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Publisher Description

From the very beginning, producers of social-issue documentaries have aspired to change the world, seeking to alter the political agenda and the popular understanding of issues. (2) The actual extent of political impact, however, has often been questioned, and for most producers concern for impact has been secondary to their primary objective of creating a powerful, moving, and high-quality documentary. Scholars such as Brian Winston have been skeptical of impact, asserting that "the underlying assumption of most social documentaries-that they shall act as agents of reform and change--is almost never demonstrated" (Winston 236). In the last ten years, however, "outreach strategies" have become a central component of documentary projects, spurred by a new generation of documentary producers and by the interests and requirements of major foundations. (3) George Stoney argues that "50 percent of the documentary filmmaker's job is making the movie, and 50 percent is figuring out what its impact can be and how it can move audiences to action." Line items for "outreach" are increasingly common in budgets for documentaries, and several of the high-profile outlets for independent documentaries have developed elaborate strategies to enhance the impact of this work (for example, POV's "Television Race Initiative" and ITVS's "Community Connections Project"). At the same time, activist groups at all levels, from local to international, have increasingly recognized documentaries as vehicles for social change. And now, with the explosion of interest surrounding documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11, the question of impact has reached even the general public.

Business & Personal Finance
June 22
Post Script, Inc.

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