Documentary filmmaker Catherine Gund is devoted to “moving you beyond empathy” via the vehicle of Aubin Pictures, the nonprofit film company she set up in 1996. “Films are the ultimate empathy machine, as Roger Ebert said. My goal is to get viewers to that place of empathy and then give them impetus to move from there to action.”

Aubin Pictures’ newest full-length release, Aggie, is designed to work on both these levels. The film, which premiered at Sundance and was released in theaters nationwide this past week, introduces viewers to the philanthropic efforts Agnes “Aggie” Gund (Catherine’s mother): We’re there with Aggie as she creates Studio in a School in 1977, the era when NYC budget cuts did away with art education systemwide, and we follow along with the program’s success in bringing art and artists to public school children for all the decades since.

One of Aubin Pictures’ strengths is the makeup and close involvement of its board. “I would recommend to anyone starting a nonprofit that you create your board very intentionally–courting a set of board members who share your vision and your commitment and are willing to work as co-creators when it comes to bringing that vision to light. If you get this part right, you won’t end up with only hands-off investors; you’ll find yourself supported by people who are like-minded and want to see your projects exist in the world.”

Considering Catherine Gund’s avowed commitment to the nonprofit approach, I had one last question for her. What would happen if Aubin Pictures, perhaps unwittingly, made the next documentary blockbuster? “Obviously, Micah, we’d reinvest the earnings, like all other Aubin funds, into moving people to action.”  Like mother, like daughter, it would seem.

Read the full article about the documentary filmmaker by Micah Solomon at Forbes.