De Michiel and collaborators will be on Zoom.  The audience will be in Park Auditorium in person. 

Trailer for the feature-length film in progress, BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE SIDEWALK (Helen De Michiel, US, 2023)



BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE SIDEWALK follows two fiercely dedicated young Latino political organizers leading a team of new recruits to mobilize their community to support a sugary drink tax. When the state government passes a stealth law to ban all local soda taxes until 2030, these young activists fearlessly battle the corporate lobbying efforts to block them.

In their goal to ignite a grassroots movement for health justice, the young organizers, Christian and Aurora, are undaunted. Tested during their fight for democracy and the right to vote on local issues, the film’s heroes overcome doubt, fear and powerful resistance as they dare to fight back against the goliath American beverage industry. 

This story of hands-on community organizing reveals how, through collective participation at the grassroots level, people can make meaningful change that benefits everyone.



Helen De Michiel  is a Bay Area-based director, writer, and producer whose creative media making work moves across independent film and digital platforms. Beginning in the 1980s, she produced pioneering series The Independents and Alive TV for public television, created  innovative community media projects with youth, and began writing regularly about issues in the public media and arts field.  Her many films and videos are included in museum collections across the country.

She is deeply involved in co-creative and participatory media practices, including combinatory storytelling which I call open space new media. I co-authored Open Space New Media Documentary: A Toolkit for Theory and Practice (Routledge 2018) with film historian Patricia Zimmermann.  My episodic documentary, Lunch Love Community (2010-15) circulated as an open space project across live and online communities. Along with Berkeley Vs. Big Soda (2016), it continues to make a real impact for global food justice.

She founded and directs Thirty Leaves Production. From 1996-2010, she served as the Executive Director and then Co-Director of The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (now The Alliance). From 2002-2007 she served on the Peabody Awards Board of Directors

She teaches in the Film Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her new documentary project, Between the Sun and the Sidewalk, will be released in 2023.