Title: Using Social Media Platforms for Social Issue Documentary: A Case Study of “Let Kids Be Kids” in The Series “Weirdos”
Stream: Films and Digital Distribution (use of the internet and video sharing)
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Hao-Shen Lin, Kun Shan University, Taiwan
In 2020, several film directors in Taiwan launched a documentary project named “The Weirdo,” a collection of various short films themed on a wide range of social issues with an emphasis on diversity. Each film of the project was screened via social media to examine the impact of social issue documentaries on the unique platform of social communication. Documentaries, especially those with specific social topics, have long been seen to reflect, expose, challenge, or even change social realities. However, documentaries tackling complex issues usually cost much higher but are often less appealing to the majority of the audience on social media, who are more used to works that are faster, funnier, and easier to watch. Is social media the appropriate platform for films committed to social change? What adaption could be made if one wants to utilize it as a better tool for social issue documentaries? Based on the production and promotion experience from the short film “Let Kids Be Kids” in the project “The Weirdo,” this paper suggests that when choosing social media platforms as the primary communication channels, new modes of narratives that can secure the depth of the topic without sacrificing the attention and interests of the films are recommended. It also shows that connection and collaborations with the existing social organizations related to the film theme can be very beneficial in amplifying the social impact of a social issue documentary.
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