Voting period for this idea type has passed

The Power of Film (to change the world)

The long- running debate about the power of film to effect real change in the world has 'jumped the shark' through the commercial and results-oriented success of numerous documentary and narrative films. From the widespread notoriety of The Help and Kony 2012 to less-known short and feature docs that are moving audiences to action, filmmakers now have the tools and outreach to make a real difference on countless issues.

But while the potential for effecting change is there, important questions remain about the balance between hype and reality, truth and fiction, and exaggerated claims and measurable impacts. The Power of Film (to change the world) is a look at numerous issues that are currently shaping key parts of the future of film.

From studio films to indie features and viral shorts, is a film's power to affect social change determined by a its commercial success or by the actions and attitudes of a potentially smaller but more committed group of viewers?

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. From racism to the arms race, how has filmmaking for change shifted from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner to The Help, from Stanley Kubrick to George Clooney?
  2. Can quality filmmaking and storytelling partnered with a social action nonprofits and their dedicated audience amplify their effects on the world beyond the potential of a pure commercial model?
  3. Are cause-related films at an advantage or disadvantage in finding the right mix of story and issue to achieve the same level of quality and content as purely commercial films?
  4. Did massive media hype and a multi-million dollar marketing budget for An Inconvenient Truth result in support for limiting carbon emissions or did it mobilize opposition and resistance to action?
  5. Can a filmmaker striving for real-world results find more satisfaction than their counterparts working in business model that is ultimately driven primarily by commercial success and the interests of investors and studios?



Turk Pipkin, founder, The Nobelity Project

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.

Show me another