The Toyota Effect World Premieres at New York Film Festival Convergence

Short Film Series by Academy-and Award-Winning Filmmakers Ross
Kauffman, Kief Davidson and Steve James Showcases How Toyota Shares Its
Expertise for Good

Panel, Moderated by NPR’s Bob
Garfield, Explored How the Films Marry Creative Freedom and Brand
Communications to Tell Stories that Matter

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Last night at the New York Film Festival (NYFF) Convergence, a brand-new
short film series – entitled The Toyota Effect – debuted
from award-winning directors Kief Davidson (A Lego
Brickumentary, Open Heart
), Steve James (Life Itself, Hoop
) and Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels, The E-Team).

The Toyota Effect premiered at NYFF in conjunction with a panel
that was moderated by Bob Garfield, Host of NPR’s “On The Media
and featured Marjorie Schussel, Director, Integrated Brand
Communications at Toyota
, Kief Davidson and Ross Kauffman. Entitled
“Brand Meets Story: How Filmmakers and Brands Are Reinventing Digital
Content”, the panel explored how content marketing campaigns, like The
Toyota Effect,
are marrying creative freedom with meaningful brand
communications to tell “stories that matter.”

The three short films all highlight how Toyota shares its Toyota
Production System with different partners to help them find better ways
of doing things. By working with Toyota to make small changes to their
day-to-day operations, the partners are able to have a greater impact –
and, in many cases, help more people in need.

“The organizations and incredible people whose lives are being changed
by this work are the stars of these three films,” said Toyota’s Marjorie
Schussel, Director, Integrated Brand Communications. “And by working
with these talented filmmakers, who each approached this project through
their own unique lens, these stories are now being told more powerfully
and authentically than we ever could on our own.”

“Our mission at Convergence was to highlight projects that live at the
intersection of film and media,” says Matthew Bolish, Programmer, New
York Film Festival Convergence. “We were excited to present The Toyota
Effect series because it exemplifies how brands and high-profile film
directors are creating new modes of storytelling for digital-first

The directors were given behind-the-scenes access to three of Toyota’s
partners to highlight the improvements that were made and the results:

  • Saving Sight (Dir. Kief Davidson) –
    Academy-Award-nominated filmmaker Kief Davidson visits Harbor-UCLA
    Hospital’s busy eye clinic, where medical staff struggle to provide
    timely care to underserved community members. Davidson looks at the
    partnership with Toyota through the eyes of Liseth, a diabetic patient
    hoping for surgery that will save her sight.
  • Coming Home (Dir. Ross Kauffman)
    Academy-Award-winning filmmaker Ross Kauffman explores how the St.
    Bernard Project works to get people back into their homes in the wake
    of natural disasters. The nonprofit’s partnership with Toyota has
    allowed it to cut in half the time it takes to rebuild homes, and
    expand from serving residents in New Orleans to helping those
    devastated by disasters across the United States.
  • 116 Innovators (Dir. Steve James)
    Academy-Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James visits Chicago-based ACE
    Metal Crafts, an unusually close-knit U.S. manufacturing company that
    gets a competitive boost from its collaboration with Toyota — proving
    that even in the era of offshoring, American manufacturers can do more
    than just survive, they can grow.

“What captured my imagination initially as a filmmaker was the fact that
it’s an entire philosophy that Toyota brings to the table,” said 116
Director Steve James
. “But I was also struck by the
camaraderie between management and shop floor workers at ACE, the
company I profiled, and how their partnership with Toyota not only made
them more competitive, but also contributed to their enthusiasm and
collective sense of ownership.”

Following the world premiere event at the New York Film Festival
Convergence, The Toyota Effect had a digital release today on

The initiative is also being supported through a digital media and
influencer marketing plan that drives consumers to The Toyota Effect
online hub where people can view and share the films.

The Toyota Effect campaign was developed for Toyota by 360i, in
collaboration with Cinelan.

About Toyota

Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently
operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in
the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23
billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and
development, financial services and design. Toyota is committed to being
a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and
believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results.
Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on
education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has
contributed nearly 700 million dollars to philanthropic programs in the

For more information on Toyota’s commitment to improving communities
nationwide, visit

About Cinelan

Cinelan produces and distributes award-winning short film programs that
influence audiences by fulfilling the fundamental human desire to
experience a good story. Cinelan recently completed WE
THE ECONOMY – 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss
, and GE
FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas
. These two
programs reached audiences around the world with over 200 screening
events across all seven continents and over 100 million online and
mobile views from 150+ countries. Cinelan founding partners are Morgan
Spurlock, Damon Smith, David Laks, Douglas Dicconson, Jack Myers and
Karol Martesko-Fenster. For more information about Cinelan, visit


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