Helen De Michiel, co-director of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) recently wrote an interesting piece discussing the changing landscape of independent documentaries and the use of media as a tool for participation, transformation, and social action. She writes about the relationship that filmmakers have with the making of their film and the development of social outreach – especially how increasingly the approach is shifting toward alternative avenues for distribution:

Public engagement and outreach planning are the farthest from a filmmaker’s thinking when beginning the process, but now these may become one of the most important links to get the film completed and distributed, and most importantly, used by people.

In come the efforts of Working Films, and those of our counterparts at Active Voice, where she explains that we:

… offer strategy, partnership matchmaking for long term relationships, and the service of being the much-needed intermediary between the creative filmmaking team and the advocacy networks that can use the work to open up dialogue and set the stage for inspired action… In this model, the filmmaker and community collaborators assume a stance of equality while undertaking the project, seeing a creative arc from production to presentation and distribution to ways that “users” can shape it into their worlds.

She urges filmmakers to not be overwhelmed by the possibilities, and instead embrace them and your audience cohorts. Read the entire piece A Mosaic of Practices: Public Media and Participatory Culture.

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