A guide to help all of us who are working with film, make even more impact.

Take it, teach it, share it. And if you like it, please donate here

Thank you for exploring the new edition of the Impact Field Guide.

We believe that the 21st century has become one in which the power of film to change the world is impossible to ignore. And our mission is to share bold ideas and best practice with global filmmakers and changemakers. To make sure the most important non-fiction documentary films reach the audiences that matter. We are Doc Society, a non-profit Foundation with team based in London, New York & Amsterdam, working to support the global community of documentary filmmakers. And we are delighted that you have picked up the Impact Field Guide. An open source resource being used by over 60,000 filmmakers and change makers around the world.

Through the hard work and commitment of thousands of dedicated individuals working in the intersection of film, community & movement, we've seen it all this past decade: profound artistic contributions, journalistic revelations, radical innovation and serious societal change. This updated guide is intended to harness some of that energy. Not to control it or pretend that there's only one way to do this work – nothing could be further from the truth. We offer ideas and approaches so you don't have to solve a problem that someone else has already cracked, and can focus on the unique challenges of your own project.

We’d like to thank the small army of good people who shared experience and insights to make this guide as rich as it is.

The first edition of the Impact Field Guide was developed with the New Citizenship Project - Jon Alexander and Irenie Ekkeshis helped us test, refine and present our ideas. Featuring invaluable contributions and insights from:

    Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, Joaquin Alvarado, Julia Bacha, Laura Bandel, Diana Barrett, Clint Beharry, Robin Blotnick, Caitlin Boyle, Susan Burke, Caty Borum Chattoo, Ruby Chen, Sonya Childress, Jessica Clark, Sasha Constanza-Chock, Brenda Coughlin, Jana Diesner, Diane Espaldon, Rachel Falcone, Patricia Finneran, Sean Flynn, Josh Fox, Ryan Harrington, Judith Helfand, John Jackson, Tabitha Jackson, Beth Janson, John S. Johnson, Alex Kelly, Ingrid Kopp, David Laub, Rachel Lears, Sheila Leddy, Wendy Levy, Eliza Licht, Rebecca Lichtenfeld, Gilad Lotan, Andrew Lowenthal, Jen MacArthur, Liz Manne, Christie Marchese, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Chris Michaels, Molly Murphy, Justine Nagan, Brian Newman, Lauren Pabst, Michael Premo, Keri Putnam, Tom Quinn, Jen Robinson, Shaady Salehi, Marc Schiller, Ellen Schneider, Nancy Schwartzman, Debika Shome, Sophy Sivaraman, Marcia Smith, Lina Srivastava, Yancey Strickler, Michael Tuckman, James Turner, Nonso Christian Ugbode, Femke Van Velsen, Emily Verellen, Naomi Walker, Vince Warren, Dirk Wilutzky, Malinda Wink, Jenni Wolfson, Amy Ziering, Burcu Melekoglu, Caro Macdonald, Daniel Simons, Eirin Gjorv, Eric Juhola, Erin Sorensen, Irene Zabytko, Jamie Goncalves, JoAnne Fishburn, Judy Hatcher, Laura Wilson, Sandra Tabares-Duque, Sanjay Rawal, Simone Pero, Tim Horsburgh, Vuslat Karan, Wendy Levy, Jessica Edwards and Angelica Das.

The second edition of the Impact Field Guide was lovingly updated in 2019 by Impact Strategist Sahar Driver based in San Francisco. The design materialised by our colleagues Sarah Nicholson & Matt Fisher at Involved Design in London and the website built by Doc Society’s Design Director James Franklin in New Zealand. Once again we've drawn on collaborations & conversations with incredibly smart film teams, academics, cultural curators, Impact Producers and their partners from all over the world.

This included new contributions from:

    Jad Abi-Khalil, Macky Alston, Abigail Anketell-Jones, Lindsay Green Barber, Julia Bacha, Stephanie Bleyer, Kylie Boltin, Jeffrey Bowers, Caitlin Boyle, Marco Cartolano, Giuliano Cavalli, Sonya Childress, Kristy Chin, Brenda Coughlin, Inti Cordera, Santhosh Daniel, Abby Davis, Fiona Dawson, Dina de Veer, Cristine Platt Dewey, Jamie Dobie, Jo-Jo Ellison, Violet Feng, Deirdre Fishel, Edie Gill Holder, Amelia Hapsari, Lee Hirsch, Will Jenkins, Anita Khanna, Judy Kibinge, Fiona Lawson-Baker, Rachel Lears, Sheila Leddy, Alex Lee, Wendy Levy, John Lightfoot, Kathleen Lingo, Mary Macrae, Ani Mercedes, Molly Murphy, Joanna Natasegara, Ina Pira, Michael Premo, Alice Quinlan, Khushboo Ranka, Larissa Rhodes, Theo Rigby, Flor Rubina, Ellen Schneider, Michèle Stephenson, Fran Sterling, Paulina Suárez, Sandra Tabares-Duque, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, Poh Si Teng, Ayse Toprak, Sophy Sivaraman, Ilse van Velzen, Lynette Wallworth, Emily Wanja, Banker White, Sydelle Willow Smith, Malinda Wink, Samantha Wright, Pamela Yates, Luis González Zaffaroni, Amy Ziering.

And of course a huge high five to our dear colleagues who have helped make this accessible to filmmakers who need it most over the past five years. I’m talking about Ford Foundation, Sundance Institute, Bertha Foundation, Ambulante, DocSP, Dox Box & Knight Foundation. Thank you one and all.

This is a resource by the community for the community. And when we say take it, teach it, share it - we really mean it. Please just credit where its due and let us know how it has been useful. Those are the stories which keep the wind beneath our wings. You can send us a message right here.

Finally, it you’ve enjoyed the guide and you are able, please consider making a donation to help us to create more language versions and keep the resource as up to date and accessible as possible.

With love and respect to all

The Doc Society Team

Made by:

Doc Society

Made possible by:

Ford Foundation - Just Film Bertha Foundation Sundance Institute Knight Foundation

Made byDoc Society Made possible by: Ford Foundation - Just Film Bertha Foundation Sundance Institute Knight Foundation Dox Box DOCSP Ambulante MX