Impact Media Research

Creative, Collaborative & Outreach Strategies for Nature, Environmental, Science Films

About Impact Media Research

The impact media research team is a subset of the larger Center for Environmental Filmmaking team. The research team is focused on understanding how filmmakers – those who specialize in environmental filmmaking as well as other filmmakers who create with social change in mind – can maximize the real-world impact of their films.

In 2020, the team published a comprehensive report that synthesized the research on exemplary strategies implemented by the most impactful nature, environmental and science films. The report uses what is termed Impact Spiral Framework to breakdown these strategies into three core categories: creative design, collaborative models and outreach strategies. 

More Information

To read about our research and this framework in detail, please refer to our Impact Media Research website, where you can download the full report.


Research & Case Studies

The Impact Spiral Framework outlines a non-linear and iterative process which allows filmmakers to think about the ways they can enhance the impact of their media. That is, the framework can and should be used throughout the preproduction, production and distribution stages.

Impact Spiral FrameworkThis framework can help you consider how you can involve local communities in the conceptualization of your films through collaborative and participatory models. It can also, for example, guide you in identifying the right emotional tone to use in your film in order to mobilize the audience toward climate action.

Additionally, the framework can aid you in determining the best outreach strategy. It encourages you to take into account how social media can be used innovatively to reach a wider audience in today’s digital communication landscape.

To ensure the effectiveness of the strategies you are employing throughout your filmmaking process, the Impact Media Report then provides you with tools you can use to assess impact at each stage of filmmaking.

The report also includes detailed case studies of effective nature, environmental and science films. To give you a little taste, here are some examples of films, about which we have written case studies:

Nomads PosterNómadas (2020) by Emiliano Ruprah 

Ruprah created the first all-Mexican production of a blue-chip natural history film and used it as an opportunity to train the next generation of local environmental filmmakers. 


Our_Gorongosa_Poster Our Gorongosa (2019)

This film features a Mozambican elephant ecologist, Dominique Gonçalves, who facilitates a mutually beneficial co-existence between the community that lives near the Gorongosa National Park and the elephants from the park. The film highlights the interdependence between the animal kingdom and humans. The filmmaking team has been promoting this message of interdependence through solar powered mobile cinemas that reach remote communities in Mozambique.

Beyond the case studies provided in our 2020 report, our team publishes new case studies on our Storytelling for Impact medium blog