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[ mediums for activism ]

Film

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"Movies can be powerful. They let us live someone else's life for 2 hours. They can help us understand the world from another's viewpoint. They can show us things we would never see in our own lifetimes. When a movie comes out that addresses the issues you care about, use the opportunity to galvanize others and harness the power of film to change hearts and minds"
(DiBattista, 2006; 86)

Rabbit Proof Fence

Baraka

To Kill a Mockingbird

Fern Gully

The Dark Crystal

Bowling for Columbine

Favella Rising

Whale Rider

When films are being made about social, cultural, ecological, moral justice, often they are not being made to be a fluffy or doom-and-gloom storyteller but to move and motivate people as well as prompt discussion. They are often trying to create a shift in personal-global consciousness. Whether it be Rabbit Proof Fence, Bowling For Columbine, Baraka, Born Into Brothels, An Inconvenient Truth, I say with confidence that the filmmakers have made those films/documentaries in the hope of positive change through the story they share.

"The act of representing is an act of affirmation and a kind of bringing into being"
(Sembene in Dahlberg, 2002: online)

Is film really effective in advocating for social change or creating it?

I think the answers range from yes to no. This kind of medium often isn't trying to sell us anything other than a voice in the debate about that particular issue and our concern for the future of the planet. It is often created for the purpose of getting us off the couch, pull us out of our 'sedated society' and into the political process by campaigning for a better world. Is it working? I can honestly say some films have had that impact on me. Others haven't had the full blown effect because I may not have the time at that particular point to do something about it. Other times, I feel that there could be a better medium used to tackles the issue.

An Inconvenient Truth

I recently saw 'An Inconvenient Truth' by Al Gore and it achieved just this. An Inconvenient Truth not only provided strong grounds for why there needs to be changes but clear and specific ways this can be done. The film has really prompted me to re-visit my actions and where I can make changes to my lifestyle to help pull the reins on global warming. Furthermore, personally being responsible in educating others about this issue whether it be in my school environment, friendship group or family.