Cape Town, SA:
“Change is possible. And a well-crafted film with a powerful message shown to a relevant audience can be a catalyst for positive change in society.” This is the big take-out from alumni of the inaugural online Film Impact Screening Facilitation Course offered by Cape Town-based media organisation Sunshine Cinema and the UCT Centre for Film and Media Studies in 2022.
Its success, along with the growing need for societal shifts, has resulted in the course becoming an annual feature on the film and social justice landscape. The 2023 online course will run from June 1 to December 8, 2023. It will equip participants with the skills and knowledge needed to use film as a tool to initiate meaningful discussions and have a positive impact on societal issues.
South African Sihle Hlophe, graduate of the course who is Executive Producer at Passion Seed Communications, a film-driven social enterprise said, “The course…affirmed what I have always believed – that film is an effective tool for social change. I am inspired by the filmmakers who are using their films to create paradigm shifts, influence changes in policy, hold people in power accountable, and change the lives of their documentary subjects. Through the course, I had the privilege of meeting some of these filmmakers such as Rehad Desai, Anita Khanna, and Emily Wanja.”
Hlophe hopes that her recent award-winning film “Lobola, A Bride’s True Price?” will bear the fruits of the course having secured five impact screenings around the country with Sunshine Cinema: “The impact campaign of “Lobola” is aimed at empowering women with important information about their marital rights, men too. This course has helped tremendously in developing a strategy for this.”
Le Roux Schoeman, a video journalist and editor working for the faith-based NGO Kerkbode, and an alumnus of the course said that he had “very little understanding of how content “lands” in real life … in the communities where it was shot, for instance. So the course concept (How to facilitate screenings) appealed to me as a natural extension of working with video on social impact and human interest stories.”
Another alumni New York-based producer Debbie Walters said “A powerful takeaway for me was that change is brought about by ordinary people every day. When we look at change as a process rather than an event and position ourselves as part of the solution rather than just restating the problem, there is great power in what we can do even as one person. When it comes to the change I’d like to inspire within the film production community itself., I’m looking forward to sparking conversation about what is happening within my own community by creating safe spaces to encourage dialogue.”
Ugandan creative Denis Onyodi, whose vision is to impact his “world through creative and relevant visual content” did the course in 2022 and said that the overall take-out for him was that he got an understanding of the impact eco-system and how he could have a lot of control over this to achieve the greatest impact for his work.
A highlight for Denis was “meeting like-minded professionals from Kenya, South Africa, and South America and being able to discuss areas of shared interests.”
Kenyan producer, Joan Njeri said, “Figuring out how to do an impact campaign and the practical side was really interesting for me. Anyone who has a goal to work in a community should do this course.”
“The course is open to anyone wanting to learn more about how to use film as a means to make change,” explains Sydelle Willow Smith Sunshine Cinema co-founder, and lecturer. “These could be locally-based issues for example service delivery or gangsterism, or bigger global issues such as climate change, and food security. But what is vital is that people, once having watched a film, are able to have robust and open discussions with a facilitator, with the aim to help or galvanize a community into positive action.”
Well-known story-tellers, film producers and directors, activists, writers, community leaders and university lecturers who have used their skills to effectively make change will be lecturing the course.
Participants will learn the methods and processes for hosting impactful screenings and will leave with a toolkit and a network of peers and mentors to support their future efforts.
There is a fee for the course, but several scholarships are available to participants who merit the opportunity.
Applications must be in by 31 March 2023.
For more information or to enroll visit