Political documentary, online organization and activist synergies

Christensen, Christian
May 2009
Studies in Documentary Film;2009, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p77
Academic Journal
In this article, and combining information obtained via interviews and analysis of data from company websites, I will examine the work of documentary film-maker Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films (BNF) within the context of two theoreti- calframeworks: (1) the 'coalition model' of documentary film/video forwarded by Whiteman (2004); and (2) the 'horizontal networking logic facilitated by new digital technologies' (Juris 2005) in relation to grassroots political action. The primary purpose of the article is to explore the degree to which BNF and BNT (Brave New Theaters) employ a 'coalition model' approach (in which film-makers, film subjects, film screeners, audiences and political organizers cooperate in order to increase the efficacy of grassroots political action) to documentary/activist film, and the extent to which digital technology (particularly the Internet) facilitates such an approach. This study will create a greater understanding of how certain forms of political communication (e.g. documentary films) can bypass traditional media gatekeepers (such as film distributors and film theatre owners) while still reaching large numbers of viewers, and contributing to grassroots political action.


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