Our Story

Led by Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards, our team at San Francisco-based Let it Ripple has had four films premiere at Sundance, has won over 80 awards and distinctions, and has had four films selected by The U.S. State Department to screen at embassies around the world to foster dialogue across borders.

Let it Ripple’s mission is to use film, technology, discussion materials, and live and virtual events to engage people in conversation and action around complicated subjects that are shaping our lives, and updating these topics through an engaging, accessible, 21st century lens. Over the past ten years, we have created and distributed 31 films, engaged over 50 Million people in dialogue, pioneered a new way of making films we call “Cloud Filmmaking,” where we make films collaboratively with people all over the world, and founded a new model to start global conversations with screenings and discussions across all continents on the same day, with a combination of live and virtual events.

The Let it Ripple team has pioneered global days of film and discussion about important issues shaping our lives that unite over 130,000 live events all linked together online with speakers and one theme. Their annual global day Character Day is now in its fourth year. It has grown from having 1,500 events its first year, to over 133,000 events in 125 countries and all 50 states for the 4th Annual Character Day that happened on Sept 13th. This past spring, they launched their newest initiative — using the same, unique, model of Character Day, the first annual 50/50 Day — a global conversation about how to get to gender parity — that had over 11,000 events on May 20. The second annual 50/50 Day is now set for April 26, 2018.

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Tiffany Shlain

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Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards. Her films and work have received many awards and distinctions including selection in the Albert Einstein Foundation’s upcoming book Genius: 100 Visions for the Future,  a Disruptive Innovation Award from Tribeca Film Festival, in Newsweek magazine’s list of “Women Shaping the 21st Century” and NPR’s list of best commencement speeches since 1776. Four of her films have premiered at Sundance, including her feature documentary “Connected,” and “The Tribe.” The US State Department selected four of her films to represent America at embassies globally for The American Film Showcase. As a speaker, Tiffany has presented at Harvard, NASA, and was the closing speaker for both TEDWomen and TEDMED. Her original series “The Future Starts Here” has received over 40 million views. She and her team have pioneered global days of film and discussion about important issues shaping our lives that unite over 130,000 live events all linked together online with speakers and one theme. Character Day explores questions and research around living a life of meaning and purpose with her films 30,000 Days and The Science of Character as the centerpiece. 50/50 Day focuses on gender equity, using her film 50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present & Future of Women + Power.  While Tiffany loves technology, she is on her 8th year of turning off all screens with her husband and daughters (yes one is a teenager) for what they call their technology shabbats which she explores in her films and writing. Twitter @tiffanyshlain

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Cloud Filmmaking

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Cloud filmmaking began as an experiment to explore two ideas raised in the final lines of our feature film, Connected (premiered at Sundance 2011). The first: what’s the potential of so many people around the globe being connected through the Internet and through smartphones that have built in video cameras? And second: the final lines of the film are, “for centuries we’ve been declaring our independence. Perhaps it’s now time to declare our INTERdependence.” So we thought, what if we could films collaboratively with people all over the world, with topics that speak to the highest level of what connects us as humans.

We released the first cloud film, A Declaration of Interdependence, as a global cloud film premiere in fall 2011. For that film, we rewrote the Declaration of Independence to be about interdependence, posted the script across social media and on our site, and asked people to turn on a cell phone camera and read whatever part of the script spoke to them most. Thousands of submissions poured in. We edited together the film, with music by Moby, and released it to the world. We then invited the world to help us translate the film into as many languages as possible. In less than a month, it was volunteer translated into 69 languages. We then started offering free customized versions of the film to nonprofits and schools, making over 1000 in the first year.

We then went on to make Engage, Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, The Science of Character, Adaptable Mind, and The Making of a Mensch (watch all short here). For the premiere of The Science of Character, we thought, how could really make the most impact with this film all about the neuroscience and social science behind developing character (strengths like empathy, humility, curiosity, grit, and humor).  We decided to invite schools and organizations all around the globe to participate in a global premiere by screening the film, diving into discussion materials we’d provide for free, and joining a global Q&A featuring prominent leaders in the field of character education. That day became the first ever  Character Day. We hoped to have 250 schools and organizations participate; over 1500 joined. The second year, 6,700 groups in 32 countries. The third year, 93,000 groups participated in 125 countries. The fourth annual Character Day happened September 13th, 2017 with over 133,000 groups participating and they’ll be premiering the final cloud film in the series, 30,000 Days. Character Day 2018 is set for Sept 26th. You can sign up here.

Meet the Team


Check out the team that makes it all happen!

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Board of Directors

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Meet our fabulous board who guides and advises us.

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