Countless fanatics of the movie industry tune in every year to award ceremonies. The academy awards have set the standard for award ceremonies here in the United States. Film fanatics watch the awards to become better informed about the best films of the year. Philanthropists have a different philosophy. Philanthropists watch the awards to assess the impact of philanthropy on the direction of the film industry and subsequently a film’s impact on important social and cultural issues. One popular Oscar-winning title that demonstrates social change is the American Factory. It is a tale of a Chinese billionaire who purchases an abandoned GM factory in Dayton, OH demonstrating the radical difference between Chinese and American culture in business. American Factory is part of a project in collaboration with Participant Media and its owner philanthropist Jeff Skoll to better understand the future of manufacturing. Let’s discuss perspective’s of how philanthropy in film is shaping our social lives.

If you ask a philanthropist the definition of philanthropy, they will tell you it is benefiting the quality of life privately whether through large donations or some other medium. The goal of any philanthropist is to make a positive impact on peoples’ lives daily. Of course, in today’s society, information on public media is not always reliable. Social media and news outlets tend to skew information or biases towards one direction, which is often not realistic or positive. Movies and TV shows on occasion may provide us with a deeper understanding of how our society is constantly evolving. Investment into smaller media production companies is one way philanthropists are looking to influence and enhance the movie industry. Philanthropists are looking to measure the level of impact their contributions have on people. How is that measured? There are three ways to measure the level of impact; they are reach, influence, and policy change. Reach describes the audience who see, read, or listen to a media project. Influence describes the adoption of a dilemma by the audience. Policy change describes an action after the adoption of a dilemma to change a standard or norm.

American Factory highlighted the stark difference between the tech battle with China and the US while bringing awareness to the lack of technological advancement in the United States. China has evolved exponentially in the tech field and has more engineer graduates than the US. Through movies including American Factory and the measures discussed above, philanthropists are looking to make an impact and raise awareness for social causes in the film industry.

I hope you will consider downloading online, watching on TV or viewing in Cinema film’s that explore that look to reach audiences to create awareness, educate the viewer and promote ideas for positive change.