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Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X



Documentary film has long been a tool used by progressive political and social movements to raise awareness of social issues and to advocate for action to create change. This is especially true for documentarians working within the environmental movement. However, film-makers often fail to take into account the role economics plays in their ability to have their film seen by the public, and how certain portrayals within the film may undermine its ability to effect social change. Analyses of An Inconvenient Truth (Guggenheim, 2006), The Cove (Psihoyos, 2009) and Journey to the End of Coal (Bollendorf and Segretin 2008) show how traditional modes of documentary distribution fail to reach the desired audience, while exploring non-traditional distribution models and outlets may be more effective in using film to spur social activism. Film-makers need to re-envision their relationship with the audience to create work with more impact and to use audience involvement to garner a larger viewership.


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