The Power of Documentary Filmmaking: How to Use Your Film for Social Change

profile image for Cameron ZingerCameron ZingerLocal Content Director, STORYHIVE
Solidarity Film Camp
Photo credit: Solidarity Film Camp, Produced by Andrea Beça

Documentary filmmaking is a powerful tool for social change. A well-made documentary can educate, inform and inspire audiences, while also shedding light on important issues and injustices. By bringing attention to underrepresented perspectives and communities, documentaries can help to spark meaningful conversations and drive meaningful action.

Social change 

One of the key ways in which documentary filmmaking can be used for social change is by telling stories that would otherwise go untold. Many documentaries focus on communities and individuals whose voices are often not heard in mainstream media. These films can help to bring attention to important issues that are often overlooked or ignored, such as poverty, racial injustice and environmental degradation.

A platform 

Another way in which documentary filmmaking can be used for social change is by providing a platform for activists and experts to speak out. Many documentaries feature interviews with experts and activists who are working on the front lines of important issues. These voices can provide valuable insights and perspectives, and can help to drive meaningful action by inspiring audiences to get involved and make a difference.

Tool for advocacy 

In addition to educating and inspiring audiences, documentaries can also be used as a tool for advocacy. Many documentaries are accompanied by outreach and impact campaigns, which can be used to build support for important causes and issues. These campaigns can include screenings, panel discussions and other events that bring together audiences and experts to discuss important issues and take action.

Building empathy and connection 

It's important to note that documentary filmmaking is not a one-way street. The process of creating a documentary can be a powerful tool for personal growth, self-awareness and understanding. The process of seeking out stories and perspectives can also create a deeper understanding of the subject matter, and help to build a sense of empathy and connection with the people and communities being portrayed in the film.

Whether you're a filmmaker, an activist or just someone looking to make a difference, documentary filmmaking can be a powerful tool for creating change and making the world a better place.

A project to spotlight 

Here is a STORYHIVE documentary I want to spotlight that has done an incredible job building awareness and inspiring change in their community. The recently premiered Black Creators Edition project, Amelie’s Second Chance produced by Leslie Bangamba is about Amélie, a Red Deer child, ingesting a fatal object during the pandemic. It follows the family’s story as doctors race against time to try and save her life. 

Leslie Bangamba and daughter Amélie made their latest donation to the Stollery Charitable Foundation last November; they've now raised more than $15,000 for the hospital where Amélie was taken following the incident in April 2020.

Stay tuned for more 

Earlier this year, STORYHIVE opened intake for our biggest edition yet, the Anniversary Documentary Edition. We are excited to announce the 80 selected projects on June 22, 2023! As well, our Voices 3.0 program opens for applications on April 4, and we'll be seeking pitches for non-narrative episodic series' that could include a documentary series. Stay tuned and we can’t wait to watch these projects unfold. 

Local Content Director
Posted onMar 23, 2023
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