Filmmakers/Changemakers: Making Change

Filmmakers/Changemakers: Making Change

March 9, 2018
10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Filmmakers/Changemakers: Making Change


Social impact is one of the hottest topics within the international documentary film industry, but how do we create it?

Documentary filmmakers often aim beyond merely entertaining their audience. They want their film to provoke actual change – that is, change in behaviors, beliefs and values within a group, system, institution or community. Social entrepreneurs, NGOs and companies have also discovered the potential in documentary film to initiate change in policy making or societal structures. Some private financiers even ask for a social impact strategy before they decide to invest in documentary film productions.

Making a solid social impact strategy is therefore key to releasing your documentary’s potential. In this seminar, we’ll go through the steps of making a strong impact strategy, and give filmmakers and film workers a hands-on guide to achieving the effects they would like their film to have.

Deputy Director of Doc Society and Good Pitch Europe Outreach Director, Nicole van Schaik, will give us the practical tools for making a good social impact strategy. Following her presentation, we will evaluate the campaigns of three new film projects. The seminar will close off with a panel discussion.

The following projects will be presented and discussed:

Thank You for the Rain presented by director Julia Dahr and producer Julie Lunde Lillesæter.

Burma Storybook presented by director Petr Lom and producer Connie van Egeraat.

500 Years presented by director Pamela Yates, producer Paco de Onis, and protagonist Andrea Ixchíu.



10:00 Welcome by Sarah Prosser

10:10 Nicole van Schaik: Handbook on Impact Strategies

11:00 Case Study: Thank You for the Rain

11:20 Coffee break (40 min)

12:00 Case Study: Burma Storybook

12:20 Case Study: 500 Years

12:40 Short break (10 min)

12:50 Panel discussion and Q&A

14:00 End



Nicole van Schaik is Deputy Director at Doc Society as well as Good Pitch Europe Outreach Director. She strategizes with filmmakers and impact producers on how they can use their films as a strategic tool for social or environmental change.

Pamela Yates is an American documentary filmmaker and human rights activist. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for her film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, which was used as evidence in the Rios Montt genocide conviction in Guatemala.

Paco de Onís is the head of Skylight, a human rights media organization that works with both documentary film and other forms of storytelling to advance social justice and change. Together with Pamela Yates, he has worked on the documentary trilogy When the Mountains Tremble, Granito and 500 Years.

Andrea Ixchíu is a journalist and activist working with promoting indigenous women’s rights in Guatemala. She is herself a K’iche – one of the Maya people. Learn more about some of the struggles she is fighting in 500 Years.

Petr Lom makes films focusing on human rights and has received several awards for his work. In his recent productions, he has collaborated with his wife and fellow filmmaker Corinne van Egeraat.

Corinne van Egeraat is a Dutch filmmaker and producer and collaborates with her husband Petr Lom. Their latest film Burma Storybook focuses on one of Corinne’s favourite subjects: Creative freedom of expression.


Julia Dahr is a Norwegian director focusing on human rights and sustainable development issues.

Julie Lunde Lillesæther is cinematographer and director in Differ Media.





Moderator: Sarah Prosser, one of the founders of Human Rights Human Wrongs (now HUMAN IDFF) and currently  working for Oslo municipality with responsibilty for social enterprise and innovation projects in an urban renewal programme.






In 500 Years we follow the Maya peoples’ struggle for their history is told. The film begins with the trial against the former dictator General Ríos Montt, who is accused of orchestrating the genocide against the Mayans in the 80’s. We are led through the conflictual history of Guatemala, but also the massive current popular resistance against a corrupt and unjust power.



In Burma Storybook we meet several of Myanmar’s leading poets, whose poems serve a therapeutic function after serving years in prison for practicing their art. There’s a saying that everyone is a poet in Myanmar. But even poetry cannot escape censorship’s tight grip in an authoritarian regime.





Thank You for the Rain is a warm and moving story about an unyielding optimist who gets his high hopes put to the test. Five years ago, Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer, started to use his camera to capture the damages of climate change on his farm and local community, transforming him to an activist on the global stage.