The End of the Line: A Social Impact Evaluation

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The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation used evaluation and visual engagement techniques to document how “The End of the Line,” a documentary addressing the problem of overfishing our oceans, has impacted the debate in the UK surrounding sustainable fishing practices in England. The foundation conducted multiple entry/exit surveys at movie theaters in London collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, measured social media and press coverage, and conducted follow-up focus groups with the initial survey takers to determine the lasting impact of the film. Using the Fledgling Fund’s Creative Impact Social Media Continuum, the foundation was able to evaluate the social impact of the film within a defined set of parameters in the arenas of: Increased Public Awareness, Increased Public Engagement, Stronger Social Movement, and Social Change. In addition to measuring public awareness of fishing issues, the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation also measured how the film had affected individual buying habits and the larger policy debate. They found that grocers had changed their supply chain to accommodate an increased interest from the public in purchasing sustainably sourced foods and that sustainable fishing became a larger issue in policy debates in England. While they could not firmly link their film to these larger societal changes, their work contributes to future efforts to document the impact of creative media on social change. More than just documenting the social impact of the film, the evaluation report incorporates graphic design in order to share the results of their evaluation in an appealing and accessible format. Using dynamic colors, shapes, and fonts in a streamlined design, the film’s social impact evaluation report often looks more like a film itself than a typical evaluation report. The report’s innovative approach to reporting evaluation in a graphically appealing way effectively engages its audience by making the report’s information more easily understood and shared. The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation empowers documentary filmmaking with a strong focus on social justice issues. It provides funding, brokers new partners, and helps to build new business models for filmmakers to deploy. The foundation is actively addressing the need for concrete ways of tracking and evaluating the impact of documentary film by creating tools and evolving best practice.

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