Investigating Documentary’s Social Influence and Impact in the Participatory Media Age

Beyond the Impact Report: What’s Really Needed to Produce and Sustain Social Impact in Documentary Film?

Executive Summary and Key Findings

The Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI), based at American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C., is a creative innovation lab and research center that creates, studies, and showcases media for equity, social change, and social justice. Focusing on independent, documentary, and entertainment media, the Center bridges boundaries between scholars, producers and communication practitioners across media  industries, social justice, public policy, and public engagement. The Center produces resources for the field and academic research; creates original  media; convenes conferences and events; and works collaboratively to understand and design media that matter.
Documentary Power research institute
The Documentary Research Power Institute is a multi-disciplinary Institute that grapples with the field’s most urgent challenges and works to expand access to timely learnings, needs and tools of documentary-centered research in order to serve academic and practitioner communities interested in the role that documentaries can play in community building and fields of social impact, justice and change. The Institute also spotlights the legacies and present-day work of impact producers, activists, filmmakers, and organizations who are committed to leveraging documentaries for social impact. Seed funding was provided by the Perspective Fund.