Documentary Filmmakers and Social Change

A Survey of True/False Film Fest 2014 Filmmakers

Aggregate, a Seattle-based creative strategy group that works with nonprofits and foundations to bring people and resources together to create social change, surveyed the nonfiction filmmakers whose films screened at the True/False Film Fest in early 2014. We wanted to understand how the filmmakers feel about their films’ ability to create social change, whether doing so was a priority for them and how they felt about measuring this social change—or social impact.

True/False is not a social impact documentary film festival. As the festival shares in its mission statement, it exists “to champion the best new nonfiction filmmaking.” The organizers’ goal is to “promote art, dialogue and deepen our community’s understanding of each other and the world at large.” Some could (easily) say that this is social change, but the organizers are clear that they put good storytelling—and storytellers— above all else. You’d be hard pressed to find a traditional, didactic advocacy film among the films that have screened at True/False over the past eleven years.

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