Documentaries that matter

On Friday July 1 a short Transmissible Kick-Off event was held online, using Google Hangouts. In the Hangout, I presented briefly in which direction my new plans are taking me, gave an overview of the website and introduced Socrative as a teaching tool.

Those who were able to join this live event, used an online classroom to take a quiz of 3 questions. Each of the questions aimed to gather some thoughts and advice from the participants on the products that Transmissible provides. The first question was 'What was the most impressive documentary that you remember?'. The answers help me to understand what people consider good audiovisual story-telling.

Themes observed

One theme that I observed among the answers was on stories about personal struggles to overcome adversity. Such as an individual fight against the power of a large pharmaceutical company, or the challenges that Francis Ford Coppola faced while shooting Apocalypse now, or the biographic film on Temple Grandin the autistic professor of animal behavior, or the documentary about a patient who learns at young age that she will become deaf and blind, just to mention a few examples among the answers.

What these topics have in common, in my view, is that they engage the viewer in taking the perspective of a single person facing certain challenging adversity, and then bring some inspiration through showing how people can deal with huge problems. In fact, it is singing about everyday heroes.

The other theme that I believe to see is on awareness raising about public health problems that ask either for people to change risk-behavior or that need more attention from policy makers. Examples included the documentary by Al Gore on Climate change, a documentary about rat lungworm disease and actually several titles of the previous group would also fit in this one.

Documentaries mentioned

Some examples that come from the survey:

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[youtube id="Sg3_NIUv7Z0" align="center" mode="normal" autoplay="no"]

[youtube id="mOrHnctozrY" align="center" mode="normal" autoplay="no"]


What's next?

The answers shared by the participants are very helpful. It strengthens my view that public health relevant messages deserve more formats than the mainly scientific ones. Audio-visual story telling using video productions is a great tool for awareness raising, supporting public health action. In addition, it seems to me a powerful instrument to give credit to people or groups who deserve to be known. With Transmissible I want to collaborate with video and documentary producers to deliver relevant public health storytelling.

In the next post I will write more about the answers people gave about playing games. Thanks again for all inspiration!

Continue sharing

Please keep sharing your ideas about what makes a great documentary; below this post is enough space for all your comments. Just register (widget to the right) and comment 🙂

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