Why We’re Hosting A Solutions Global Short Docs

By Gemma Bradshaw, Director at One World Media

Filmmakers and journalists play a crucial role in bringing serious complex problems to global attention, like the climate crisis, conflict and poverty. While these stories and investigations are vital, there is a growing appetite from audiences for the media to play a role in reporting some of the solutions to these problems too.

Some media organisations have resources dedicated to solutions journalism. But there are many misconceptions about “positive” journalism. There is still a gap in understanding and enthusiasm for these stories to lead the news and current affairs agenda. From our research, we have found that this is particularly true in visual storytelling from the global south.

To kick-start a movement in solutions documentaries, we have launched the Global Short Docs Forum: Solutions Edition (GSDF), open to filmmakers everywhere. This programme is a pioneering training specifically for solutions-focused filmmaking in the global south. We will dedicate 50% of places at the Forum to such stories – stories of people solving social problems.

GSDF is an intensive training programme that culminates in matchmaking short documentary filmmakers with commissioners from international media organisations. This year, we are going bigger than ever to support filmmakers before they even apply to the Forum.

We know that solutions-oriented filmmaking is a new concept for many. So we are partnering with key players in the field to develop specialised training called GSDF Labs. This will be a mix of online sessions and in-person events at regional hubs in Colombia, Nigeria, Egypt, Bosnia and the Philippines. The Labs will mark the launch of the call for applications to the Forum, which will take place online in March 2023. At past Forums, filmmakers have been commissioned by outlets such as the BBC, Al Jazeera and CBC.

Ultimately we want to see more stories of creativity, effort, and persistence that help us understand what we can do to create change. If you are a filmmaker with a short documentary film idea you’re working on, we want to hear from you. We can help you develop the pitch and get it in front of media outlets with confidence.

At One World Media, we work with filmmakers and journalists globally to tell underreported stories that break stereotypes and reshape how we view the world. We believe solutions journalism is an important framework that can bring a more nuanced understanding and connection to communities everywhere.

These are not fluffy stories. They are stories that show us what works and what doesn’t, with evidence and context. We need to raise the profile of solutions journalism to broaden its appeal.