Botfield offered Jennifer MacArthur’s definition of an Impact Producer: “one part sociologist, one part behavioral psychologist, one part historian, one part activist, one part publicist, one part fundraiser, one part program evaluator”.
“And no,” she added, “your office intern can’t do this.”
Botfield believes that partnerships between filmmakers, brands and philanthropic agencies can be found and put to work for the benefit of all parties.
Along with healthy financials, another marker of success is the greater awareness brought to a social issue that might otherwise garner little attention without the publicity and conversations a successful narrative or documentary film can deliver.
Such partnerships should be a win-win. Filmmakers get extra funding and access to a brand’s community for marketing; brands get associated with a social issue and positive exposure to the community; and agencies that are already working on particular social issues find in the film a champion for their cause.
Botfield challenges producers to be very clear about their intentions for a film with a social message, asking, “Do you know what you are trying to change?”
She also wants to see them translate those answers into action, to find and lobby relevant business and political interests, and to build and manage online communities of interest around an issue.
In an interview with Australia’s Inside Film, Botfield laid out the intention. “We begin as early as possible in the development of a project, always with an eye for those partnerships to be in the service of building communities and ultimately audience. We find the partners and manage the relationship throughout the life of the project.”