Films For Action: Providing a Go-To Resource for the Best Social Change Videos Free to Watch Online
By Films For Action / filmsforaction.org
Jul 16, 2012

With excellent independent media sites like Common Dreams, Truth Out, Grist, and others providing progressive news and perspective in written form, Films For Action has dedicated itself to filling in the progressive video niche.

"It's probably the most comprehensive collection of videos dedicated to social change online," says Tim Hjersted, co-founder and director for the project.

"With the overwhelming amount of junk-food-news and political gossip out there, people have really grown hungry for diverse, nutritious information. We've spent hundreds of hours looking for videos all over the internet so that we could catalog the best of these all in one place. After 6 years adding only the best gems, the website has become a treasure trove for people wanting to learn about what's really going on in the world."

Founded in 2006, Films For Action is a non-profit organization that works both on an international and local level to raise awareness of important social, environmental, and media-related issues not covered by the mainstream news. Locally, the group has organized dozens of documentary film screenings, bringing in crowds from 60 to 400 people. Many of the screenings have been used as a spring-board to launch action-oriented campaigns, including the opposition of a 2nd Wal-Mart coming to town, a street protest against the Iraq war led by Iraqi war veterans, and the introduction of a Peak Oil Resolution to the Lawrence, KS city commission, which was successfully passed in 2008.

All and all, through the group's website and its local city chapter efforts, the goal is to empower citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

The site has 40 special coverage areas, including activism, big media, corporations, climate change, community, human and animal rights, media literacy, economics, education, politics, peak oil, sustainability, permaculture, solutions, big ideas, vision, war & peace, and more.

"With so much content to discover on the site, accessibility was key," says Mason Umholtz, the team's Chicago-based graphic designer. Umholtz spent months teleconferencing with Hjersted to reach the site's new visual look, which was launched in November 2010.

"A lot of news and activist sites can be intimidating, too cluttered or clogged up with ads. Oftentimes the content is great but the clunky interface or presentation turns people away. It was essential for us to create an esthetic and a user-experience that was attractive, familiar, and easy to use."

The site boasts an extensive feature list, drawing on many of the best innovations in web 2.0 design and social media connectivity. Member profiles can be created easily with Facebook Connect, and include messaging, notifications, and the ability to follow your friends' activity on the site. The site also allows anyone to contribute content, while a democratic voting system gives users the power to help decide what content is featured on the homepage. Several other features are dedicated to the site's city chapter areas, including local events, local news coverage, and a directory for local activist groups.

All of these features were brought to life by the team's computer programmer, Eli Dragen, who saw the potential for the project to take on a national and global focus.

"After four years focusing the project on efforts in Lawrence and seeing the success we'd had, we realized that the needs our own city had for better media was true everywhere,” Dragen said.  “Most organizations are strapped for technical resources and can't afford to hire a Web designer to create a robust news site from scratch, and so far, none of the ‘website-out-of-a-box’ solutions, like Word Press or Blogger have focused on activist functionality. With the new site, we've made it easy for anyone to create a local chapter dedicated to providing indy-media for their city."

Matt Toplikar, a co-founder and editor for the project, believes the site may become an essential part of the existing independent media ecosystem.

“Addressing the inadequacies of the mainstream media is a huge job," said Toplikar, who works in the film and TV industry out of Albuquerque, N.M. "And so far dozens of excellent media groups have risen to the challenge. But there still wasn't a site dedicated to social-change film and video yet, which is what we hope to provide."

"We want it to be a place you can go to easily research all these important issues, and when you have a big discovery, you can easily share that with your friends. I've often found that it can be difficult to get a friend to read a book or even an article you recommend, but they'll be much more likely to watch a video. If you can find a video that gets your point across, and your friends watch it, and then they share it with their friends, it can be a really great way for an idea to go viral pretty fast."

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 10,455 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 6,061 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,113 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 1,496 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,172 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 873 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
What Is a Gift Economy? - Alex Gendler
4 min · 755 views today · What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 673 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 595 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Union Co-Operatives: What They Are and Why We Need Them
Simon Taylor · 448 views today · Neoliberal policies contribute to alienation, disempowerment and non-unionised jobs, but a new model for unions could break the vicious circle, argues Simon Taylor.
Why I Think This World Should End
4 min · 368 views today · Sorry if this offends you. - Prince Ea
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 298 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 263 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 246 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 243 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
The Myth of Romantic Love May Be Ruining Your Health
Susanne Vosmer · 193 views today · Romantic love in Western societies is often portrayed in a stereotypical way: two yearning halves, who search for each other to find their complete, original state. Few find...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 192 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 184 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 174 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Here's How We're Going to End Factory Farming
2 min · 172 views today · Factory farming is a huge problem. But the solution is simple, if you'll join us. Watch this short 2 minute video to see how... Help make a kinder world possible...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Films For Action: Providing a Go-To Resource for the Best Social Change Videos Free to Watch Online