1. How Documentaries Have Changed the World, Literally.

    Documentaries have the potential to change the world.  Many documentary makers make films about subjects that they feel are important and they hope that others will be impacted by these films.  But how do we know if these documentaries have an impact on the people or not?  Researchers have begun to study the impact of documentaries to understand the impact that documentaries have on people.



    One documentary that was evaluated was “The End of the Line,” a documentary about the collapse of the world’s fisheries.  In studying the impact of this documentary, the exemplary report was used, which documented any significant changes that resulted from the film, highlighted the importance of partnership between brands and then provided people with useful lessons that were learned about social media and coordinating with partners.  After seeing this film, many big companies in the UK, such as the grocery store Waitrose and sandwich shop Prêt-A-Manger, changed the way that they bought fish.  The documentary successfully convinced these big companies to make a change, thus, even more people were changing the way they bought fish because they saw these big companies doing it.  Therefore, it was concluded that this film had a significant impact on the people.    


          

    Another film that was evaluated was “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary about Global Warming.  The pioneering study was used to determine the social good that the documentary did.  First of all, the media covered this documentary extensively, which helped to bring people’s attention to the issues, even if they did not see the documentary.  People were learning about Global Warming through the media just because the film was made.  Also, the coverage of Global Warming by the media continues today, which shows that the film had some long-lasting results.  To determine the social value of this documentary though, the study used a technique called ‘willingness to pay.”  Simply, the researchers asked people if they would be willing to pay to ensure that the film would be released in theatres or on TV.  About 54% of those polled said that they would be willing to pay.  Thus, this study showed that the documentary had a significant impact on a large amount of people.



    The final film that was studied was “Waiting For Superman,” which addresses education reform in the United States.   Researchers used substantial study to look at the success of the film in terms of how much it changed people’s views on the educational system.  The study also highlighted the effectiveness of the content.  Organizations that were affiliated with the film found increases in membership and participation.  Thus, what was learned from this study was that gaining support from reputable affiliates was beneficial to the film (and it was beneficial to the affiliates).  In conclusion, this film also had a significant impact on many people. 

    Through these studies, researchers began to understand what about documentaries influences people.  By understanding this, one can understand how a documentary can help to change the world.  By continuing to study the impact of documentaries, documentary makers in the future will be able to help make even bigger changes in the world.       

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    Maggie Pearce

    SnagFilms Staff Blogger

    (Source: snagfilms.com)

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    Jul 18 11:45AM