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Case Studies

Social Justice Documentary: Designing For Impact

Designing For ImpactThe transition from 1.0 to 2.0 opens opportunities for documentarians to fulfill and expand their missions—not only informing individuals and leading public conversation but also building community cohesion and participation. This working paper aims to synthesize current efforts to develop comparable evaluation methods for social issue documentary films. Authored by two researchers who have been jointly documenting the field’s transformation over the past five years, this paper offers a framework for planning and evaluating the impact of these films in a networked media environment.


A Teacher's Guide to Use of Personal Essay Films

Image courtesy of Bollywood.com.Personal essay films have been widely diffused to teachers and community organizations, because they so powerfully evoke responses from and make connections for audiences. They are also favorites of film scholars, who use them to demonstrate with all the drama of the personal voice, the formal structures in filmmaking.


Collaboration in Action: Strategies for Developing and Distributing Multiplatform Documentaries

Our 21/2-year multi-media project, Saving The Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action, is now over. The digital files are all tucked into a nice big hard drive and we've recycled all but the most important papers. But before we head off our next adventure in independent, social issue media making, we'd like to share a few lessons learned along the way that any producer could use in planning a national multiplatform documentary special.


The War Tapes Puts a Face on War

This case study by CSM Research Fellow Katja Wittke explores the origins, structure, outreach strategies and impact of The War Tapes, a documentary film about the Iraq conflict that incorporated footage shot by soldiers on the front line.


A Lion in the House: A Content-Centered Outreach Strategy for Public Broadcasting

This case study by Center Research Fellow Barbara Abrash explores the origins and trajectory of A Lion in the House