Projecting impact: How the NFB continues to change the world

Date created: 
2020-05-13
Identifier: 
etd20951
Keywords: 
National Film Board of Canada
Canadian documentary film
Challenge for Change
Studio D
Social change
Social impact
Abstract: 

Projecting Impact: How the NFB Continues to Change the World, is a three-part documentary podcast series that examines the methodologies and approaches to making social change through documentary film and interactive digital creations. Is media an effective tool for creating social change? How do we measure it? By examining work from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) that was created over three unique eras, I look at the changing face of social impact with regards to documentary film and media production and in relation to broader social movements. Beginning with some of the early ground-breaking documentary work created during the Challenge for Change program (1967-1980), then moving to some of the seminal work created by Studio D (1974-1996), which was the world’s first feminist documentary film studio, and finally, examining documentary creation and dissemination today, Projecting Impact sheds light on the important work of the NFB, the people who’ve created it, and the social change the work has made in the world. Despite tectonic shifts in technology over the past fifty years, I also discover that the unique distribution system employed by the NFB in its early days has surprising contemporary parallels, as do the thoughtful approaches of some of the key NFB creators in addressing social movements and inequality. Today, the NFB continues to be deeply invested in making work that has the potential to create social change. I contend that in this media morass in which we live, the metrics with which we measure social change require a rethink. Acknowledging the NFB's many significant contributions to Canadian society over its first eighty years, traditional metrics cannot capture the full scope of this impact and so, as I argue, the NFB should accept more diverse, community-based measures of uptake and influence.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Supervisor(s): 
Milena Droumeva
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.
Statistics: