Producing : Do movies on social issues turn off people? by Shah Peerally

Shah Peerally
Paul Singh

I think the social issue that the story is about is what would be the determining factor. Some social issues are important and can be entertaining. Others just seem to cut right to the bone and make it very difficult to sit through.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Any social issue which is emotionally involving can drive a feature film, But you also must craft a good story. As someone said, Rita Mae Brown I think, 'A message without entertainment is propaganda. Entertainment without a message is television.' (For the record, in my view, this is too harsh an evaluation of TV, which often has shows which have a message and also are entertaining.) The point is that, if you want to send a message, you have to wrap it attractively in an entertaining story, and getting to such a story is, by far, the hardest aspect of making such a movie. In other words, don't get so wound up in the righteousness, the moral virtue, of your cause that you forget to write a good script.

Wayne C. Smith

Social issues with an emotional charge are a winner and may turn off some audiences initially but a well crafted storyline associated with a cause that touches the heart eventually wins over all audiences. True emotional dialog is founded in conflict not consent. - Wayne C. Smith, CEO

Shah Peerally

Thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate the comments!

Cindy Myskiw

I think they are actually Vitally important. Because there are so many issues that people still don't like to talk about out in the open. So it helps to get the conversation started and the awareness put out there when people can't speak for themselves.

KaiCarra Kc

Some movies that deal with social issues are great. Others, I just feel I'm being preached to and I resent that. And the others I really don't like are the ones who do not present themselves honestly -ie., a "documentary" of big cat families that is really a social commentary on feminism.

Padma Narayanaswamy

Yeah my scripts do have social issues and also entertain . women issues touch my heart .

Modern CinemaClassics

In our experience, yes. We've made a few.

Roy Lionheart

I avoid them to an extent, I stick with films I actually want to see.Would rather watch a film with a really good story, with a bit of action. Don't get me wrong, it's just I don't care for them.

Jesse V. Johnson

It is all a matter of how you tell your story - do it in an interesting way, and get your social issue message across in an original well thought out manner, find your hook, your angle and I'm there - make it tiresome and boring, and I'm gone. We live in an era of incredible distractions, you have to compete for your audiences attention - this goes for social issue commentary, too.

James Stewart

Can't speak for anyone else, but I confront reality on a daily basis and when I search for a movie to watch, I look for an escape from reality.

Signe Baumane

I don't think movies with social issues turn people off - otherwise, how would you explain increasing popularity of documentaries? YES, we like to be entertained, but entertainment can mean a lot of different things for different people. I personally like movies that make me think about something other than me and my miserable life. I loved "Wadjda" for that reason - it showed me a slice of life that I have never encountered before. For few weeks after watching the film I was cured from thinking about me and my petty problems.

Deb Havener

A good fictional movie can touch on an issue at it's heart. The Help is an example of social and racial class. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an example of animal welfare and ethical Science issues. The thing to keep in check is to NOT beat the audience over their collective heads with an opinion on an issue. That can make for a heavy-handed movie that feels more like a sermon than a piece of entertainment. A slightly tangent side note: To paraphrase Aristotle, art, above all else, should entertain. An issue that a writer is passionate about can be cleverly hidden within the storyline. This is a gentle way to introduce a perspective on an issue. My action thriller Blood Land (Nicholl quarter-finalist: is a dark,, commercial action/thriller - but at its heart, it''s a story about the extinction of a species.

J. Eric Sandoval

Depends upon the social issue because certain social issues are non-issues that cynical opportunists seek to rouse rabble with.

Eric Oliver

And depends what people -- audiences generally seem to like movies dealing with social issues more than financiers and distributors.

Omari Jackson

I have a great film I am bringing to the US from Trinidad and Tobago. It's called Between Friends. There are many social issues involved and audience responses have been great. We have an indiegogo campaign running and you can find more info on our website. click, support and enjoy the perks and the movie. Cheers

Benjamin M. Allotey

I think movies that deal with social issues work as the story is entertaining and not preachy or heavy handed. Lifetime shows a lot of movies that deal with social issues and they do quite well in the ratings.

Genevieve Thomas


Shaun O'Banion

Movies are a subjective medium. What turns one person off may fascinate or intrigue another. The key is to tell a good story, whether it be narrative or doc. Companies like Participant Media, for example, actively seek out projects with social relevance. There is plenty of room for all types of projects. Find a story worth telling, and tell it well.

Valerie Michele Oliver

If it touches a universal theme, is filmed in ways that grips people, and to which one connects on a deep emotional level, then people will share buzz about it (media and viral) and it will do well. If it gives us something to talk about (including "kick-ass" performances like in Dallas Buyers Club), then yes, I believe social issue movies can be successful and we want to watch them.

Gary Tucker

Yes and No. Social issues are by natural controversial because we as people don't always share similar P.O.V.'s, values and/or mindsets. Therefore it is also natural for people to revert to wanting to be entertained or just escape because maybe they feel that they deal these on a daily basis. But if there is no dialogue on a "problem" or a "concern", it might spiral into something a lot more serious and potentially dangerous if not exposed. Movies are not just a source of entertainment, but of information as well.

Eric Oliver

A great example of an entertaining movie dealing w/ social issues that was tough to finance and sell because of it, but got made and has been getting around because of the very reasons Valerie (no relation, by the way :) mentioned is my brother's little film (now on dvd, vod, and netflix) :)

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