Documentary on Social Work Project in China Receives CSWE Audience Choice Award


For Immediate Release
Lydell Thomas
Manager, Marketing and Communications

Alexandria, VA, January 31, 2013 – Montreal filmmakers Garry Beitel and Barry Lazar are the recipients of the CSWE Audience Choice Award for their film More Than Half the Sky: Building Human Capacity—Social Work With Rural Women in China, featured at the 2012 CSWE Film Festival.

The film documents a 6-year project of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Social Work spearheaded by professors Maria Cheung and Tuula Heinonen, which sought to meet the needs of rural women via services implemented in three Chinese provinces. A clip from More Than Half the Sky may be viewed on the CSWE YouTube channel.

More Than Half the Sky was one of 12 films selected for the film festival at the 58th Annual Program Meeting as part of CSWE’s continuing efforts to highlight classroom resources for social work educators. Audience members rated the films.

“It is indeed a great honor to receive the Audience Choice Award at this year’s CSWE Film Festival,” stated Beitel, writing from South Sudan. “This project was the result of a close collaboration between Beitel/Lazar Films and the social work educators at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Social Work. It is their collaborative work with their Chinese social work colleagues and women’s organizations—and their grassroots work with women in rural China—that provided the basis for the stories we told in More Than Half the Sky.”

“We are delighted to hear about the audience selection of More Than Half the Sky by CSWE,” said Heinonen and Cheung. “It was the kind of social work project that demonstrated impressive changes at the grassroots level. We hope that, with the new leadership in China, more national resources can be allocated to promote social change for women and enhanced dignity and human rights for all rural people.”

Director/producer Beitel and producer Lazar are principals of ReFrame Films, which specializes in social justice documentaries.

“We’re pleased to present this award to Mr. Beitel and Mr. Lazar,” said Darla Spence Coffey, CSWE president. “We hope this recognition may encourage other schools of social work to film their projects and share their success stories.”

Founded in 1952, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the national association for social work education in the United States. Its members include more than 750 accredited baccalaureate and master’s degree social work programs, as well as individual social work educators, practitioners, and agencies dedicated to advancing quality social work education. Through its many initiatives, activities, and centers, CSWE supports quality social work education and provides opportunities for leadership and professional development, so that social workers play a central role in achieving the profession’s goals of social and economic justice. CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories. Learn more at

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