Two months ago I watched a panel held at Sundance titled Power of Story: How Docs Changed Change. It was moderated by CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. The panelists included Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford, Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films and Nick Fraser commissioning editor of BBC’s Storyville. I had hoped the panel would have talked more about the role of connectedness in spreading the message and discussion of the documentary subject. It never happened. The time was spent mainly talking about film form and such and the only mention of the viewers role in , as the panel was called, “how docs changed change” was by Fraser who was amazed at receiving a mere hundred emails from fans for one of BBC’s documentaries. Really? I am sure if he had the correct tools he would have seen thousands of mentions and interactions through blogs, tweets and other connecting tools.
My conclusion was that these film makers were terribly disconnected from current trends and in the end their audiences. The change is occurring because we are becoming more connected than ever and films like the record breaking Kony 2012 film regardless of your opinion about the ethics, shows how an idea can be spread through the format. What filmaker need to understand though is how they can best use the connected audience.