Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.
Our mission is to empower citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more compassionate, just, regenerative, and democratic society.
Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.
Over the last 16 years, we've curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.
During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members.
One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by community donations. We don't accept any government or corporate funding, and the dozens of emails we get every week asking us to put ads or sponsored posts on the site just go in the trash bin. The Pay-Per-View films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers.
To thank our $5/mo patron subscribers, we partner with filmmakers to provide access to a growing number of films that are unavailable for free. With just over 35 highly-curated films at the moment, it's basically a mini "Netflix for world changers," but its main function is to support the library as a whole, which is 99% free.
Want to become a patron? Subscribe here. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time.
If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker looking to collaborate, feel free to get in touch.
Create an account to submit videos to our library, save your favorite films, and join our growing community of people who want to be the media!
Tim Hjersted - Director. Co-Founder. Lawrence, KS.
Eli Dragen - Website Developer. Co-Founder. Lawrence, KS.
Andrew Butler - UK Editor. Bristol, UK.
Mason Umholtz - Art Direction / User Experience. Co-Founder. San Francisco, CA.
Matthew Toplikar - Editor. Co-Founder. Albuquerque, NM.
Sara Wilder - Homepage Redesign (2019). Lawrence, KS
Quick Start Guide
To start browsing, interact with the Explore button to filter content by type and 34 topics such as food, sustainability, economics, solutions, or big ideas. You can then sort your selections by most viewed, top-rated, or newest first. Selections stack, so you can combine these options to view Top-Rated Documentaries about Economics, for example.
Help us keep the quality of the site high by rating content 1-5 stars.
Add videos to our library! Half of our best content was added by members.
Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to get in touch.
Want to support us and watch some great films in the process? Our $5/mo Patrons get access to a growing number of our favorite documentaries.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for updates.
Films For Action offers a complementary alternative to transactional VOD services by Vimeo, Youtube, iTunes, and Amazon.
If your film was made to encourage positive social change, Films For Action is one of the best places to sell your film.
Patron Films (SVOD)
Films For Action hosts a mini-subscription service that currently offers over 30 highly-curated films to Patron supporters donating $5 per month. Become a Patron here. If you're a filmmaker or distributor and would be interested in adding your film(s) to our Patron Films library, please contact us to learn more about our licensing model.
Films For Action's Vision for the Future
Does Films For Action Have Bias? - a Statement About Neutrality and Our Values
Films For Action: How We Plan to Help Catalyze a Global Paradigm Shift
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Wall of Films! - 500 Activist Documentaries on 1 Page
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Praise for FFA
"Such important content being shared here. Films for Action is the Netflix for a maturing culture." - Rob Cruz
"I’m blown away by the diversity and importance of all that you offer. I’ll be sharing your site with friends and family and may subscribe. Thank you SO much for your efforts to get these important ideas and perspectives out into the world. Sowing good seeds…" - Libby Hopkins
"I have shared your website and films with many colleagues and college teacher organizations. You are to be commended for your dedication to so many causes and initiatives. You are a national resource for all of the right reasons." - Ned Eckhardt
"Never doubt the impact of a film or documentary, and by extension the work FFA does. A top top site of all time in my opinion. A sincere thank you. If more people watched the films here we'd live in a different world." - Nich Roberts
"I'm thrilled to have discovered your site! The work you and your organization are doing is so important." - Anna Kilcullen, librarian
"You’re the best thing going on FB!" - Caroline Carrie Humiston Earhart
"You guys are the creme de la creme among activist journalists. You have created a global community of like minded people who up till a few years ago lived in isolation, and felt there was no hope for our world. We now have a forum where we feel free to express, watch and read things that are really inspiring. This in itself is such an empowering, imaginative act.. There will always be disgruntled critics of our views. Some of them as troubled about the state of things as anyone else. We can embrace them too." - Sushma Sagar
"Films for Action is outstanding! Thanks so much for creating this incredible tool!" - Elisa Beck
"I love how different people from all over the world are coming here to watch amazing films, write and discuss. Greetings from Lithuania!" - Danny Crowe
"Films for Action has made me more informed and more effective in my activism. I don't think I could live without it." - Terry Knepp
"Thanks for this website, I can't believe I only just found it. It's a great treasure!!! Kind regards from the Netherlands" - Ellis
"I have been following FFA for a while now and it has been the single best source for mind expanding information I can find. I often am working when I browse, so being able to listen (and occasionally watch) a film is an excellent way for me to keep expanding during my busy day. I am fairly entrenched in the new story (while still keeping one foot (and one eye) in the old corporate story) and I find that your content is always either topical or on the cutting edge of the various movements going on out there. It helps me keep in touch with what I know and learn about those causes and struggles of which I am yet not aware. I just made a small donation. Sorry it is not more. Keep up the good work." - Chris Dietrich
"Hey I really appreciate your site! I put my new climate change documentary up yesterday and I am getting tons of views suddenly ("tons" by my standards at least). It's a wonderful website and it means so much for progressive filmmakers to have a way to present their work to the right audience. So thank you! And I'll make a little contribution too. Peace and solidarity." - Jake Freydont-Attie
"I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the content you provide, the access to reliable media sources that truly tell the real story, and for continuing to remind me and others that it is us who have the power to change the world for the better. Just a few minutes of looking at people's comments drives me too easily to anger and/or a stiff drink, and yet your replies are always informed, professional and inspiring. You guys have the patience of saints... just without all the dogma and martyrdom bullshit. So thank you! You are important. Keep it up. xx Peace and love and light and good stuff." - Ray Gunn Matthews
"I've been a follower of your website and its various contents for about a year now, and want to tell you that the knowledge I've gained and continue to gain from this is immense. It's amazing to see that there are already solutions for so many of our current problems, and so many inspiring people working towards a better world." - Sascha Boden, Germany
"Love you and your posts. You are the real revolutionaries." - Doruk Doğrular
Films For Action is building a people-powered media library for changing the world.
In the past, we relied on the corporate media to tell our stories and represent us and our movements. We relied on them to be the voice of planetary and human concerns, and in that mission, they have failed, again and again, year after year.
Traditionally, protests were used to raise awareness of an issue that society, the government, or the media was ignoring — it was a way for ordinary people to reach the ears of a corporate media that would not listen or tell our stories unless we staged a ruckus. But over time, even well-organized protests frequently failed to generate the media exposure they deserved.
Observing this, our strategy is to sidestep our dependence on the corporate media altogether by doing their job ourselves.
Films For Action is about reclaiming the power of the media and bringing it under the people’s control. We create our own media and tell our own stories, and we use social media to share and broadcast our messages out to millions of people. So long as the internet remains free, we can do it ourselves — from creation to distribution, we can make the old corporate media giants obsolete.
Films For Action is one node in a vast web of interconnected and allied independent media voices. Our library serves as a clearinghouse for thousands of voices, perspectives, filmmakers and writers who are creating media for a better world.
Our job is to help amplify that media via our website and social media, and millions of people help us by resharing what we share and adding content directly to our library.
Our site today is 100% ad-free and 100% member supported via our Patreon campaign and Subscribers, which currently supports 1 full-time staff member and 1 part-time website programmer.
It's a small ship, but we manage to accomplish a lot, thanks to our supporters around the world!
Films For Action is a beautiful example of people-powered media in action.
We imagine a world that's deeply participatory, more decentralized, less hierarchical, and ecologically healing in ways that the present system cannot offer. Our fire burns for a vision of a global paradigm based on trust and cooperation rather than fear and competition.
We believe that the primary nexus of focus for our efforts will come from the transformation of cities - culturally, ecologically, and economically. We envision a future where cities have become not just sustainable, but ecologically regenerative, just and thriving places to live for both humans and the rest of nature. What is inspiring to us is knowing that the solutions necessary to make this happen already exist. Whether in Lawrence, Kansas, where Films For Action got started; in Curitiba, Brazil; or in Samso, Sweden - transformational solutions already exist. They are in development all over the world, by millions of people and thousands of organizations.
This movement has no name - no "ism" to tie us all together. There is no single manifesto that articulates our vision in a single language. In its place, we have a thousand different ways of articulating this vision, spoken in the words of every language. However, the vision we share of a better future is common. We just need to connect the dots.
We support the Defend the Sacred manifesto. We support the 10 principles of Radical Ecological Democracy. We support the Earth Charter, the Next System Project, the Leap Manifesto, Transition Towns, The Zeitgeist Movement, Bioneers, Ecocities, the philosophy behind permaculture, solarpunk, non-violent communication, and many more like-minded expressions of what we believe represents a common-shared vision of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
This idea that "I am because you are" - that "your happiness is my happiness" - this is the guiding principle of love, of Ubuntu that is what keeps our feet moving and our hearts in action. We are all one human family in relationship with each other and the rest of the community of life on Earth. We seek power with, not power over.
We celebrate the diversity of peaceful cultures that exist across the globe while recognizing our underlying unity. We stand against the homogenization of the world in all its various forms - this toxic belief in the 'one right way,' which has been responsible for all of the colonialism and conquest and subjugation we have seen in the past.
We believe that the old way should not be replaced with a new best way (which would be a repeat of the old way) - but rather 10,000 new and ancient ways of living. There is no one solution to the world's problems. There are 10,000 solutions, 10,000 ways of life - and we need them all.
But do you know what we need most of all? We need you. We need people who have come alive, people who are pursuing their passions and sharing their gifts, people who are dreaming of a better world and putting their dreams into action.
They say many hands make light work, and we need all of us helping our 'movement of movements' in whatever way feels right for each other. We need both a diversity of tactics and a diversity of efforts. We need people challenging the old and building the new, in all the different ways this is possible. The more we can see this and support each other and see how our efforts complement each other, the stronger we'll be.
Want to Get Involved?
Visit our Get Involved page for several ways to contribute! We love to see new video submissions from our members.
Knowledge Wants To Be Free
Like millions of others in the Creative Commons movement, we believe knowledge should be free to flow and self-replicate.
We believe decentralized information replication across the internet strengthens our collective knowledge networks, like healthy fungi networks distribute information under the soil and protect whole forests above.
That's why we publish all our original works by ourselves or members under a Creative Commons 4.0 license, while a majority of our library is sourced from like-minded filmmakers, writers, and media groups that support the same spirit.
Hat tip to Common Dreams, Democracy Now!, Waging Nonviolence, Yes! Magazine, Open Democracy, Resilience, Sustainable Human, Share The World's Resources, The Conversation, Charles Eisenstein, Guerilla Translation, The Economics of Happiness, and many, many more!
This ethos is also why all our TVOD and SVOD partnerships with filmmakers are always non-exclusive. We want these films to be seen by as many people as possible, so the more places people can watch them, the better! We're also rooting for the success of other activist film initiatives like ours (see below for a few examples) because we see their success as our success. The business mindset of competition and win-lose thinking (especially among non-for-profit and mission-focused initiatives) is part of the old paradigm that we need to move away from. Bring on the age of cooperation and win/win thinking, we say! It's time.
Video Streaming: OVID | Films For Change | Uplift | Free Speech TV | Cinema Politica | Waterbear
News: Democracy Now! | Common Dreams | Real News Network | Truthout
Perspectives: Resilience | Yes Magazine! | Open Democracy | Waging Nonviolence | Tikkun | New-Compass | Adbusters | Jacobin
Groups: Local Futures | Bioneers | Radical Film Network | Pachamama Alliance
“Independent media is dangerous because it allows people to speak for themselves. And when you hear someone speaking from their own experience - whether it's a Palestinian child or an Israeli grandmother or an uncle in Afghanistan or a refugee in the Calais refugee camp - it changes you. It breaks the sound barrier. It challenges the stereotypes and the caricatures that fuel the hate groups. You may not agree with what you hear - I mean, how often do we even agree with our family members? - but you begin to understand where they're coming from. That understanding is the beginning of peace. I really do think that the media can be the greatest force for peace on Earth. Instead, all too often, it is wielded as a weapon of war. We have to take the media back.” - Amy Goodman, Place to B at COP21
We deeply resonate with the visions and solutions of countless organizations and movements, like Bioneers:
As a community of leadership, Bioneers is helping disrupt our current failed institutions by offering people better choices. We show a compelling vision, successful models and “the how.” We’re working to rapidly spread, adapt and scale the abundant models and solutions that already exist, and seed new ones.
Like a prism channeling sunlight, Bioneers is focalizing this treasure trove of community wisdom, skillfulness, vision and values into beams of action to help realize this global shift to a restored world. It comes down to growing the national and global movement of movements, which Bioneers reflects and embodies. It’s going to take you and every one of us. In this time, we’re all called upon to be leaders — and leadership resides in community.
It’s bottom up and top down — all hands on deck to generate the biggest and fastest economic, industrial, political and cultural transformation in history.
- We can reach 100% clean energy by radically increasing energy conservation and ramping up distributed renewable energy with off-the-shelf technologies.
- We know how to feed the world using ecological agriculture that sequesters carbon, restores natural capital and builds local economies and jobs.
- We’re rapidly learning how to apply nature’s designs with biomimicry, green chemistry, cradle-to-cradle production, living buildings, smart growth and traditional Indigenous knowledge in a next industrial revolution.
- We’re highlighting ways to use water wisely and fairly, and protect our watersheds.
- We’re reinventing governance that challenges corporate constitutional rights and institutes rights for nature.
- We’re creating models of democratic governance that distribute ownership and access.
- We’re advancing racial and gender justice, supporting women’s leadership, and building beloved community in a culture of pluralism.
- We’re cultivating a global wisdom culture that embraces human diversity and an expanded sense of kinship that includes the web of life.
Together we can move the world from breakdown to breakthrough. Please join with us in this revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart. Future generations are counting on us. - Bioneers