The Best Social Change Documentaries of 2013
By Films For Action / filmsforaction.org
Feb 24, 2014

2013 was another incredible year for fantastic, forward thinking social change films.

More films pushing the envelope of creative thinking. More films giving a voice to the cutting edge ideas and perspectives of the global movement for a better world. More films telling the big meta story of our lives - the story of humanity at this point in the Earth's history.

In the films you can watch below, you'll see visions of many possible futures - visions of what could be, the possible, the beautiful, and also visions of dystopia, of climate collapse and social breakdown.

You'll see stories of the resistance to empire, to the front lines of battleground communities where people are uniting to fight against the old story of empire. And you'll see deep looks into the present struggle of the modern war and surveillance state as it seeks to maintain control.

But illusions to this mass insanity are shattering. People are waking up. They're fed up with what they see on TV and they're tuning into alternative media. The narrative that once gave meaning to empire is losing its hold. People are tuning in to the new story.

That's what we love about documentaries right now. They are capturing the drama and beauty and danger and hope that all exists right now in this moment. What is happening right now on Earth - the history of the world up to this point constitutes the greatest drama of all time. Add up the best plot-lines from Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and all the rest and it still can't come close.

Enjoy!

 

Join acclaimed director Velcrow Ripper on a journey deep inside the global revolution of the heart that is erupting around the planet. Humanity is waking up to the fact that the dominant system of power is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning. The resulting crisis has become...
85 min
 
Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview is a documentary exploring the depths of the current human condition and the emergence of a worldview that is recreating our world from the inside out. Weaving together insights and findings from biology, psychology, network science, systems science...
65 min
 
Money & Life is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity? This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money...
86 min
 
An extraordinary work by a gifted filmmaker, "Counter-Intelligence" shines sunlight into the darkest crevices of empire run amok. The film vividly exposes a monstrous and unconstitutional "deep state" in which multiple competing chains of command -- all but one illegal -- hijack government...
360 min
 
Will Work For Free is a documentary by Sam Vallely on the subject of technological unemployment. This work is protected under fair use and will always be free. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willworkforfree For information on RBE(Resource-Based Economy)...
126 min
 
This is a film based on the book "Death of the Liberal Class" by journalist and Pulitzer prize winner, Chris Hedges. It charts the rise of the Corporate State, and examines the future of obedience in a world of unfettered capitalism, globalisation, staggering inequality and environmental...
51 min
 
'Connected' is a film made by Paul and Kate Maple, a UK based couple who have made it their lives for the last 4 years. Worried about the future and the seemingly insurmountable mountain of problems in the world, Paul and Kate decided to ditch their busy lives and start working out if there...
42 min
 
Highly anticipated documentary from director Robert Greenwald on the impact of the U.S. Drone Wars, at home and abroad. Tell your friends Donate Action Guide
63 min
 
Red Cry is an original, feature-length documentary film chronicling the lives of Lakota Elders and Oyate (people) in the face of ongoing genocide against the Lakota by government and corporate interests. The incendiary film is the result of a historic collaboration between traditional...
111 min
 
What's the problem with the world economy? It's debt -- too much personal debt -- too much corporate debt -- and most importantly, too much government debt. "People have a natural tendency to want to spend now and pay later. They will usually take any type of loans offered. It's the same for...
120 min
 
War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State highlights four cases where whistleblowers noticed government wrong-doing and took to the media to expose the fraud and abuse.
66 min
 
It's the dirty little secret of the War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government--condoned torture occur in corners across the globe, generating...
86 min
 
An interactive film about permaculture in the tropics, with education and inspiration as the main threads running through this hour-and-a-half-documentary. We remind you subtitles are available! Visit http://www.seedsofpermaculture.org for more information and extra features. On the website you...
88 min
 
This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on July 15, 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and footage never before seen. Since the end of May 2013, political unrest has swept...
32 min
 
The Internet Must Go is a video mockumentary which follows the character John Wooley, a market researcher who tries to come up with a plan for how internet service providers can try to market what internet access would look like without network neutrality protections. The concept is...
30 min
 
Blockadia Rising: Voices of the Tar Sands Blockade is an hour-long documentary film written and directed by Garrett Graham in collaboration with the Tar Sands Blockade and features exclusive video footage shot by the blockaders themselves during the course of over six months of sustained...
53 min
 
Like most people, Bill (environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org), is not an activist by nature. There’s really not that many people whose greatest desire it to go out and fight the system. His theory of change was that he’ll write his book, people will read it and they’ll change. But that’s...
40 min
 
A film by brother/sister duo, Sam and Kate Fulbright to take a closer look at what climate change really means in the United States, and dive beyond the daunting numbers and graphs to meet the people and communities effected by the problem of climate change.
56 min
 
As the world’s agriculture and food systems face a crisis of disappearing seed diversity, a new short film tells the story of how African farming communities and organisations are reviving traditional seed diversity across the continent, and resisting mounting corporate pressure to use...
36 min
 
Words From The Edge is a film about the unprecedented transition that we are undergoing from a culture of industrial growth and inequality to what must inevitably be more localised, sustainable, living economies. It's a film about what this shift involves, and what we need to do to get there.
Documentary - 50 min
 
 
20 films not enough? Yea we thought so too. Here are some more films from 2013 that we haven't seen yet and want to see.
 
 
United Natures - a United Nations of all species. A feature length documentary on the rights of mother earth, ecocide, permaculture, community, peak oil, climate change, carbon tax, skeptics, hypocrites, wisdom, jubilee and environmental philosophy and spirituality with an amazing cast of...
103 min
 
Freedom is a film about a deep quest for total freedom. The quest takes 12 steps and they are based on the 12 signs of the zodiac, although you don't necessarily see that unless you know more about them. Anyway it is a personal quest for freedom that doesn't stop with easy answers.
72 min
 
On every continent, women are taking the lead to protect and restore the natural environment, and are empowering others to respect the earth. Arise presents the stories of a diverse group of 13 women in five countries who have initiated solution-oriented environmental projects in their...
2 min
 
In the midst of our nation's commercialized food system, a small family farm fights for a sustainable future by growing food, growing relationships and growing communities. Coming December 2013.
35 min
 
Everyday Rebellion is a documentary about the power of the peaceful protests and the new forms of civil disobedience in a time of global upheaval. Featuring Femen, The Yes Men, Srdja Popovic, Reverend Billy And The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, John Jackson, Monica Hunken
4 min
 
The Ghosts in Our Machine is a journey of discovery into what is a complex social dilemma, one that needs to be considered morally significant. In essence, humans have cleverly categorized non-human animals into three parts: domesticated pets, wildlife, and the ones we don’t like to think...
3 min


Surely there are more films from 2013 that deserve a place in the spotlight here. What films from 2013 did we miss? Let us know and we'll keep the page updated with your recommendations.
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The Best Social Change Documentaries of 2013