Creating cutting-edge strategies for social impact

About the Project

The Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative supports some of the most celebrated social issue documentaries on screens today, but how can those stories engage new audiences and sustain movement building? Active Voice worked with JustFilms grantees to think strategically about achievable outcomes — advancing policy reforms, building awareness of human rights violations, and helping viewers connect to Ford’s social justice grantees. This involved convening cross-sector “braintrust” strategy meetings, conducting stakeholder interviews with key partners, holding focus groups with target audiences, and developing strategic plans for film campaigns. JustFilms films in our portfolio include Gideon’s Army, American Promise, The New Black, Detropia, Who Is Dayani Cristal?Herman’s House, The House I Live In, 25 to Life, Elena, Valentine Road, Wilhemina’s War, and Nothing Without Us. 

Our Work

  • Braintrusts and strategy development
  • Stakeholder interviews and focus groups
  • Proposal writing and funder cultivation
  • Logic models with measurable outcomes


  • Participating filmmakers attract the support of NGOs and funders
  • NGOs and grassroots networks deepen their understanding of how film can be used as a tool
  • Think tanks and policy watchers use JustFilms to jumpstart dialogue and problem-solving
  • Ford program officers use JustFilms titles to achieve programmatic objectives

Gideon's Army Trailer