Moving Pictures tells the story of a “Bigger Game” in the film industry. From this Fast Company article:
Participant Productions is the first film company to be founded on a mission of social impact through storytelling. But it’s no charity. It’s a pro-social commercial operation, a hybrid emblematic of the social-entrepreneurship movement. “Ultimately, the goal here is to build a brand around social relevance in media,” Skoll says. He staked the company $100 million for its first three years; every script is evaluated equally on its creative and commercial potential and its ability to boost awareness of one of six issues: the environment, health, human rights, institutional responsibility, peace and tolerance, and social and economic equity. For each project, Participant execs with nonprofit backgrounds reach out to public-sector partners, from the ACLU to the Sierra Club, for their opinions. If those partners don’t think they can build an effective action campaign around the film, it’s a no-go. At the same time, “It can’t be good-for-you spinach, or it’s not going to work,” says Participant’s president, Ricky Strauss, a former production and advertising exec at Columbia and Sony Pictures Entertainment. “The more mainstream the story, the more opportunity to make an impact.”
In the face of challenges ranging from global warming to threats to civil liberties, Skoll aims to inspire hope, then action. “Time and time again, you see this outpouring from people once they’re made aware they can do something,” he says. “That’s the principle that drives this company.”
Now, less than three years since it was founded, audienParticipant has gone from an unknown quantity to the force behind some of the most talked-about films of 2005 and 2006. Syriana (which took on the oil industry), Good Night, and Good Luck (McCarthyism and freedom of the press), North Country (sexual harassment), and the documentary Murderball (living with a disability) garnered a combined 11 Oscar nominations, with one win. An Inconvenient Truth, better known as “that Al Gore movie,” scored international headlines and sold-out opening audiences.
My comments: Bravo to Jeff Skoll and his vision, which is even grander – to make Participant Productions into a full blown media company – integrating the movies, the web, and TV. I think The Bigger Game Company should team up with Jeff Skoll!