Video’s “Call to Action” Power

Video’s “Call to Action” Power

This past weekend our documentary Delicious Peace Grows In A Ugandan Coffee Bean was privileged to be an Official Selection at Dallas VideoFest. It was a wonderful festival, spearheaded by Dallas film guru Bart Weiss and attended by countless film buffs around the city. In Bart’s comments during the Q&A that followed the screening, he noted the unrivaled power of film to tell a story, to put real human faces with real eyes and real smiles and real tears before an audience, to almost reach through the screen (even avec 3D technology!) to touch the hearts of those to whom the film subjects are trying to communicate.

Delicious Peace, narrated by actor Ed O’Neill who stars in the popular TV show Modern Family, focuses on Ugandan coffee farmers who are Christian, Jewish and Muslim and who formed a cooperative to build peaceful relationships and economic development. By partnering with Fair Trade coffee buyer Thanksgiving Coffee Company in California, the farmers’ dreams are materializing, even in the simplest of ways. More of them are able to send their children to school, buy tin roofs for their homes, and purchase mosquito nets to prevent malaria.

My hope is that by reading the last paragraph, you – anonymous readers out there – feel inspired to watch the documentary and buy the coffee – or at the very least, to check out the film’s website at But the written narrative today, even when embellished, seems to have a somewhat limited impact in comparison to the visual medium of video.

We set up a table at Dallas VideoFest outside the theater where the documentary screened to sell DVDs and 12 oz. bags of coffee, and within a few moments after the Q&A concluded, we found ourselves surrounded by folks who understood by watching the documentary that every sale helps JJ support his huge family, including many children he adopted after their parents died, mostly of AIDS. They saw the face of Samuel before them, knowing the difficulties he has encountered in finding food nutritious enough to support his large family. They thought about Awadi, who dreams of becoming a teacher. They understood that their support of these individuals and around 1,000 fellow cooperative members would ensure a better standard of living, which, in turn, would enhance the harmonious relations that had been forged through this co-op and would continue to improve the already delicious coffee product. And it was very clear to the documentary viewers that they had the power to do something to make all of that happen through the simplest of acts: buying the coffee. Within minutes we sold out of all the packages we had brought.

Video’s power to effect a “call to action” is incomparable.

Probably that’s a “duh-hey” to most people these days. But since I earn most of my living not through documentaries on the film festival circuit but through corporate video production as the president ofVoices & Visions Productions, I spend a good amount of time scouring the websites of companies I think would be interesting clients. Often I am surprised to find an absence of impactful (or any) video. Of course, many businesses don’t have JJ and Sam and Awadi narratives in their corporate histories. Nonetheless, I have rarely encountered firms that lack compelling stories of their own with the power to affect viewers like consumers or investors. Today, for instance, I researched a company working to build a net-zero energy community utilizing solar panels and wind energy. They have a high-quality website with lots of good information but no video. Putting myself in the shoes of a potential interested party, I wanted to see people with genuine eyes telling me how this project will help macrocosmically ensure a more environmentally sound future for my children and microcosmically perhaps lower soaring and often unaffordable energy costs. I wanted to hear the passion of the folks who are running the company sharing its uniqueness in the new energy frontier and their excitement about having the opportunity to play a significant role. I wanted to move beyond the informational stage, to have a response that moved me to take action. I wanted to see video.

BTW: Immediate upcoming venues where Delicious Peace will screen include the NJ Film Festival on October 10, the Cincinnati Film Festival on October 8 and 12, and the United Nations Association Film Festival in Palo Alto (at Stanford University) on October 30. More dates to follow. Hopefully, more coffee and DVD sales will follow too.

4 Responses to “Video’s “Call to Action” Power”

  1. bet365 Says:

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    • ellenfriedland Says:

      Thx for your interest! Pls repost any of the blogs you find interesting! I won’t find the time to write everyday, but I’ll try to get to it as often as possible. Your comment is certainly an inspiration!

  2. video production company Says:

    Great post.!I watched the video and I was really impressed.How I wish I could taste their coffee..Looks so delicious.

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