Giving Compass' Take:
- Vincent Stehle discusses how philanthropists can fund documentary filmmaking to spur social change towards racial equity.
- How can documentaries capture real life experiences of inequity and ignite the flames of social change?
- Read about documentary films for social change.
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Across America, there is a battle being fought in state houses and school boards over the future of our society, and whether we will continue to build on progress to be a diverse and inclusive nation or if we will allow ourselves to revert to being a society that discriminates on the base of race and sexual orientation. Foundations can and should do more to advance the case for policies that counter our deep history of racial injustice and defend the human rights of all people.
One of the most effective ways for funders to support a critical examination of America’s dark history of racial inequality and the slow march toward equity for all classes of excluded people is by supporting documentary films, especially now that so many films are reaching millions of homes on an increasing array of digital streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime.
A great example of this is the new film, “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” a Sony Classics film currently on view at Netflix and other digital platforms.
“Who We Are” is a film about former criminal defense attorney Jeffery Robinson’s lifelong crusade for racial justice, beginning as a child marching on behalf of sanitation workers in his hometown of Memphis – the events that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the place where he was assassinated. In the film, Robinson blends personal reflections with historical analysis of the sweeping history of 400 years of anti-Black racism rooted in America’s history of slavery. And he shows how discriminatory practices and state-sanctioned brutality have continued long past emancipation. Going beyond the film, Robinson has established the Who We Are Project, a nonprofit organization supported by the Far Star Action Fund, among others, which is designed to continue public education efforts across all platforms, within educational institutions and where that is not legally possible in public forums and through community outreach efforts.
Read the full article about funding documentaries by Vincent Stehle at Media Impact Funders.