In the previous post, we talked about why film-making wins the race as the most efficient medium of showcasing impact, among all other communication media. Furthering the discussion, in this post, we will look at some of the most acclaimed films in the social impact space that have been recognized on the global platform and have received immense love from the viewers.
Social impact films show or represent realities and issues within our society that seek positive attention of the masses. Their objective is to inform, educate, and provoke a thought in their viewer, but most importantly they aim to establish an emotive connection by telling a human story.
Films, Short Films, Documentaries
There are various definitions and specifications given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, British Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute and FTII, on the types of films. But for our convenience, we will just stick to the basic ones for now.
Feature films: They run for 50 minutes or more. Some go up to 80 mins or even more. They are often stylized and involve elaborate production.
Short films: Short films, as the name suggests, run for less than 50 minutes and have a very sharp and concentrated storyline. Their purpose is to showcase a situation or phenomena with least or no interruption from the filming crew. It is shot as it is. capturing the ground reality.
Social impact films can be broadly categorized as follows based on their content (Categorization varies depending on the institute)
Documentaries: These films are primarily nonfictional in their plot and showcase real issues. However, they may fictionalize some aspects of reality, primarily for instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record.
Social impact films or Humanitarian films are purely non-fictional in that they feature real people in real environment. They aim at garnering social proof, giving an intimate view of impact and generating an emotive connect with communities and people.
We have put together a small list of some of the most acclaimed social impact films and documentaries in recent times.
Academy Award Nominated Short Film by Skoll Foundation, Open Heart is a story of 8 Rwandan children who leave their families behind to embark on a journey to Sundan to receive free open heart surgeries. What follows, is a story about how these little children overcome their anxieties and their fear through a life-or-death journey to walk towards a healthy life. The short film, directed by Kief Davidson is one the most acclaimed stories, made and funded by Sundance Institute in their ‘Stories of Change’ segment. Below is the trailer of the movie.
The only Indian short film to have made it to the Seattle Film Festival this year, Beti is a delight for the senses and the conscience. Directed by Shivain Arora of St. Kabir Public School Chandigarh, Beti is a story about how three girls pursue their education, by managing their families’ modest living conditions and against all the odds. This film is a small attempt to laud and motivate girl Education.
Child For Sale
Winner of the Connecther – GITW (Girls Impact The World) Film Festival 2016, Child for Sale by Fiona Bock gives a direct view into the world of sex trade and child sex trafficking which is persistent even today. The film delicately weaves through the lives of the victims and draw the viewers’ attention at the urgency of the problem.
Winner of the US Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking, Trapped, by Sundance Institute, is a unanimous voice of all the people who are standing against the abortion bill passed in the United States. This film traverses through the clinics, doctors, and practitioners documenting their personal stories and experiences and lawyers who are at the forefront of this movement tirelessly working towards abolishing the law that ‘Governs the fundamental Rights of Women through a zipcode.’
These films have powerfully brought some of the darkest corners of our society to light. In order to increase awareness and lead a movement towards change, path breaking films like these are a strong channel to instigate action and mass movement.