The Cinema of Change Ecosystem

A comprehensive collection of the major players in the Social Impact Entertainment space: Film Studios, Non-Profits, University Programs, Research Facilities and Funding Organizations that concentrate on the Social Impact of Entertainment.


Cinema of Change Ecosystem – Overview

Research Institutions (7)

  • Harmony Institute
  • USC Media Institute for Social Change
  • Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
  • Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image
  • The Norman Lear Center
  • Center for Media & Social Impact
  • Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment

For-Profit Companies (14)

  • Participant Media
  • Vulcan Productions
  • Condition One VR
  • Atlas Films
  • GOOD Media & GOOD Studio
  • Upworthy
  • Carol Cone ON PURPOSE
  • Truc De Ouf Productions
  • Entertain Impact
  • Windy Films
  • Quiet Little Place
  • UpToGood
  • SoulPancake
  • A Hundred Years

Impact Producers (4)

  • Active Voice
  • Working Films
  • film.sprout
  • borderline

Non-Profit Organizations (27)

Grant Programs (8)

  • Media Impact Funders
  • Fledgling Fund
  • impact partners
  • WIFF Finishing Fund
  • IDA Grant
  • Ford Foundation
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Bertha Foundation

Educational Programs (4)

  • Media for Social Justice (Woodbury)
  • Exceptional Minds School
  • CampReel Stories
  • Momenta Workshop

Information Resources (2)

  • StoryPilot
  • Impact Field Guide

Film Festivals (4)

  • Chicago intl. Social Change FF
  • Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA)
  • iimagine Film Festival
  • Rated SR – Socially Relevant Film Festival


Cinema of Change is a magazine and movement among filmmakers that explores the social impact of entertainment.
Over the last years, we assembled a comprehensive, agnostic collection of the major players in the social impact media space. Descriptions are mostly extracted directly from the organizations’ websites.

If there is an organization that isn’t yet on this list but belongs there, please contact us.

Research Institutions

  • Harmony Institute
    New York City, USA

    Resource: The Impact Playbook
    Media changes minds. But despite massive investment to win hearts and minds, no one fully understands how this happens.
    The Harmony Institute conducts research to understand how media works. We use scientifically-grounded research methods to track how ideas expressed through media affect individuals and society. We examine a wide range of media, from television and radio to social media and virtual reality. We use quantitative and qualitative methods and draw on a range of disciplines, including cognitive science, social psychology, digital humanities, neuroscience, and computer science.

  • USC Media Institute for Social Change
    Los Angeles, USA

    Entertainment media has a profound impact on individual knowledge, behavior and society in general. The USC Media Institute for Social Change (USC-MISC) is a nonprofit organization made up of industry professionals who create entertainment media with impactful messages.

  • Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

    Marina Del Rey, USA

    Resource: Research Findings
    Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under. The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years. Our biennial symposium is the only event convening over 300 decision makers, content creators, and thought leaders to share best practices and create a blueprint towards establishing a gender-balanced media landscape.  The Institute’s community educational outreach aims to inspire and sensitize the next generation of content creators to focus on gender equality and reducing stereotyping in children’s media.

  • The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image
    Arkansas, USA

    The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI) fosters interdisciplinary research within the areas of moving image history, theory, and aesthetics; cognitive science; and the philosophy of mind and art. The Society supports dialogue in all directions, so that every represented discipline may learn from the others. Through exchange, debate, and collaboration among moving image theorists, historians, analysts, philosophers, scientists, and artists, SCSMI promotes research into moving image media and the ways in which such media reflect, shape, and are shaped by the human mind.

  • The Norman Lear Center – USC Annenberg
    Los Angeles, USA
    Resource: Manifesto (PDF)
    The Norman Lear Center is a nonpartisan research and public policy center that studies the social, political, economic and cultural impact of entertainment on the world.
    On the University of Southern California campus, the Lear Center builds bridges between eleven schools whose faculty study aspects of entertainment, media and culture. Beyond campus, it bridges the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. Through scholarship and research; through its programs of visiting fellows, conferences, public events and publications; and in its attempts to illuminate and repair the world, the Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and praxis in the field.

  • Center for Media & Social Impact – American University
    Washington DC, USA
    The CMSI at American University is an innovation incubator and research center that creates, studies, and showcases media for social impact. Focusing on independent, documentary and public media, the Center bridges boundaries between scholars, producers and communication practitioners across media production, media impact, public policy, and audience engagement. The Center produces resources for the field and academic research; convenes conferences and events; and works collaboratively to understand and design media that matters.

  • Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment – UCLA
    Los Angeles, USA
    The work of the Skoll Center for SIE is organized around three pillars: Research on a global scale that provides a structure to measure the influence of social impact storytelling. Education and special initiatives that will not only enhance and compliment the educational experience by exploring innovative approaches to curricular development for the emerging field of social impact entertainment, but also provide students and faculty with workshops, lectures, distinguished visiting artists programs and unique opportunities to focus their scholarly and creative work in this arena. Public programming and exhibition to ignite and engage the public in meaningful debate around society’s most pressing problems and the important role entertainment and performing arts plays in this conversation.

For-Profit Companies

  • Participant Media
    Los Angeles, USA
    Participant Media is a leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for viewers to get involved. Participant’s more than 75 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc., and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 50 Academy Award® nominations and 11 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight. Participant has also launched more than a dozen original series, including “Please Like Me,” Emmy® Award-winning “Hit Record On TV with Joseph Gordon-Levitt,” and “Fortitude,” for its television network, Pivot. Participant’s digital hub, TakePart, serves millions of socially conscious consumers each month with daily articles, videos and opportunities to take action.

  • Vulcan Productions
    Seattle, USA 
    We create great stories, but inspiring change with lasting impact is what sets us apart. Through our films, television programs, and engaging digital series we introduce audiences to the most critical issues of our time. From climate change and wildlife, to global health, science and technology, current issues and entertainment — we have one goal: to create compelling stories that spark thought and ignite action. Founded by Paul G. Allen, Vulcan Productions is committed to becoming the world leader in impact storytelling. We shepherd ideas from development to production and campaigns that resonate long after the final frame leaves the screen. Our award-winning projects include We the Economy, Racing Extinction, This Emotional Life, Girl Rising, Body Team 12, The Blues and Far from Heaven.

  • Condition One VRc1_vr_condition-one-logo
    Utah, USA
    Resource: Company Portrait on Cinema of Change
    Danfung Dennis, Founder and CEO of Condition One, worked as a war photographer for many years in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Inspired by the idea that even a single image can shake people from indifference, Danfung wanted to deliver even more powerful experiences. With an ethical approach, Danfung launched Condition One to develop advanced VR technology. He believes VR has the power to take you ‘there’ and give audiences a first-hand experience of the world’s suffering and injustice as well as the triumph and the beauty.

  • Atlas Filmsatlas-films-logo
    Los Angeles, USA
    Resource: In-Depth Review “Under the Gun” on Cinema of Change
    Atlas Films is a production company located in Southern California. Founders Michael and Michelle Walrath and Stephanie Soechtig started Atlas Film in 2008 with the goal of creating films that educate, entertain & inspire change. Atlas has produced award-winning films like Under the Gun, Fed Up, Tapped, and The Last Animals.

  • GOOD Media & GOOD Studio

    Los Angeles, USA
    GOOD is a global media brand and social impact company. Our collective mission is to help people and organizations be forces for good. Through award-winning media and creative partnerships, we connect deeply and authentically with this generation’s desire for purpose. GOOD Media helps readers understand their world, inspiring them to make it better. We help organizations engage GOOD’s audience via our multi-platform media that reaches millions of people across, a quarterly print magazine, and social channels. GOOD Studio helps brands create amazing stories through purpose-driven content and experiences. As an in-house creative studio, we develop ideas and grow them from initial concept, through collaborative development, and into artfully crafted media and experiences that resonate with people in impactful ways.

  • UpWorthy

    New York, USA
    Lots of media companies have a mission. But Upworthy is on a mission to change what the world pays attention to. We believe that stories about important issues can and should be great stories — stories for everyone, stories that connect us and sometimes even change the world. The Internet was supposed to open doors to new ideas. But too often it’s the opposite. The internet often narrows our world instead of broadening it. But sometimes a story opens a door to a new and better world. It might make you feel surprised, happy, inspired, motivated, even sad. But it’s those stories that give us what we’re missing. They connect us with each other. They are rocket fuel for empathy. They change our hearts, our minds and sometimes even, the world. Upworthy tells those stories, and helps them break through. Stories that are worth your time – and that make the world a better place.

  • Carol Cone ON PURPOSE  / The Purpose Collaborative

    New York, USA
    Our mission is to inspire, create, curate, disrupt, and ultimately develop a world of good. We build custom solutions for organizations/brands in strategy, innovation, research, social engagement, partnerships, sustainability, marketing, and measurement. We deliver it all through our handpicked expert network called The Purpose Collaborative, which includes top boutiques, agencies, creative consultants, millennial gurus, and technologists who bring compelling and thought-provoking purpose solutions to every challenge. Key to CCOP is our Idea Accelerator, curated breakthrough ideas to amplify a client’s social commitment.

  • Truc De Ouf Productions

    Los Angeles, USA
    We are a full-service virtual reality creative studio specializing in short-form, high-end, cinematic VR content with high viral potential, a sophisticated taste level & elevated subject sensitivity.  TDO’s virtual reality experiences are formulated to inspire unprecedented levels of empathy & incite viewers into immediate action.  For fundraising, awareness campaigns, or general rebel rousing, our carefully-crafted, tailor-made narratives convey your message & mobilize viewers to act.  We also connect you with online & offline distribution channels for the widest (or most targeted) audience. Our roster of partners will help get your VR project publicized, seen & shared.  If storytelling is a critical component of your mission….VR is a medium that can’t be ignored. TDO Productions is the VR studio for & proud member of The Purpose Collaborative

  • Entertain Impact

    New York, USA
    Entertain Impact is a cause entertainment agency that mobilizes the power of entertainment for positive social change. We partner with nonprofits, foundations, celebrities and purpose-driven enterprises. As a trusted partner, Entertain Impact has created, executed, and/or collaborated on strategy, marketing, communications, fundraising, cause marketing, advocacy and capacity building on a broad range of national and international campaigns. Creatively we range across all platforms including music, movies, TV, online, books, theater, digital and sport. We also work with entertainment companies such as film studios and non-profits to create innovative comarketing social impact campaigns to benefit both. The result is increased awareness, support and revenues that drive our partners projects, programs and campaigns creating impact.

  • Windy Films

    Boston, USA
    We tell stories of social impact through film. Our clients and collaborators aim to influence the world, or a piece of it, for the better. They are feeding the homeless, empowering local veterans, curing cancer, eliminating malaria, protecting fish habitats and shutting down coal power plants. Our first full-length documentary is now on PBS. Our headquarters is Studio 16, a newly renovated sound stage in a century old firehouse in the Boston Shipyard. Next time you’re in town, we’d love to give you a tour.

  • Quiet Little Place

    Orange, USA
    Changing the world starts with a story. A good story, well told, can change lives, change laws and can change the world. Whether it is a documentary, online initiative, or community outreach campaign – Quiet Little Place is a production company that is passionate about telling compelling and socially conscious stories that motivate action on the issues that shape our lives. How do you build buzz, create community and build a strategic campaign for your film? How do you make sure that your film is branded to be able to speak for itself? If you are finding yourself having a hard time seeing beyond picture lock, take a look at our team’s strategic approach. The key is the objective, not the technology.

    Los Angeles, USA
    UPTOGOOD is a video and storytelling platform for doing GOOD that addresses this very moment. We believe the power of storytelling to make the world a better place becomes even more powerful when paired with calls to action right at the point of inspiration. Right when hearts are tugged.
    At UPTOGOOD, anyone can create an impact campaign around an inspiring video to raise funds, start a petition, rally people around a pledge, or spread the word with a choice of four actions: FUNDit, SIGNit, PROMISEit, SHAREit. This video can be a feature length documentary, a short selfie video taken with a phone, or anything in between. UPTOGOOD is a place where anyone can harness the power of storytelling to gain tangible support for the GOOD they’d like to see in the world.

  • SoulPancake
    Los Angeles, USA
    SoulPancake is a digital entertainment media company with the mission to create meaningful content that appeals to the do-ers and dreamers, artists and activists, entrepreneurs and innovators. Our content is unapologetically authentic because we know the importance of stamping out prejudices, shaking up stigmas, and tackling the truth. Our team DNA boasts talent, determination, and hustle. Our culture is a collision of joy, creativity and gusto. Our content asks the questions that usually don’t have singular answers, but rather aims to connect and build empathy. We believe media has the power to positively change the world and that is our sweet spot.

  • A Hundred Years
    Los Angeles, USA
    A Hundred Years is a design studio rooted in a culture of optimism and a collective drive toward positive impact, starting within our own four walls: Originally an agency in the business of designing campaigns for large companies, we realized we were either solving the wrong problems or solving the right ones for the wrong reasons. So we changed. And we’re all better for it. Today, we thrive working across public, private, and philanthropic sectors. We take on a diverse mix of projects and partnerships, and in the past few years alone, have helped to dream up the future of education, created an online platform to support female entrepreneurs, and joined a nationwide effort to build a community-driven culture of health.
    We believe: The long view is better than the short view for your brand and bottom line; Profit and purpose can and should work in harmony; Solving complex challenges starts with asking the right questions.

Impact Producers

  • ActiveVoice
    San Francisco, USA
    Resource: Beyond the Choir (PDF)
    Active Voice is a team of communications experts who specialize in working with powerful films to advance movements for social change. We work with filmmakers to ensure that their films can be embedded within a movement through practical and sustained channels, and we work with nonprofits, foundations, and public agencies to enhance their communications using story in innovative ways. With all of our partners, it’s about engaging audiences meaningfully. One of the first organizations of its kind, Active Voice brings a genuine understanding of the value of storytelling to move the meter on some of the most difficult-to-tackle issues of our time. A spin-off from the PBS series POV, since 2001 Active Voice has influenced local, regional, and national dialogue on issues including immigration, criminal justice, healthcare, and education.

  • Working Films
    North Carolina, USA
    Recognizing the power of stories to inspire and transform, Working Films builds partnerships between nonfiction media-makers, nonprofit organizations, educators and advocates to advance social justice and environmental sustainability, and support community-based change. We work with grassroots groups and NGOs to use documentaries to enhance their programs, extend their reach, and move their missions forward. We train and consult filmmakers to strengthen their community engagement. Together with issue leaders, national and state level partner organizations, we are using documentary film and visual art to reach critical audiences and move the dial toward meaningful change and impact.

  • Film Sprout
    New York City, USA
    Film Sprout is a boutique distribution firm that helps social-issue filmmakers create
    robust community and campus screening initiatives for their documentaries.
    We do this work because we love it, but also because we believe in growing the world’s audience for documentary storytelling; serving those who are typically underserved by independent media; supporting independent filmmakers by tapping new revenue sources; and fostering citizen engagement, civic dialogue and social equity.
    Our approach to distribution is firmly rooted in the concept of the double bottom line: the idea that in addition to generating an economic return on investment for our clients, that we also seek to deliver positive social impact through our work.

  • Impact Producers Group – Borderline Media
    New York City, USA
    The Impact Producers Group is an international network of independent service providers who design and implement social impact strategies with film, technology and other media. It is a field-building group that provides members with resources and professional development whether they are entry-level or experts in the field. Interested in getting involved? Our producers come to this work from many different disciplines; we’re activists, filmmakers, developers, educators, audio producers, writers, publicists, lawyers, sociologists, historians, media strategists, theater producers and cultural organizers.

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Creative Visions
    Malibu, USA

    Through our programs, we inspire and empower creative activism worldwide. We produce media that inspires solutions to global challenges. We have established a strong network of artists and media makers who are telling stories that need to be told about problems that need to be solved. We teach youth to use media and their voices to become change makers in their communities and the world.

  • Students of the World
    San Francisco, USA
    Resource: Podcast Interview on Cinema of Change
    Students of the World is a 501c3 non-profit that supports a diverse community of storytellers to use their creativity as a force for good. Filmmakers, designers, photographers, journalists and creators of all kinds join Students of the World to find opportunities to tell stories that have an impact. We connect our community with avenues to tell stories that matter, and to be part of something that will shape their future and our world for the better.

  • BritDOC
    London, UK
    We are a non-profit founded in 2005 committed to enabling great documentary films and connecting them to audiences globally. Based in London and New York we work with filmmakers and partners all over the world. We befriend great filmmakers, support great films, broker new partnerships, build new business models, share knowledge and develop audiences globally. We aim to lead by example – innovate, share and be copied, and innovate again.

  • Women In Film
    Los Angeles, CA
    Women In Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media. Given that women comprise 50 percent of the population, WIF’s ultimate goal is to see the same gender parity reflected on and off screen. Founded in 1973, WIF focuses on advocacy and education— provides scholarships, grants, and film finishing funds—and works to preserve the legacies of all women working in the entertainment community. Our educational programming includes a Speaker Series,  the WIF Film Finishing Fund (FFF), a highly-respected grant program that has awarded millions in cash and in-kind services to over two hundred films from countries all over the globe; the WIF Scholarship Program; the WIF Mentoring Program  and the WIF PSA Production Program.

  • WorldTrust
    Oakland, USA
    World Trust Educational Services is a non-profit social justice organization that provides deep learning, tools and resources for people interested in tackling unconscious bias and systemic racial inequity in their workplace, community and in their lives. Since 1998, we’ve produced equity and diversity filmscurriculum and workshops that deepen the conversation about race. Our mission is to provide transformative educational experiences that deconstruct the system of racial inequity for learners, allowing new ideas and narratives on race to emerge. We focus on creating environments that promote justice and healing while fostering an emerging culture of respect and belonging.

  • A Mighty Girl

    Washington DC, USA
    A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls and, of course, for girls themselves! After years of seeking out empowering and inspirational books for our four young nieces, we decided to create A Mighty Girl as a resource site to help others equally interested in supporting and celebrating girls. The site was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books, play with toys, listen to music, and watch movies that offer positive messages about girls and honor their diverse capabilities. Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure. It is our hope that these high-quality children’s products will help a new generation of girls to grow and pursue whatever dreams they choose — to truly be Mighty Girls!

  • The MY HERO Project
    Laguna Beach, USA
    The mission of MY HERO is to use media and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower people of all ages to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world. Through an ever growing digital library and multimedia journal, MY HERO gives people of all ages the tools to create and share expressions of heroism with a global learning community that promotes peace, tolerance, and ecological responsibility.
    The primary objectives of The MY HERO Project are to: increase participants technological and communication skills; provide resources for collaborative learning and research; encourage community engagement and activism; bridge political and religious divides to foster cross-cultural awareness; and improve the outreach capacity of individual heroes, artists and nonprofit organizations.

  • The Communication Initiative Network

    Victoria, Canada
    The Communication Initiative Partnership, a network of 90,000 people using media and communication strategies to address priority local, national and international Development issues. That network has shared 36,000 knowledge summaries (link is for English only) and engaged in review, dialogue and debate for the purpose of advancing the scale, quality and impact of their work. The CI focus is across all Development issues, from Democracy and Governance to HIV/AIDS; the full spectrum of communication strategies, from entertainment-education to community engagement; and the range of media, from digital to local cultural forms. The CI has also been involved in research – most recently an extensive (3,500 interviews) look at the social dynamics that condition decision-making on health issues within households in some of the economically poorest communities in Northern Nigeria. The network is founded and run by Warren Feek.

  • Feminist Frequency

    Walnut, USA
    Resource: Tropes VS Women in Video Games
    Feminist Frequency is a not-for-profit educational organization that analyzes modern media’s relationship to societal issues such as gender, race, and sexuality. Our videos encourage viewers to critically engage with mass media. We also provide resources for media makers to improve their works of fiction, and we’re producing a new series focused on the lives and accomplishments of trailblazing women in history that’s intended to inspire creators to think beyond the limited, marginalized depictions of women we so often see in historical media. We strongly advocate for the just treatment of all people online and believe that media is an essential tool for eradicating injustice.

  • FireLight Media
    New York City, USA
    Firelight produces award-winning films that expose injustice, illuminate the power of community and tell a history seldom told. Firelight connects these films with concrete and innovative ways for diverse audiences to be inspired, educated, and mobilized into action. We are dedicated to developing talented documentary filmmakers that advance underrepresented stories, moving them from the margins to the forefront of mainstream media through high quality, powerful productions.
    At Firelight we believe media can transform viewers into active citizens. Through film broadcasts, community engagement projects, transmedia and social media campaigns, Firelight is dedicated to independent filmmaking as a vehicle for education and empowerment.

  • IAWRT – International Association of Women in Radio and Television

    Nairobi, Kenya
    Resource: The History of IAWRT
    IAWRT is a global organization formed by professional women working in electronic and allied media with a mission to strengthen initiatives towards ensuring women’s views and values are integral part of programming and to advance the impact of women in media. IAWRT collaborates with media organizations, organizes conferences, implements projects and undertakes activities. It is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). IAWRT is managed by international board, which approves growing number of local chapters and members.

  • EngageMedia
    Melbourne, Australia
    EngageMedia is a non-profit media, technology and culture organisation. EngageMedia uses the power of video, the Internet and open technologies to create social and environmental change. We harness old and new media to assist movements challenge social injustice and environmental damage, as well as to present solutions. EngageMedia works with independent film-makers, journalists, technologists, campaigners and social movements to generate wider audiences for stories of social change, to intervene in the public discourse and to move people to action. We demystify and provide strategies for the effect use of video distribution and engagement technologies; connect video makers and activists to media distributors and audiences; and form peer networks of media-makers, technologists and campaigners.

  • Bechdel Films
    Houston, USA
    Resource: Article on Bechdel @ SXSW2015 by Cinema of Change
    Bechdel Films is a 501[c]3 nonprofit film production company, dedicate to strengthening the image of women in film, through promoting female filmmakers and strong roles for women. According to a landmark global study backed by the United Nations, “Film-makers worldwide are perpetuating gender discrimination by failing to find strong roles for women on the big screen.”

  • Reboot Stories
    Brooklyn, USA
    Reboot Stories harnesses storytelling, technology and design science to form an innovation engine for cross-generational learning and social good. Co-founded by Lance Weiler, Janine Saunders and Atley Loughridge in 2012, Reboot Stories has partnered with the UN, the World Economic Forum, Columbia University, and others to design and run global cross-generational learning platforms. In 2012, Reboot Stories was awarded the prestigious Tribeca New Media Fund award. Mashable recently named Reboot Stories “one of the top five social good / educational startups to watch.” Reboot Stories is a global collective of storytellers, game designers, coders, data scientists, activists, educators and researchers. We produce prototypes that strive to ignite the imaginations of many while turning ideas into action.

  • Population Media Center
    Vermont, USA
    Resource: Power of Stories (Video)
    The Population Media Center (PMC) creates serialized dramas, also called soap operas, on radio and television in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change, and the impact of PMC’s dramas are dramatic. PMC is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world addressing a variety of issues. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience in behavior change communications with projects around the world.

  • UNESCO GAMAG – Global Alliance on Media and Gender
    Geneva, Switzerland
    The Global Alliance for Media and Gender (GAMAG) is a global movement to promote gender equality in and through media. GAMAG’s objectives are:
    To pursue gender equality in media systems, structures and content by strengthening international, regional and national cooperation in which all stakeholders work together to drive change globally; To follow-up, build on and systematically monitor implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: ‘Women and the Media Diagnosis’, and its strategic objectives; and To develop and sustain gender and media priorities within a broad donor, government and development agency funding framework. UNESCO and partners call for all organizations working in the field of media, journalism, communication and gender and media to join the Global Alliance on Gender and Media.

  • Heroic Imagination Project
    San Francisco, USA
    Resource: Podcast Interview with Founder Philip Zimbardo
    Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the Heroic Imagination Project was founded by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. At HIP, we translate the extensive research findings of social psychology and related fields into meaningful insights and tools that individuals can use in their everyday lives to transform negative situations and create positive change.

  • video4change
    Yogyakarta, Indonesia
    Resource: V4C Cookbook
    Video for Change is the use of video to support social movements, document human rights violations, raise awareness on social issues, and influence social change. Video for Change is fast becoming an key element of campaigns and social movements. The video4change network is a group of organisations using video to affect social change. The network is membership based and was founded at an event in June 2012 in Indonesia.

  • True Spark
    New York City, USA
    Resource: Classroom Movie Guide to “Up” (PDF)
    TrueSpark is a nonprofit whose mission is to expose, immerse, and engage America’s youth on issues of character through watching inspiring films and participating in dynamic educational conversations and activities. TrueSpark is a 501c3. TrueSpark does not promote political viewpoints, environmental platforms, or religious beliefs.

  • Cinema of Change
    Los Angeles, CA
    Resource: Mission Statement
    Cinema of Change is a magazine and a movement that explores the social impact of entertainment. Our mission is to concentrate the presently scattered pioneering perspectives so that more filmmakers can be inspired to rethink their work – and galvanize a movement. Our vision is that the filmmaking profession should be redefined as one of a public servant. Filmmakers that primarily create media for the greater good of mankind, while still working within the paradigms of storytelling, capitalism and art. These films are designed to aid progress and change society – creating a movement in the film industry that produces for a Cinema of Change.

  • Apertus° Open Source Cinemaapertus-axiom-open-source-cinema_logo
    Vienna, Austria
    Resource: Company Portrait on Cinema of Change
    The goal of the award winning apertus° project is to create free and open technology for todays professional cinema and film production landscape and make all the generated knowledge freely available. It all started with creating an open modular camera system consisting of several hardware and software parts using Elphel hardware. Now with the efforts to build the very first open digital cinema camera AXIOM from scratch the apertus° project has evolved to the next level: into a platform for film-makers, creative industry professionals, artists and enthusiasts. apertus° is more than just a software/hardware collection, it’s a knowledge library, an ecosystem of people supporting each other and advocating freedom.

  • Bitch Media: Screen
    Portland, USA
    Bitch Media is a nonprofit, independent, feminist media organization dedicated to providing and encouraging an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture. We are best known for publishing the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, which started as a zine distributed out of the back of a station wagon in 1996. Today, in addition to the quarterly magazine, we publish daily online articles, and weekly podcasts. We house a community lending library at our HQ in Portland, Oregon, and work with students and educators through our Bitch on Campus program.

  • TakePart

    Los Angeles, USA
    TakePart is a digital news and lifestyle magazine featuring independent journalism on today’s most important, socially relevant topics, alongside a social action platform. Our goal is simple: to take you beyond the breaking news ticker and help you discover how the world’s most pressing issues touch your life. We tell stories and offer you the chance to get involved through Participant Media’s Social Action Network. TakePart coverage focuses on topics that spark passion, empathy, conflict, and conversation, and we want the hub of those conversations to exist here. We’ll tell you what’s happening and help you understand why it matters. We’ll tell you what might come next and why. We aim to offer the most interesting stories, opinions, videos, and photos every day—a robust dialogue driven by the world’s foremost journalists, academics, and thought leaders.  When that dialogue stops, the action begins. Participant’s Social Action Network (SAN) is a group of more than 150 nongovernmental organizations that offer the opportunity to join their causes through the Take Action Platform embedded within all of our content.

  • The Representation Project

    San Francisco, USA
    Using film as a catalyst for cultural transformation, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential.  Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s first film Miss Representation premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and exposed the ways in which mainstream media and culture contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. In response to overwhelming public demand for ongoing education and social action in support of the film’s message, Newsom founded the organization that has become The Representation Project in April 2011. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to create a world free of limiting stereotypes and social injustices.

  • Films for Action

    Kansas, USA
    Films For Action is a community-powered learning library for people who want to change the world.
    Film offers us a powerful tool to raise awareness of important issues not covered by the mainstream news. Our goal is to provide citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society. Our website has cataloged over 3000 of the best films and videos that can be watched free online, sorted into 40 subjects related to changing the world. At the local level, our city chapters are working to create alternative media channels that will inform, connect, and inspire action at a community level.

  • Brave New Films

    Culver City, USA
    Our mission is to champion social justice issues by using a model of media, education, and grassroots volunteer involvement that inspires, empowers, motivates and teaches civic participation and makes a difference. Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films are creating a better America, and we want you to join us. Using media, films, volunteers and internet video campaigns, Brave New Films has created a quick-strike capability that informs the public, challenges mainstream media with the truth, and motivates people to take action on social issues nationwide. From exposing the private prison crisis to helping middle class and poor workers to understanding where your tax dollars are going, our groundbreaking social media campaigns have revolutionized activism. We are reaching millions through YouTube, bloggers, networking sites, and strategic partnerships — and we’re getting results.

  • PBS Frontline
    Boston, USA

    FRONTLINE is investigative journalism that questions, explains and changes our world.
    We tell the stories others can’t or won’t — from the rise of the NSA’s domestic surveillance dragnet, to the hidden history of the NFL and concussions, to the secret reality of rape on the job for immigrant women. Our investigations have helped breathe new life into terrorism cold cases, freed innocent people from jail, prompted U.N. resolutions, and spurred both policy and social change.
    We’ve been American television’s top investigative documentary series since 1983, and we’ve won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 75 Emmy Awards and 17 Peabody Awards. You can watch more than 190 of our documentaries online, for free, any time — and you can find our original digital reporting, interactives and analysis everywhere you are. We answer to no one but you.

Grant Programs

  • Media Impact Funders
    Philadelphia, USA
    Media Impact Funders (formerly Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media) is a network of funders, working broadly on media and technology issues, in order to create social change. We serve the field in three ways: As a learning hub, as a resource for philanthropic partnership and as a convener to advance media and technology efforts within philanthropy.

  • The Fledgling Fund
    New York City, USA

    Our goal is to explore, support, and deepen the role of documentary film and other forms of visual storytelling in larger social change efforts. We do this through grant support focused on outreach and audience engagement, our Engagement Lab, funding partnerships and special initiatives that examine and support emerging trends in the field.

  • Impact Partners

    Brooklyn, USA
    Impact Partners is dedicated to funding independent documentary storytelling that entertains audiences, engages with pressing social issues, and propels the art of cinema forward. We have introduced a unique model of equity investing into the documentary film community – pioneering a system where filmmakers and investors work together to achieve mutually beneficial goals of telling powerful stories, raising awareness about critical issues facing our world today, reaching mass audiences on a global scale, and creating revenue for our films. By bringing together filmmakers and investors who are passionate about their work, Impact Partners has forged a sustainable fund that is committed to supporting documentary filmmakers in particular and the documentary industry at large.

  • Women in Film Finishing Fund
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Women In Film Finishing Fund is a highly respected grant program that has awarded millions in cash and in-kind services to over two hundred films from countries all over the globe. The Fund supports exceptional projects and unique stories by or about women. Fund recipients’ films have won many major awards including Emmy® and Academy Awards® and have screened at festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Toronto, South by Southwest, LA Film Festival, Vancouver, AFI Fest, Tribeca, San Francisco, Montreal, Berlin, Avignon, Dubai, and Chicago. They have also aired nationally on HBO, PBS, OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), Showtime and internationally on European, Asian, and Australian television channels. The Women In Film Finishing Fund gives grants to filmmakers working in both short and long formats, in all genres — narrative, documentary, animated and experimental. To apply for the Finishing Fund, the filmmaker must have completed 90% of principal photography and have a rough cut at the time of application.

  • International Documentary Association Grant
    Los Angeles, USA
    Resource: 100+ More Grants for Documentaries on IDA’s Website
    For almost 30 years, IDA’s fiscal sponsorship program has been helping independent documentary projects of all types get funded, finished and seen. Last year we administered over six million dollars in donations and grants to our sponsored projects. The fiscal sponsorship program is open to independent filmmakers and documentarians, regardless of education, background or previous credits. Whether this is your first film or you’ve been making documentaries as long as we’ve been sponsoring them, if you have an idea and a plan, we can help.

  • Ford Foundation: JustFilms
    New York, USA
    The Ford Foundation seeks to reduce inequality in all of its forms, and artist-driven documentary and emerging media projects are a crucial to this effort. As part of the Creativity and Free Expression program, JustFilms funds social justice storytelling and the 21st century arts infrastructure that supports it. The projects and people we support inspire imaginations, disrupt stereotypes, and help transform the conditions that perpetuate injustice and inequality. We support independent, documentary film, video and emerging media projects that explore timely social justice issues, with a focus on reducing inequality. We also fund organizations, individuals, and networks that raise the quality and extend the impact of these projects.

  • MacArthur Foundation

    Chicago, USA
    The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, includingover-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries.

  • Bertha Foundation

    London, UK
    Towards social justice without compromise: The Bertha Foundation fights for a more just world. We support activists, storytellers and lawyers that are working to bring about social and economic justice, and human rights for all. We envision a society in which activists build collective power, stories come from many different voices, and law is used as a tool for justice. When activists, storytellers and lawyers work together on an issue, big change can happen. While powerful on their own, we have learned that – if given the resources to connect and collaborate – their combined power is much greater than the sum of its parts. We create and respond to opportunities for our network to work together and exchange strategies to amplify.

Educational Programs

  • MA in Media for Social Justice – Woodbury University
    Los Angeles, CA
    The M.A. in Media for Social Justice (MSJ) is a groundbreaking advanced degree program in which students learn how to create and leverage media for social change. Throughout the one-year (+internship) program, students explore their commitment to social justice, develop skills in transmedia production and social entrepreneurship, and work closely with established media makers through our internship program.

  • Exceptional Minds School & Studio
    Los Angeles, CA
    Exceptional Minds (EM) is a nonprofit vocational school and working studio that prepares young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in digital animation and visual effects. The first and only school of its kind, EM is a dynamic answer to the high unemployment and social isolation characteristic of today’s young adults with ASD as they age out of the public school system. We provide customized instruction in visual effects, digital animation and work readiness to prepare this underserved population for lifelong careers. Our full-time, three-year vocational program offers a crucial bridge between high school and meaningful employment by building on the strengths of these individuals. EM also offers private tutoring, small group instruction, and summer workshops for teens with autism interested in exploring careers in the digital arts.

  • CampReel Stories

    Oakland, USA
    Camp Reel Stories believes that when women and girls are better represented behind the scenes in the media, they will be better reflected on the screen. Camp Reel Stories is a non-profit organization that empowers 13-18 year old young women with the skills to create their own media, to view current media critically and thoughtfully, and to aspire to leadership in their field. Camp Reel Stories offers women of all ages an opportunity to learn how to make films and tell their stories. We do this through a combination of workshops and camps for girls and women who want to learn how to make movies in the new digital media era. Camp Reel Stories is the only media program led by professionals in the Media Industry.  Working in small, collaborative groups, this camp gives the campers the opportunity to make and broadcast their own short films. Programs offered include: Camp Reel StoriesWomen’s Filmmaking WorkshopVirtual Reality 101Set Design on a Budget for 12-18 year old girls and the Thanksgiving Break Media Lab.

  • Momenta Workshops

    Washington DC, USA
    Momenta was founded by three passionate media professionals who were all working for top tier photography companies. Their goal: find like-minded photographers around the world and encourage social change with powerful images. Our workshops specialize in helping storytellers expand their skills and harness their passion for social change. We aim to create a network of journalists, nonprofits and media experts from around the world. In a sense, we fill the void current media institutions cannot by getting photographers out into the field to hone their skills, perfect their craft and carry on the mission of journalistic integrity. At the same time, we are building a new media marketplace that will continue to pay dividends to the communications community for some time to come.

Information Resources

  • Storypilot
    New York City, USA

    StoryPilot is a free, online application that helps filmmakers explore metrics around more than 600 documentaries in 16 social issue categories including education, health, and human rights. It is a multi-functional tool created to help media makers better understand the social impact of documentary films. It is also the only online social issue documentary film repository of its kind. It provides free, simple, and easy-to-understand analysis about these films and the social issues they cover. In the current beta version, it compiles extensive impact measures such as social media conversations, box office success, Wikipedia search volume, and policy discussions.

  • The Impact Field Guide
    London, UK
    A set of tools and guides designed to help all of us who are working with film make even greater impact than we do already. These modules are based on everything that team BRITDOC has learned over the years from working with the most brilliant filmmakers and the cleverest organisations in film.

Film Festivals / Awards

  • Chicago International Social Change Film Festival
    Chicago, USA
    The CISCFF is an annual, unique experience filled with:
    Eye-opening world premieres and other inspiring films that highlight untold stories of struggle from all over the world. Post-film discussions with attendees, expert panelists and filmmakers. Informal networking opportunities and brainstorming sessions with business, community and industry leaders. Direct action opportunities brought to you by organizations who fight to address the issues showcased in the films featured.

  • Social Impact Media Awards
    Los Angeles, USA
    The annual SIMA AWARDS honor eye-opening impact cinema that exemplifies excellence in its potential to inspire social change. Each year, films are selected from over 140 countries around the world, competing for awards, cash prizes, industry accolades, media features, distribution opportunities, and entry into SIMA’s signature film programs. Our international Film Programs: SIMAx, SIMA Classroom and SIMA VOD, maximize the impact and exposure of the best films from our annual awards. Through unique partnerships and collaborations with conscious individuals, organizations and educational institutions, we host year-round screening events that cultivate awareness and engagement from the grassroots to the governmental level.

  • iimagine Film Festival
    New York City, USA
    Imagine a world where the definition of success is redefined. Instead of respecting people for making money, we respect them for their positive impact on the world. The I Imagine Film Festival takes place in New York City as an independent event, the same time as the United Nations General Assembly. Our goal is to curate global stories about issues that effect us all, in order to better understand what is to be done.

  • Rated SR – Socially Relevant Film Festival New York
    New York City, USA
    SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York is a film festival that focuses on socially relevant film content, dealing with human interest stories that raise awareness to social problems and might offer positive solutions through the powerful medium of cinema. SRbelieves that through raised awareness, expanded knowledge about diverse cultures, and the human condition as a whole, it is possible to create a better world free of violence, hate and crime.
    The mission of SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York is to shine the spotlight of filmmakers, who tell compelling, socially relevant, human interest narratives across a broad range of social issues without resorting to gratuitous violence and violent forms of movie making

If there is an organization that isn’t yet on this list but belongs there, please contact us.