Dr. Vivian Norris is a filmmaker, journalist and academic, teaching Global Communications and Policy at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her undergraduate studies were completed in the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas where she wrote an undergraduate Honors Thesis on Existentialism as a Result of the Occupation in France during World War II.
Dr. Norris holds a M.A. (Scandinavian Studies) and Ph.D. (Comparative Literature with a Film focus) from the University of Washington in Seattle, and wrote a dissertation on Globalization and Media. She was the student representative who petitioned to create an undergraduate Film Program at the University of Washington. She continued Film production work alongside her academic studies while in Seattle, Norway, Sweden, Paris, and now New Orleans.
Dr. Norris co-founded the Women in Cinema Film Festival in 1996 in Seattle, where she was a Programmer and Development Director for the Seattle International Film Festival. Working closely with the academic and diplomatic community in Rome, she founded the Squardi del Nord Film Festival and curated the accompanying conference and publications with the Danish Cultural Center, the various Scandinavian embassies in Rome, and the Germanic Studies Center at the Villa Sciarra.
Dr. Norris worked closely for three years alongside Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen bank and leading authority on Social Business, developing both a feature film project as well as alternative educational distribution paths for films with social messages. Presently Dr.Norris is an independent producer and recently directed and produced a feature documentary, Obama Mama, on the life of President Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, and her pioneering work with Microcredit, (co-produced with Brian Woods of Truevision UK being distributed by www.herflix.com). The film has been traveling internationally to universities and film festivals. Dr.Norris also writes freelance on Business, Film and Technology for BBC Online. She has been a Featured Blogger for the World Post and the Huffington Post for several years. Dr. Norris founded Vigilante VNM Productions to produce independent documentaries with social messages, which campaign for women's rights, integrity in economics and business, and transparency in media among other topics.
Dr. Norris has lived in and travelled to many different parts of the world looking at the effects Media and Cinema have on societies, and how commercial (Hollywood) and social impact cinema can be used (or abused) in terms of communicating social messages. She has written about and lectured on the use of entertainment to help create a better world and the educational use of cinema in classroom for the past two decades at the university level and at film festivals (Transformational Media Conference-London, GEN (Global Editors Network-Social media team-Paris), University of Texas, Rome Filmstudio Nordic film festival, HEC Business school, etc). Post-doctoral research includes the future of Digital Distribution, and issues related to Biotechnology and the Oil Industry, as well as the Epidemic of Narcissism and its Effects on the Financial Industry, Individuals and Politics and the role of Trust and Abuse of Power in Media.