Skoll Foundation


Report from Sundance: Using stories to catalyze change

February 10, 2014 by

Sandy Herz, our Director of Strategic Alliances, recently returned from the Sundance Film Festival where the Skoll Foundation and Sundance Institute hosted the latest Stories of Change convening. The purpose? To help social entrepreneurs and filmmakers explore how stories can catalyze and accelerate social change.

Four social entrepreneurs—Health Care without Harm, VisionSpring, BasicNeeds, and Saude Criança—were paired with experienced filmmakers and storytelling advisors during the four-day event that involved hands-on working sessions and presentations on effective storytelling.

We were honored to have award-winning filmmakers as advisors, including Nicole Newnham (The Revolutionary Optimists), Cori Stern (Open Heart) and Pete Nicks (The Waiting Room), as well as design researcher and strategist Deborah Alden.

At the end of the convening, social entrepreneurs said that they had a new appreciation of using visuals—not just words—for scaling their work, and filmmakers expressed plans to be more intentional about developing impact frameworks for future storytelling projects.

In a recent op-ed, Sandy explained the powerful nature of these storytelling collaborations for amplifying social impact:

“Just as social entrepreneurs need to move people to understand and act on the issues, documentary filmmakers need to ground their stories in actionable solutions that can be executed at scale. Together, they are far more powerful than either can be in isolation.”

Read Sandy’s op-ed and learn more about Stories of Change.


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