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Assessing your film’s social impact

Posted May 22nd, 2009 by ingrid

Filmmakers working on social issue films are often concerned with creating change as well as reaching an audience. This is more often the case for documentaries but it is certainly true of many narrative films too. The trouble is that many filmmakers find it hard enough to get a film funded and then distributed, let alone embark on a costly and time-consuming outreach campaign. However, it is often part and parcel of the reasons for making the film in the first place and it can be incredibly rewarding to reach new audiences and see your film having a real impact.
But how do you measure this impact? The Fledgling Fund has written a paper that addresses this: Assessing Creative Media’s Social Impact. It is worth reading if you are working on your film’s outreach plan but it is also something to bear in mind when you are applying for funding from organizations like Fledgling. If you know how they will be assessing your film, it will enable you to think through the issues and write a much stronger grant application.

Consider for example the “Dimensions of Impact” diagram on page 16. How does your film work within each dimension? It will not necessarily work in every dimension of course but thinking through all the options will give you a better sense of what your film can do. It is important to have a rigorous and well-thought out strategy rather than simply hoping that the right people will see your film. This paper will help you see the possibilities.

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