Are Documentary Films Valuable?

Most television drama today is very predictable because it’s been seen many times before in different forms. However, as Marc Shmuger has made clear through his work, documentaries give a real and rarely-heard voice to issues existing today that are anything but predictable. Documentaries speak truth, and even the powerful have to listen.

There Are Many Stories Out There

Every year, hundreds of documentaries are made that tell relevant stories that can create social impact or create awareness. Unfortunately, most of them never get seen by the general public because the films are not widely distributed. Because of this, many filmmakers look first for the possible impact the story will have rather than selecting a topic and using their talents to create an impact.

Web docs

One way to bring more issues to the attention of the public is through the Internet. A focus on making short documentaries that can be downloaded on to smartphones is gaining popularity in Europe and Asia. At first, filmmakers were worried about losing their creative rights if their films go viral online, but with direct marketing strategies and partnerships with other sponsors and sources, they can show their work without losing integrity.

Real Stories

Documentary films are a way to combine real stories with all the drama of fiction and none of the predictability. For example, the story of a boy finding his way out of poverty through athletic ability is gripping especially when all the twists and turns of his life are true. Not only can a film document the boy’s journey, it can also include the impact of politicians, journalists, social workers and the media on the boy and his family as they find a better life. The story is gripping, but the facts surrounding the story are eye-opening for people who have never considered the real path out of poverty.

Push the Agenda

Documentary filmmakers use their art to push serious agendas that most people will never see. From child labor and sex slavery to environmental issues and healthy farming, these films turn a light on practices that need to be stopped. A film is the best way to bring these issues to people because it makes them easier to understand. Some people believe that documentary films are the most important medium for social change available today.

Art or Money

Ordinary TV and films are made to increase profits. Even if they bring a pertinent social message, they will flop if they don’t bring money too. In order to be successful, the TV programs or films may also need to be politically correct. Documentary films don’t require such a big budget to start with and are often funded by concerned individuals and institutions. Since they are focusing on the facts, there is very little or no concern for offending anyone. The food production business is one example of an industry that documentary films have exposed to the public. When people see how their crops are grown and how their meat lives and dies, it has a big impact. This is one reason these films don’t get wide circulation on TV or in theaters, but when they are seen online, they change lives.

Documentary films are alive and well, and these filmmakers do society a great service.

Don’t you agree? 




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

12 comments on “Are Documentary Films Valuable?”

    • You’re right that truth is more entertaining than fiction by a long shot. Some of the things we see that happen blows our minds away.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  1. Document films are valuable, of course. They tell facts, events, and retains lost memories. I’ve enjoyed and learnt from them.

    • I have learned from a good many of them too. The older I get the more I have grown to appreciate them.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  2. I love watching documentaries. Back in grad school, I remember learning a fact that a very small percentage of we learn when watching movies or using visual learning is very small unless it’s in conjunction with other mediums of learning. I still enjoy them and prefer them over movies though.

    • This is so interesting to learn this little fact about you. I like some documentaries, but I do see their value for sure.

  3. Loved this post and you really pointed out a lot about documentaries I have not considered. I also had not thought about the impact of short stories and documentaries online.

  4. I think they’re valuable in their own way. They provide first hand insight on the topic, educating you on aspects you may not have know about before.

    I remember them being so boring in school. But it you find one on the right topic you can be capivated.


    • This is so true. I love many TedTalks shows. They always make me want to listen to every bit of it.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon. I just read your post you shared with us in the comments, and I really like it.

  5. I like watching documentary films and yes, they’re valuable. I have learned a lot of things by watching them.

    • They are very educational for sure. I’m glad that we have them available to us. They help with homeschooling my kids.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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