With documentary features like Whose Streets?, 13th, The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, Always in Season and John Lewis: Good Trouble, there are plenty of films to serve as a source to drive civic — and civil dialogue about pressing issues that are super-relevant to today’s landscape when it comes to racism — particularly the treatment of the Black community and police violence. The Center for Media & Social Impact released a study that proves all of this right.
The study is titled “Breaking the Silence: How Documentaries Can Shape the Conversation on Racial Violence in America and Create New Communities” and was conducted in early 2020 — before the world turned to an orb of flaming garbage spiraling into a bottomless pit of despair.
In order to measure the impact of documentaries on civic conversation, the participatory research project focused on communities’ responses to the aforementioned Always in Season, the film directed Jacqueline Olive that explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. “Breaking the Silence” engaged more than 200 participants in seven geographically and politically diverse U.S. cities located in close proximity to news deserts. It found that at a time of unprecedented levels of media mistrust, Always in Season provided a “true portrayal of a real problem.”
Now that’s edutainment!