Defining your vision

As impact film teams, we are always holding a vision with two elements:

The Art Vision

the intrinsic vision for the film and how it will be

The Impact Vision

the extrinsic vision for what the film will do.

The Art Vision must be understood and acknowledged as key to the success of the project as a whole – because without a great film, there is no impact. This is the director's domain, along with their chosen creative collaborators.

The Impact Vision is an expression of the big change in the world that everyone involved can unite around, to sit alongside the Art Vision. It should be arrived at as a team. As discussed in the previous section, as individuals you need to know yourselves and your priorities. You also need to know how these relate to your broader vision and where other colleagues and the impacted communities you work with are coming from - you may be more different than you realise.

The Art Vision

There is no fixed template - but it's helpful if it's under 30 words.

Joshua Oppenheimer has said this of his approach to The Act of Killing:

'The Act of Killing is a film about the dangers of denial, but in the escapist fantasy of the cinema... explor[ing] the way our seemingly factual realities are impregnated by fiction'" %}

Every director will have a different way of expressing it. Our advice is simply to take the time to ensure this comes first.

Every single person who joins the team needs to understand the Art Vision – the director's vision for the film she is trying to make. Once you've done that, you're ready to define an Impact Vision to hold alongside it. This is much more of a team exercise." %}

The Impact Vision

This is about making the time and space to have a big conversation as a team. Making a film might revolve around a director, but making impact is definitely a team sport. Everyone involved in the film and the impact project as a whole should be part of this exercise.

As a default output, we recommend you also aim for a statement of 30 words or less. But if that doesn't work for you, that's not a problem. You may wish to be more creative: make a mood board, maybe even a short edit.

What matters is that there is some output you can have at hand throughout the project, that everyone can call upon as a reminder of where you are going.

However it's expressed, what you're looking for is a vision that is:

  • Clear – requiring little or no further explanation
  • Compelling – inspiring in and of its own right, without needing to know you as a team
  • Outside the comfort zone – not something that is immediately and obviously possible, but yet something that the team believes in at a stretch and with luck on your side
  • Available – it must be in a format you can refer to easily and quickly at whatever stage in the process you come to

Use the conversation starters below to spark discussion with your film team. Vision is about bigger- picture thinking. Later sections will help you work out the details of the specific changes you might want to campaign for.

Examples to inspire:

Film Impact Vision
Budrus Make nonviolence the strategy of choice in Israel-Palestine.
The End of the Line Create more sustainable fisheries.
Bag It Make America plastic-free, one community at a time.
The Age of Stupid Trigger a mass movement of environmental behaviour change.

Conversation starters in your own team for your own project:

Want to dig a little deeper into this one? Here are a couple of great free resources – there'll be more to come in the Library as we release more modules, and we'd love to hear your suggestions too.

Geek Out: Ideas for further reading

Ideally you’ll then vet your vision statement and your plan with external stakeholders as well, from impacted community members to NGO leaders. That’s where a braintrust gathering can be helpful. We’ll discuss this more in section 2.4.

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