Highlights: Documentary Films, Their Makers and Their Needs

Moderated by Geralyn Dreyfous, Co-Founder/Director-at-Large, Impact Partners, and Founder/Board Chair, Utah Film Center; with James Balog, Photographer, Chasing Ice, and Director, Extreme Ice Survey; Louie Psihoyos, Director, The Cove, and Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society; Chris Paine, Writer/Director, Revenge of the Electric Car, and Co-Founder, Counterspill.org; Peter Byck, Director/Producer, Carbon Nation; and Chris Jordan, Creator of Midway, FiRe adopted film in production.

Documentary films do not make money.- Documentary film-makers are in a way perpetual philanthropists. As Chris Paine describes it “most of our films are humanitarian gifts to society.”

Documentaries heavily depend on donations as well as moral support: Geralyn Dreyfous is an avid supporter of  documentary films and through her company, Impact Film Fund, she has been able to promote and finance over 25 films and she continues to do so.

This year SNS has adopted the documentary film “Midway” by Chris Jordan to help find financial support and provide the support network needed to propel this amazing documentary film forward https://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/midway/#about

Chris Paine introduced his newest venture: https://counterspill.com/ which promotes awareness about the impact of non-renewable energy disasters through a living timeline of reporting, social media and community engagement. Paine also encouraged documentary film makers to remain persistent and patient and to always be in the look out for the right people to bring together to make things happen. Paine sees his documentaries as having a double mission: 1- Showing what’s broken in society and 2- Identifying solutions and people who can move society forward on the right path.

Peter Byck of Carbon Nation https://www.carbonnationmovie.com/ considers himself an optimist even if his films cover the serious and sober topic of climate change and pollution. There are problems but there are solutions to these problems and Byck hopes that his movies can convince the audience to take action or think a bit more about society’s impact on the environment. Byck has even been able to convince his uncle Phil of the impact of society’s behavior on the environment. Students from 6-12, college students and most surprisingly climate skeptic are Byck’s main audience.

James Balog considers himself a “serial obsessive”and these days he is obsessing over the dangerous melting of icebergs. In addition to his extraordinary movie and ice photographs, Balog also founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) for education and outreach.

The questions remain: how will we allow these documentaries to stay alive and encourage new pertinent documentaries to take place? Can Documentaries become one day new “role models” that sponsors will fund as easily as they fund Lady Gaga?….