Philosophy

Every movement needs a story.

At Active Voice, we know that social change takes time. The key to creating sustained impact lies in humanizing social issues, bridging divides, and building long-term relationships. We believe that films can play a particularly valuable role in realizing this vision, by building empathy and creating opportunities for people to learn, connect, and take action.

We know that social change doesn’t happen on its own – nor can one film, or one person, change the world. So we immerse ourselves in the issues, needs, and cultures of the social movements we collaborate with, and provide them with stories and strategies that advance their goals.

We know that raising awareness is just the beginning. So in addition to working with the latest films to raise awareness about pressing social issues, we also work with people on the ground to use those films in targeted ways that make our institutions and systems more equitable, fair, and just.

 

Our approach is founded on three pillars.

STORY: We work with films that are captivating, nuanced, character-driven, and focused on timely social issues.

STRATEGY: We create strategies, campaigns, and partnerships that harness the power of these stories to help people move from emotion to action.

SUSTAINED IMPACT: We deploy and evaluate these tactics in ways that go beyond awareness-building to supporting long-term sustained action, movement building, and system change.

 

We work within an Ecosystem of Change.

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Today’s social movements need powerful stories as much as they need leadership, policy research, grassroots organizing, funding, and other fuels. And while film can be a potent tool for change, we know that film alone is not enough. In our experience, real change comes about when a host of interested sectors — an ecosystem — work together, each bringing to the table what they do best. Some have cutting-edge information, some have trusted relationships with grassroots networks, some have access to policy arenas. And some — the storytellers — have the ability to engage people with compelling narratives. Active Voice works with all of these Ecosystem of Change agents to help them think carefully and strategically about how they can use storytelling to achieve sustained impact.

Learn more about how we applied the Ecosystem of Change framework to our innovative work with Welcome to Shelbyville.

 

Our strategies are designed to reach Beyond the Choir.

beyond the choir 300x300 PhilosophyPublic discourse becomes more polarized every day as talk show pundits, blogs, and cable news outlets fling shrill epithets at the “other side.” Films that encourage people to reflect, to empathize, to express clear, informed opinions, and to speak candidly about things that matter are more important than ever. Active Voice works with nuanced films that tap into values and themes that don’t tell viewers what to think or feel, but can engage a broad range of audiences beyond the choir.

A 2010 report on our Beyond the Choir framework explains this values-based thinking in action, as a tool for both identifying campaign target audiences, and for assessing impact.