Harnessing the power of documentaries could provide an unprecedented platform to engage audiences, inspire fund-raising, and drive forward important missions.
The Revolutionary Power of Documentaries: Crafting Change and Fueling Philanthropy

Documentaries offer more than an insightful look at the varied parts of our world. They are catalysts for transformation – shifting public perception, mobilizing funds, and creating tangible impact. 

Documentaries as Agents of Social Impact

An Inconvenient Truth (2006): Al Gore’s and Davis Guggenheim’s film catapulted the climate change discussion to new heights. Not only did it lead to the coining of “The Gore Effect,” indicating a marked increase in public awareness, but it also underscored the power of documentary storytelling. 

A Nobel Peace Prize later, the impact of this documentary is unmistakable. It became the 11th highest grossing documentary to date, and is credited for “re-energizing the environmental movement.” 

Blackfish (2013): The aftermath of “Blackfish” demonstrates the capability of a documentary a inspiring significant change. Post-release, SeaWorld experienced a blow to its reputation that led to a decrease in attendance, a drop in stock prices, and eventually, a shift in their practices, including the termination of their Orca breeding program and the live shows.

Documentaries as Fundraising Powerhouses

The Cove (2009): Unmasking the brutal dolphin hunting practices in Taiji, Japan, “The Cove” led to an outpouring of public support. It catalyzed significant monetary contributions to organizations dedicated to the cause, including Save Japan Dolphins, which noted a substantial surge in donations post-release, enabling them to amplify their advocacy work and policy change efforts.

Virunga (2014): This heart-wrenching account of the Virunga National Park in Congo was instrumental in boosting the park’s conservation efforts. After its Netflix release, the park reported a remarkable upswing in donations, directly aiding the park’s operation and critical anti-poaching initiatives. As an example, the Virunga Fund saw a substantial increase in donations, with an estimated 30% increase in overall contributions following the documentary’s release.

Documentaries as a Tool for Policy Influence

Super Size Me (2004): Morgan Spurlock’s self-mutilating journey through the landscape of the fast-food industry resulted in ripples that reached the golden arches of McDonald’s. The discontinuation of the “super size” option following the documentary’s release demonstrated the potential influence of such films on corporate policy.

The Hunting Ground (2015): This film’s eye-opening revelations about sexual assault on college campuses prompted policy shifts at various institutions. It led to the introduction of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act in the Senate, marking a significant legislative impact.


Documentaries are not a mere observation of the world but an active contributor to shaping it.

The potential for these films to raise public awareness, garner financial support, and influence policy is profound. For non-profit organizations, the stories captured in these documentaries serve as both inspiration and a testament to the change that their own narratives could incite. Harnessing the power of documentaries could provide an unprecedented platform to engage audiences, inspire fund-raising, and drive forward important missions.

~Matt Abraxas


An Inconvenient Truth:
Climate Reality Project

World Animal Protection

The Cove
The Guardian
Dolphin Dance Project


Super Size Me
CBS News

The Hunting Ground

matt abraxas colorado videographer new focus films video marketer

~ Matt Abraxas
Creative Director
New Focus Films
Fine Art & Filmmaking

Picture of Matt Abraxas

Matt Abraxas

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