Strategic communications aimed at letting people know about your video should start during its production and then continue throughout various stages of distribution.
Starting outreach for your video only after it is ready for release will result in missed opportunities for building awareness and excitement, getting buy-in, or for creating engagement around the issues addressed in your film.
Impacts of Outreach:
- When you communicate with members of a larger movement about how to use video for their own actions and community engagement, your video will fit better into the social movement to which your initiative is connected.
- Partnerships for distribution, engagement and action on the social issues in your video can start to form through the outreach phase.
- You can bring new team members from the community or movement into the initiative, which helps builds the communications capacity of both the team and the community.
- Working on outreach can help you test and refine your message(s) and how you will deliver it to targeted audiences and partners.
- Creating excitement and buzz around your video builds potential audiences. The more people who hear about and see your content, the more likely it is you will encounter people with influence to move an issue forward, or convince people who were either disengaged or previously opposed to a community’s perspectives.
Distribution is the process of placing your videos on platforms or venues —offline and/or online — for screening to audiences.
The initiative’s form of content will affect the distribution strategy. For example, some initiatives will use interactive and immersive media (such as virtual reality or augmented reality), web-based content, social media-based content and exhibition (artistic) pieces, instead of or in addition to video.
Each of these forms may require different distribution strategies than video. (For more on this, see the Resources section.) But there are some commonalities in distribution strategies among all content forms, which this section explores.
The strategy and process of distribution should also begin during the pre-production phase of the video, with the film team, movement members or community starting to think about distribution methods that are appropriate for community members and target audiences. Your target audience will be determined through the process of developing your Impact Statement.
Impacts of Distribution:
- Civil society and community-based organisations who work on related issues can plug into your distribution strategy, whether they work directly with you or not, and gain new opportunities to invite their communities and partners into discussions.
- Distribution allows the video to come to life in front of audiences, and presents story and issues to your communities and partners, and to audiences that you and the affected communities may not have the power to reach otherwise.
- Online or offline distribution allows for the release of related supporting materials, such as discussion guides, talking points, position papers, etc.
- Constructing a distribution strategy creates another point of dialogue and collaboration with communities and partners about the messages in the film, how to get those in front of audiences, and the impacts you want to see.
This Impact Story about A Daughter’s Memory from Indonesia shows how you can tackle a big issue at a smaller scale by using a smart and unique distribution strategy.
Impact Story: A Daughter’s Memory
A Daughter’s Memory is a short animated documentary video using oral history to tell the story of a little girl who is a survivor of the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedies that occurred in Indonesia.
Title: A Daughter’s Memory (2018)
Location: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Issue/Theme: History and memory
Objective of Video: Presenting an alternative historical version of the Indonesian 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy. Providing a space for survivors to tell their stories and articulate memories.
Impact Achieved: Ongoing, thus far 42 public and 29 personal screenings that opened up new and more critical perspectives on the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy discourse in Indonesia.
Methodology: Animated documentary video based on an oral history
Budget: Approximately 50 million Rupiahs (USD 3,600,-)
Video duration: 10 minutes
Project Duration: 2 years
“How can someone be told to live in constant fear…” ~Svetlana Dayani
A Daughter’s Memory is a short animated documentary video using an oral history to tell the story of a little girl who is a survivor of the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy. This video was propelled by Kotakhitam Forum, an independent Indonesian community that is focused on archiving and producing documentation about political history in Indonesia.
Kotakhitam Forum has produced 4 documentary videos on the same topic, and dozens of digital oral history archives and images that aim to help the development of new methods for learning history, making use of audiovisual material.
A Daughter’s Memory tells the story of Svetlana Dayani, a survivor of the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy. The video recounts what it was like to be the daughter of the leader of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia / PKI) in the 1960s; to be a young girl experiencing the effects of the oppression—from being taken to prison with all members of her family, to a prolonged struggle against the stigma and trauma she fell victim to.
Svetlana, together with her mother and younger siblings, was arrested at her home and taken to prison in Jakarta when she was 9 years old. There, she witnessed firsthand how other victims were treated—incidents that she recorded clearly in her memory.
After being released from prison, Svetlana fought against the stigma of being the child of a PKI leader. She was forced to battle many fears and was only brave enough to use her real name again after a long time.
“How can someone be told to live in constant fear? It’s been half a century.”
Svetlana’s experience is one of many stories of young girls who lost their fathers—a story of a child’s longing for their parents. The video is not merely about the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy. Svetlana’s courage to tell her story and preserve the memories of what she experienced at that time is her way to fight trauma and contribute to creating a space—a space that allows for different versions of stories of oppression to be told.
In the context of the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy, the New Order regime tried to suppress the incident by presenting one version of the story, the government’s version, that was being recited in the community, the media, and schools. The personal experiences of the living witnesses, like the one told by Svetlana, seem to be silenced. Here lies the purpose of A Daughter’s Memory, which is to continue to tell the victims’ side of the story’s and to avoid any recurrence of this incident.
Oral history, which is used as the narrative method in A Daughter’s Memory, serves as a complement to existing written and visual historical documentation. By displaying new evidence recorded in personal memory, along with a number of assumptions and experiences previously unknown to the public, oral history can become a starting point in ensuring that historical writing and research becomes more democratic.
The resulting impact
A Daughter’s Memory‘s main target audiences are history scholars and practitioners and young people. History scholars and practitioners will view this video as an audiovisual documentation of oral history, as an alternative way of teaching history that can potentially be very important in classroom settings.
In collaboration with the Indonesian History Teachers’ Working Group (MGMP – Musyawarah Guru Mata Pelajaran), A Daughter’s Memory will be used as teaching material to educate students about Indonesia’s 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy. This animated documentary video ‘challenges’ historical study practitioners to allow for learning discussions that are more open to interpretations from other perspectives.
This practice of presenting possibly controversial materials in a historical study will invite students to think critically when observing historical versions of the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy. Although achieving this type of impact on students is important for Kotakhitam Forum, the question of whether the chosen method is most appropriate for achieving it remains to be answered.
To reach a wider audience, A Daughter’s Memory has been screened and discussed by the general public as well, with audiences consisting mostly of young people and survivors.
In total, there have been 38 public screenings in and outside of Indonesia: for instance, in the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia. 29 individually organised screenings have been held through people requesting access to the film via the website.
A Daughter’s Memory gained an even bigger audience interest after winning Best Film and Best Animation at ReelOz! Australia Indonesia Film Festival, which aired in 26 cities from October 2019 until December 2019.
“For me, it is very important to really discuss the future steps when dealing with the discourse of past events in Indonesia, to deconstruct a monolithic version of history and provide an interesting form of memorialisation to create a democratic dialogue on history” ~ Kartika Pratiwi, director of A Daughter’s Memory
The website on this video will continue to be used to document the distribution and recording of audience coverage and responses. Currently, the film is also part of an alternative impact and engagement experiment, in collaboration with EngageMedia.
A Daughter’s Memory is expected to reach more audiences and provide a space for discussion that will hopefully lead to a public that is more critical in its understanding of Indonesian history, especially regarding the 1965 Humanitarian Tragedy.
Stopping at distribution — that is, simply asking audiences to view a video — limits your ability to transform audiences from passive viewers to advocates and activists. Even though viewing the video may elicit a strong emotional reaction during the viewing or even when thinking about it later, that’s not often enough for the video to have an actual impact.
This is where the engagement stage comes in. There is a period of time after an audience member has viewed the video (or clips, if you are engaging viewers during the production process) that you can ask audiences to commit to targeted actions. Often audiences will ask what they can do to act on the issues. It is crucial to have a set of actions and further learning opportunities that you can suggest to audiences.
Impacts of Engagement:
- Targeted engagement activities enable audience members to join a social movement and act individually and collectively to move an issue forward. This will depend on how much your audience already knows about and engages with the issues in your Video for Change initiative. Audiences often fall across an engagement spectrum, from completely disengaged and unaware of the issues to completely immersed in them. Audiences have the chance to contribute their resources, connections, skills or time, and often they are very willing to act when they are inspired to engage with an issue.
- Calls to action benefit greatly from being collaboratively designed with community members or partners within the social movement or issue area. These include civil society organisations, student groups, individual activists and members of the affected community. This engagement and consultation will generate buy-in and build champions for your film. It will also help you tune your messaging.
- Engagement activities benefit community members and partner organisations because the social movement(s) or the networks of people they represent can offer targeted actions to a group of people that they don’t always reach. They can use engagement activities to:
- activate their existing audiences or bring new people into their work
- raise funds
- educate audiences
- connect their work to personal stories that illustrate how the issues affect human beings.
Engagement activities deepen and strengthen relationships by asking people to collaborate on common goals related to the core story (particularly the emotional aspects of the film). It’s often more “human” and relatable to work collectively when inspired by a story than when activating against policy or data and statistics alone.