Making Movies That Make An Impact

Issue-driven documentaries have the ability to affect social change, but that potential is magnified by a successful and smart social impact campaign. Realscreen talks to filmmakers, distributors and programming execs about the evolving relationship between filmmaking and outreach.

During a panel on impact investing at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, funders and strategists tackled how a film’s potential to instigate social change is being considered much earlier in the process.

What kind of doc is best suited to a social impact campaign and when should filmmakers start thinking about creating one? That depends on who you ask.

“If you feel the film is going to make you want to slit your wrists because it’s too damn depressing, that’s not going to work,” said Steve Cohen, co-founder of impact media non-profit, Chicago Media Project, and a member of Impact Partners, during the panel. “If the film can show a way in – even if it’s a relatively small way in – that is going to work because we can see a way that the film is going to propel the larger issue.”

Producers, distributors and funders of documentaries are finding that affecting social change and making money do not have to be mutually exclusive goals. Increasingly, investors are eyeing issue-driven documentaries that are both entertaining and actionable. Thinking about impact early can pay off when a documentary is finished because NGOs and foundations that bought in can then help with petitions, screenings for activists and organizations, educational components and lobbying…

Check out the rest of this article from Real Screen.