POSTS The Film Business

SPARKS ~ the Power of Media to Ignite Change


– excerpts below from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change, by Tracey Friesen


STORY Question: What to you are essential story ingredients for documentaries?

Mark Achbar (The Corporation): I ask questions. Is it new? Are you telling me something I don’t already know? I’m always grateful for that. Are you going to tell it in a way that’s novel? Are you going to advance the form? Is it well-written? … Do they show me something in a way that I hadn’t thought of it before? And are they considerate of the audience? By that I mean, if they’re introducing a new set of ideas or a new analysis, are they presenting it in a way that somebody else hasn’t?


MONEY Question: What advice do you have for filmmakers about approaching possible funders?

Cara Mertes (Just Films): Research your potential donor. Can they be a partner in your project and if so, how? Try to understand their needs and interests to the best of your ability and identify where you and they might have common ground. Assume these people are knowledgeable about their area, professional and committed. They want to identify partners for their work as much as you want to identify support for yours. If they can’t help, see if they can open the door to others who can.


IMPACT Question: What is the connection between the David Suzuki Foundation and Dr. Suzuki himself (and impact)?

Andrea Seale (Deputy CEO): Achieving an environmental mission is very difficult. In the last few years we’ve realized there is a great need for us to engage the public more deeply, really finding ways for individuals to get involved.  We’ve been making a lot of effort to build up, care for and encourage a community of individuals. Whereas before our focus may have been on decision-makers or politicians – a smaller group – now we consider our “audience” to be much larger than ever before.


Extra sparks


Watch: The Corporation (10th Anniversary)



Explore:  Ford Foundation’s Just Films



Read:  “Digital Storytelling for Social Impact”

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