Within the realm of visual storytelling, documentaries hold a unique position. They possess the ability to enlighten, engage, and evoke emotions, while also igniting conversations on pressing issues. At Together Films, we firmly believe in the potential of films to expand perspectives and inspire action. We are driven by the concept of impact—an approach that goes beyond traditional measures of success, focusing instead on the transformative influence documentaries and fiction films with a social justice message can have on individuals and society at large.
Leveraging the power of documentaries
In collaboration with filmmakers and brands, our team at Together Films crafts impact strategies that diverge from conventional release approaches that hinge solely on financial gains. Instead, our strategies are tailor-made to align with the core message of each film. Take, for example, 2040, a thought-provoking documentary that explores the repercussions of climate change in the next two decades and presents existing technologies that could reverse its effects. In this case, we orchestrated hundreds of school screenings, enabling thousands of young minds to gain a deeper understanding of the climate crisis. Our aim is to instil a sense of urgency and empower individuals to become agents of change.
One of the key facets of impact strategies involves leveraging documentaries to shape policy discussions and catalyse change at the highest levels. We helped organise an exclusive EU policy screening of Becky Hutner’s FASHION REIMAGINED. This film critically examines the fashion industry’s detrimental environmental impact, prompting policymakers to reflect on the necessary reforms needed to address this pressing issue. By engaging decision-makers through film, we create opportunities for dialogue and drive systemic shifts towards sustainability.
5 Essential Resources for Impact
For those intrigued by the concept of impact and its potential to drive change, our team recommend exploring the following resources:
1. The Impact Field Guide & Toolkit
Created by DOC SOCIETY, this definitive impact guide is a tremendous resource for any filmmaker or film industry person. It includes a fantastic overview of Social Impact Entertainment Marketing with numerous case studies to inspire you.
2. The State of Social Impact Entertainment (SIE) from the Skoll Center at UCLA
The Skoll Center for SIE at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television serves to advance the role of entertainment and performing arts to inspire and drive social change. This major reports maps the emerging field of social impact entertainment and is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject.
3. 'Story Movements: How Documentaries Empower People and Inspire Social Change' by Caty Borum Chattoo
Producer and scholar Caty Borum Chattoo explores how documentaries disrupt dominant cultural narratives through complex, creative, often investigative storytelling. Featuring original interviews with award-winning documentary filmmakers and field leaders, the book reveals the influence and motivations behind the vibrant, eye-opening stories of the contemporary documentary age.
4. 'Beyond Empathy' by Sonya Childress
Sonya Childress, Director of Partnerships and Engagement, Firelight Media, interrogates the idea of “humanizing” communities through film, and how this ultimately serves to centre the white gaze. Childress argues that instead the aim should not be to convince white audiences that film participants are humans, but instead focus on building solidarity, whether white audiences may fully relate and understand, or not.
5. 'Spotlight on Impact Storytelling' report by Liz Manne Strategy
A detailed reported from creative consultants Liz Manne Strategy, authored by Erin Potts, Dome Powell and Liz Manne. The document suggests recommendations for the narrative and cultural strategies ecosystem.