On the heels of the second Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and RI Women’s March Rally at the RI State House, Rhode Island firm, Imaj Associates, whose team includes several connected to Cranston, has been recognized with an international award for their short film, “This is What Democracy Looks Like.”
They won the prestigious Platinum Award by the International Academy of Arts’ 2017 Summit Marketing Effectiveness Awards (MEA). The Platinum level MEA is reserved only for those films achieving the highest degree of impact.
Cranston has reason to be proud as several of residents took part in the production, Patti Melaragno, assistant producer and senior strategist, grew up in the Stadium area and attended Bain and Cranston East, while Imaj President, Jami Ouellette, producer and photographer for the film, spent a large part of her childhood living with her grandmother on Fiat Ave.
Art Director, Katie Wetherby, and her family reside in the Pawtuxet/Edgewood area of Cranston.
The production was a true collaboration among the Imaj team. Others involved included Jeffrey Morse, Imaj Vice President of Digital Media, the lead videographer at the event and production director on post; MET School photographer and videographer interns, Morgan Ouellette and Mitchell Sanders; and technical assistant, Nick Melaragno. Most donated their time to the effort.
Imaj produced the film to document the thousands of Rhode Islanders who attended the groundbreaking marches and rallies that took place in 2017 across the country, in resistance against hate and disparagement of women, minorities and immigrants.
Shanna Wells, Lead Organizer of the RI Women's March 2018 Rally, also grew up in Cranston.
“The nationwide marches and rallies recharged efforts to continue this important work of standing against hatred, bigotry and inequity in our current government,” said Wells. “Imaj’s video has served not only as a strong and moving look at Rhode Island's efforts to participate in the Women's March on Washington but continues to inspire people to get involved.”
“Our goal was to capture the spirit, motivation and messages of the thousands of Rhode Islanders who headed to Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2017, to march alongside close to 4 million men, women and children,” said Ouellette.
Katie Wetherby of Cranston, a member of the Imaj Associates team, attended the march in DC last year to provide art direction and support the cause, and took part in the Providence Rally this year.
“It means a lot to be a part of a team that not only cares deeply about human rights and equity, but actively takes part in, and dedicates their own time and resources to make the world a better place,” said Wetherby.
“No one could have expected the magnitude of this,” said Ouellette. “We shot in a dense sea of people that literally went on for miles. There were impactful and inspiring images and moments at every turn. At one point, I got incredibly lucky when some young men next to me suddenly broke out into song – The Star-Spangled Banner – and the crowd started singing with them. I truly felt an overwhelming sense of sisterhood and brotherhood. We are honored to be recognized for this work which we are so proud of.”
“Where would we be without Imaj Associates?” said Nancy Rafi, RI Women's March Founder and Organizer.
“From the first moment I received the call from Jami, I was completely blown away by the commitment, passion and quality of work that they've provided for our grassroots social justice movement. I'm proud to share and show off the product they've produced for all of our public relations work in the state - it's been a dream to work with them and I'm extremely grateful to their entire staff for all their work to help me get our message out and encourage others to get involved,” said Rafi.
Imaj Associates, Inc. was founded by the company’s President, Jami Ouellette Morse, in her apartment on Pontiac Ave in Cranston, 31 years ago. As it grew the company moved to a room in her Warwick home, then to studios in Providence and Kingston Station. Now, while serving clients nationally, their main office is in Richmond.
To view their pro-bono production, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd1xh6vu2s8&t=277s.