CUSA 2023 Videos Spotlight Cliff Effect and Weekly Meetings

Circles USA is proud to announce the release of two dynamic additions to our ever-expanding original video suite. The short films, conceived and co-produced by board member Jennifer Pelling and independent film director Brian Lawes, are the result of the duo’s years-long collaboration making films and videos for nonprofit organizations.

Cliff Effect Primer

Pelling and Lawes’s animated “explainer” video illuminates the perils of the Cliff Effect, a phenomenon which occurs when a pay raise at work triggers a disproportionate loss of government assistance. It was produced in collaboration with Osmosis Films, a New York City-based creative agency and video production company.

“First of all,” Pelling says, “a huge thanks to Christina Williams [executive director of Innovative Poverty Solutions with Circles NWA] for her detailed feedback and insights. This was a challenging video because it’s aimed at a different audience than the other Circles videos we’ve produced in the past.”

Instead of seasoned CUSA members, she explains, “we’re hoping to reach people who have never heard of the Cliff Effect or who may have misconceptions about public assistance–to educate them about a widespread, crippling economic problem that is one of the biggest barriers to ending poverty.”

Virtual Tour of a Weekly Meeting

The Cliff Effect video follows on the heels of another new release featuring Circles Salt Lake (Salt Lake, UT), which we previewed in a recent feature. Conceived and co-produced by Pelling and directed by Lawes, the short documentary invites prospective chapters on a virtual tour of Circles Salt Lake’s weekly meeting. 

Pelling calls working with Circles Salt Lake “the smoothest experience we’ve had filming at a chapter. Everything fell into place and we absolutely loved working with the Circles Salt Lake team! Michelle Crawford, their Chapter Director, is a natural at explaining the Circles model and they have such a beautiful space.”

Executive Director Kamatara Johnson added: “Weekly meetings are the heart of Circles USA. They’ve always been our most powerful tool for delivering our transformational services and community-building.”

To learn more about the Cliff Effect, visit our website.

To read more about the production of the Weekly Meeting video, visit the CUSA blog.