DOC Releases New Study on Documentary Impact

The Ghosts in Our Machine
(Liz Marshall, 2012)

The Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) published a new report yesterday that outlined viable strategies and success stories for documentary impact. The new study ‘Charting a Course for Impact Producing in Canada: Trends, Best Practices and Future Directions’ follows a recent report from DOC on the relationship between philanthropy and documentary, which POV explored in its 100th issue. This new report, prepared by Maria De Rosa and Marilyn Burgess, is based on extensive industry research, interviews with nearly 40 members of the documentary community, case studies from docs such as The Ghosts in Our Machine, Sharkwater, Driving with Selvi and The Pass System, and the a look at efforts of festivals such as Hot Docs and Reel World in assisting with documentary impact.

The nature and scope of ‘impact’ and measurement were not easy subjects to tackle, but the report’s conclusion yields some good advice for the doc community:

The recommendations made in this report are in the long run aimed at assisting the documentary sector in its efforts to build bridges and create stronger ties with the philanthropic sector, a potential source of funding that is still largely untapped by Canadian documentary producers. Reaching out to philanthropists and their organizations is a promising avenue worthy of effort due to the considerable resources held by philanthropic funders. It has the potential to partially fill the gap in funding experienced by documentary producers, with benefits extending to the Canadian public as a whole.

Impact measurement remains at the heart of building the case for investing in documentaries and their impact campaigns. The stronger the case that can be made to the philanthropic sector of the ability of documentaries to effect social change, the greater the support that can be leveraged. This would create exciting possibilities to reach and engage more Canadians with Canadian documentaries and extend the reach of Canadian documentaries internationally

Read the full report here.