Are Documentary Films Changing the World?

Tribeca Film FestivalMy colleague Josh Baran is on this panel at the Tribeca Film Festival this Sunday, April 24: "Are Documentary Films Changing the World?."

Josh and I have worked together on a few world-changing films (or those at least trying to). And nearly six years ago I invited him to speak to the Progressive PR Professionals (PR/PR/PR) on a similar topic: "Hijacking Pop Culture For Higher Purposes."

One could argue that Josh is the godfather of leveraging films and popular culture to raise awareness of an issue and compel audiences to take action. In the early 1980’s, he created and implemented a unique grassroots media campaign around the ABC TV network film The Day After. His efforts resulted in a huge increase in viewers both in the US and worldwide, spurring an international dialogue on the dangers of the nuclear arms race. The special is still ranked as the one of the biggest television-related events in history.

The Tribeca panel synopsis:

Documentary films unveil important truths, challenge assumptions, and often compel audiences to take action. Many of today's filmmakers are faced with an additional challenge—how do they ensure their film will have a significant impact on the public and on the policies their story highlights? The collaboration of filmmakers with NGOs and community groups has created a new distribution model, and the measure of success now reaches beyond sales to changes in public perception and policy.

Join filmmaker and activist Abigail Disney, Give Up Tomorrow director Michael Collins, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Impact Partners Dan Cogan, producer Cynthia Lowen of The Bully Project, Josh Baran of Baran Communications, and others for an insightful discussion on the new paths of distribution for nonfiction films and the ways filmmakers and their subjects are making their voices heard. Moderated by independent producer and Outreach Director of The Good Pitch, Sandi DuBowski.