Our media team recently gathered together for an afternoon to watch our three previous documentary films back to back. The goal was to be extremely critical of our previous projects and see our progress in documentary filmmaking as we prepare for shooting our fourth film about Sudan in 2016.
Over a four hour period we discussed technical, story, and audience misses that we noticed. While we saw overall improvement in all of these areas, especially with our third film Lost Generation of Sudan, here's a few things we believe we can keep improving on.
1. Promotion & Distribution are our big misses. Although we have seen improvement over time in how we have promoted each film, our audience reach has still been limited due to a lack of a long-term promotion strategy that includes film festivals, community screenings, and offline distribution. Our past three films have gone from post-production directly to online distribution. For our next film, we want to take our time in submitting it to film festivals, setting up offline screenings, and distributing it offline to reach a much larger audience.
2. Technical detail is everything. We felt that our third film was extremely powerful because of our attention to even the smallest details. The post-production script was fine-tuned more than 50 times and every shot was submitted to rigorous color/audio correction to better highlight the story. For our next film, we will need to continue honing our skills with the same goal in mind.
3. Pre-planning will give us more time in the field. While all of our films have been pre-planned as far as location and time goes, our local connections have sometimes failed to ensure that we remain on schedule. This has often times caused severe travel delays, taken away from filming time, and forced us to recycle footage. The past few months we have been working hard to ensure that these issues go away once and for all by building additional connections on the ground.
4. Film Community has remained small. While each of our films has been crowd-funded, we haven't done a great job at building up a community around each film from start to finish. To build a community around our next film we are offering behind the scenes access, frequent updates, and exclusive rewards to individuals who fundraise or donate towards the project. We believe that this increased involvement with the film's support base will not only enhance the supporter experience, but also lead to more offline screenings and increased knowledge of Sudan in the general public.
5. Our positive narrative is paying off. Much of the current narrative around Sudan in activist circles remains extremely negative despite the hope of a better future many Sudanese have. It is clear to us that negativity has only bred more negativity, created mass disillusionment, and prevented many people who care deeply for international issues from getting involved. In our next film, we will continue showing that the way Sudan is today is not the way it always will be. Not only is that the truth, it is also the right thing to do.
In 2016, Operation Broken Silence will create it's fourth documentary film on Sudan. Our previous documentary films have introduced over 500,000 people to the crisis in Sudan and, more importantly, the amazing people living through it. Filmmaking and creative storytelling is at the heart of what we do and has played a major role in growing our movement for peace and justice in Sudan, as well as our on-the-ground programs.
Whether you fundraise or donate towards our next film, we want you to be a part of this story. Do more than just watch. Join us.