A “Good Pitch”: How powerful films inspire powerful action

The annual ‘Good Pitch’ in NYC is a rather unique event. Bringing together documentary filmmakers with thought-leaders from not-for profit and for-profit organizations is meant to inspire. But, most importantly, the gathering of the minds is meant to forge powerful partnerships, leading to powerful action that can solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.

 ‘Change’ is a tricky thing to achieve. Especially when it comes to social justice. It requires a strong vision of the ones that peruse it. It needs to carve out a powerful incentive for others to join in. And it needs persistence, because ‘change’ does not come easily. 

All these ingredients were present in abundance New York, when one of the global “Good Pitch” events opened its gates to various filmmakers: Each and every one of them introducing their personal vision of what needs to change in the world to make it more just, more tolerant, more sustainable or, simply more balanced. 

‘3 ½ Minutes’, for example: the tragic story of teenager Jordan Davis who became victim of a deadly race and gun crime. Or ‘Seed’: a film that follows farmers and scientists trying to protect the diversity of agriculture and battle for the future of our seeds. Or ‘Virunga’: the incredible story of a group of brave people that risk their lives to safe a National Park in the Congo. 

During his opening remarks, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, said “the arts are a profound means of improving the human experience; and film is a timeless ally in the ongoing quest for justice”. 

I could not agree more. We live in a world where the younger generations are often more inspired by short films and youtube video clips than they are by the written word. And the fact that there was no dry eye in the room when Jordan Davis’ parents talked about the unimaginable pain caused by the injustice inflicted upon their son was a testimony to the power of visual storytelling to inspire transformative action. 

That’s where ‘Good Pitch’ adds a unique (and indispensable) ingredient to the filmmakers’ vision and persistence: it allows others to join their fight by facilitating participation and engagement of influential allies and the civil society. Whether its on-the-spot financial support to complete a film’s production, or PR and media connections that help amplify its reach:  the collective action this get together of change makers inspires far transcends the room it takes place in. It reaches out to all of us. Not only to watch these films. Not only to bear witness to the injustices we won’t accept. But to join in. To become a visionary, as well. 

This is a form of participation we will increasingly see. It is yet another pathway to empower us all to stand up and take sides with the causes that matter most to us. Kickstarter, dosomething.org, causes.com – all these trails of change will only be enriched by thought-provoking documentary films. Why does it matter? Because being aware of a problem is the first step in fixing it. 

And the fact that the event gives “branding” a seat at the table speaks to the important role some of the most recognized brands play in this conversation. The Fords, Patagonias, Googles, Netflixes of this world can – and have to – use their sphere of influence to scale the vision of these filmmakers, so that we all, collectively, can be part of creating the change we want to see in this world. 

Check out GoodPitch here:  https://goodpitch.org



Justin Merino