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BROKEN CHAINS, 90min., Singapore, Documentary
Directed by Michael Lints, Aaron Stewart
In the days following George Floyd’s death, over 200 major companies made statements supporting social justice. Almost all of those statements were made via Twitter. They used words like “justice”, “solidarity” and “equality”. If the responses of some of the most economically powerful organizations on the planet can be summed up in less than 280 characters, we have a problem.
Director Biography – Michael Lints, Aaron Stewart
Michael Lints has over 20 years of experience helping innovative businesses obtain the resources, insights, and expertise they need in order to be successful. Michael has been a startup operator, investor, and mentor, and is currently a Partner at the Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures. Michael’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2000 when he co-founded an IT managed services startup in Europe that was acquired by a large data and telecom company six years later. In 2007, Michael founded a venture fund focused on Dutch small- and medium-sized enterprises to help them with capital financing, business development, and strategy. During the same period, he was invited to join the Economic Development Board Rotterdam. In that role, he launched the Young Economic Development Board where he brought together a highly influential Dutch network to develop a sustainable framework for public-private relationships that increased local business investment while leveraging the public infrastructure.
Outside of work, sport is an essential part of Michael’s life. He is a former member of the Dutch karate team He is also passionate about social justice and uses sport as a vehicle to raise awareness for important issues such as civil rights, economic opportunity, and education. Besides sport, Michael is an active writer and writes articles regarding life, balance, and venture capital.
Broken Chains is a documentary project started in June 2020 in Singapore after global protests against institutional racism following the murder of George Floyd. It inspired me to write a Medium-post called “I am exhausted and I want you to know why.” I was looking for a way to help bring systemic racism to the attention of corporations and the tech industry. Oftentimes people would see racism, but have difficulty understanding how these issues have reverberating and persistent effects on the individuals targeted as well as society at-large. After I published my article, many people asked: “what can I do besides listen?” The answer is not only complex but requires input and insight from different layers of society, different generations and different backgrounds.
In the days following George Floyd’s death, over 200 major companies made statements supporting social justice. Almost all of those statements were made via Twitter. They used words like “justice,” “solidarity” and “equality.” If the responses of some of the most economically powerful organizations on the planet can be summed up in less than 280 characters, we have a problem. That’s not a discussion on racism. That’s not a roadmap to economic empowerment. That’s a snapshot for social media and we need a plan.
Broken Chains gives perspectives on how we move on from here. Systemic racism is prevalent in corporate life, sports, social life. Every part of our lives. We can’t solve all these problems in one go but we intend to give some insight on one of the larger issues amongst people of color: access to opportunity and the creation of wealth. One of the common threads in the documentary is about generational wealth. As a father and venture capitalist, it became evident how important it is for the black community to be able to create generational wealth. Through investments, access to education and the ability to grow in corporate leadership roles the black community stands a better chance to not only create generational wealth, but to invest directly back into the community.
Starting out as a small project in Singapore, Broken Chains swiftly became an international production across the United States and Asia. This led to a number of challenges for the production team in Singapore. Recording a documentary in different continents during a pandemic is not easy. Working with remote camera crews we have never met, doing several interviews over Zoom, all while keeping the interviewees and crew safe were challenges on their own.
Broken Chains features candid interviews with some of today’s leading economists, educators, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and technologists. As we explore their hopes, fears, and frank assessments of what needs to be done to fix the broken economy for so many, Broken Chains’ narrative focuses on critical inflection points where institutional racism and economic reality meet – which if we get them right – hold the keys to closing the racial wealth gap in America.