Story Movements: How Documentaries Empower People and Inspire Social Change (Paperback)
Only a few years after the 2013 Sundance Film Festival premiere of Blackfish - an independent documentary film that critiqued the treatment of orcas in captivity - visits to SeaWorld declined, major corporate sponsors pulled their support, and performing acts canceled appearances. The steady drumbeat of public criticism, negative media coverage, and unrelenting activism became known as the "Blackfish Effect." In 2016, SeaWorld announced a stunning corporate policy change - the end of its profitable orca shows. In an evolving networked era, social-issue documentaries like Blackfish are art for civic imagination and social critique. Today's documentaries interrogate topics like sexual assault in the U.S. military (The Invisible War), racial injustice (13th), government surveillance (Citizenfour), and more. Artistic nonfiction films are changing public conversations, influencing media agendas, mobilizing communities, and capturing the attention of policymakers - accessed by expanding audiences in a transforming media marketplace. In Story Movements: How Documentaries Empower People and Inspire Social Change, producer and scholar Caty Borum Chattoo explores how documentaries disrupt dominant cultural narratives through complex, creative, often investigative storytelling. Featuring original interviews with award-winning documentary filmmakers and field leaders, the book reveals the influence and motivations behind the vibrant, eye-opening stories of the contemporary documentary age.
Caty Borum Chattoo is Executive Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact and Assistant Professor at the American University School of Communication. She is an award-winning documentary producer, scholar, professor, and strategist working at the intersection of social change communication, documentary, and entertainment storytelling. She is also the co-author, with Lauren Feldman, of A Comedian and An Activist Walk Into a Bar: The Serious Role of Comedy in Social Justice.