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Influence And Appreciation Of Film In Today’s Society

Copyright: Watershed/BFI Film Academy

Copyright: Watershed/BFI Film Academy

Laura on how films can change the world, and her journey to being part of that change.

Films. Everyone watches them.

Films. Everyone watches them. Everyone enjoys them. From psychological thrillers to rom-coms, film is a part of everyday life and the industry is developing and growing every single day. This results in the massive influence that film has on today’s society. Society is reflected in movies and in turn movies influence society by changes in representations, challenging audience’s morals and transforming viewers’ opinions. Despite the huge impact film has on today’s generation, people still think that film is not a form of art, wanting to work in the film industry is stupid and getting a degree/studying film studies or production is a waste of time and is disrespected in schools/unis.

As a student who wants to work in the film industry, I know first-hand how hard it can be to tell people you want to work in film.  A year ago if a teacher, family member or relative questioned me on what I wanted to do when I left college/sixth form, I’d reply with ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’ due to fear of embarrassment. When I had told people before, they would reply with ‘that’s not a proper job’ or ‘you’ll never make it.’

Now, in 2016, I tell people exactly what I aspire to do as I’ve realised how many opportunities are out there and how influential and important film is.

I’ve realised how many opportunities are out there and how influential and important film is.

A prime example of how influential film can be is after I finished a viewing of ‘The Danish Girl’ (Hooper, 2016) with a transgender friend, she decided to change her name to Lily as that was the name of the first transgender person who has changed her life, for the better, ever since.

Another example is 2013’s ‘Blackfish’ documentary (Cowperthwaite), which caused huge controversy on social medias over SeaWorld’s killer whales and has resulted in the stock price of Tilikum’s home park declining by 60% since the film was released. This amplifies the power of film whether it influences a personal or mass response.

Not only is film influential but it is a source of entertainment and escapism. Film combines music, stories and pictures all in one and it’s a way to forget the real world for 120 minutes or so but at the same time can give audiences a reality check.

Movies can create awareness about the importance of education, art, sports and politics and can also warn us about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and other criminal activities. It also brings us to understand more about other cultures, the atrocity of living homeless, and the countries who are in constant battle with war and terrorism. All these movie genres help awaken our sense of responsibly and empathy towards such situations. These socially enlightening movies help us understand the world and influences our thought process in a positive way and helps us try to do our bit in order to be of some help to humanity for example helping/donating to charities. In addition, films make our imaginations run wild. After finishing a movie, we think about the characters and the story and develop it further, maybe even thinking about what the characters would be doing after the movie finished. This develops our creativity and leads to writers producing Fanfiction and artists producing Fan art and sharing it with social media sites.

These socially enlightening movies help us understand the world…

Another response I’d receive when telling someone I want to work in the film industry is ‘only people in America or Hollywood work in film and you’re not going to be an actress are you?’ Yes, Hollywood is where some of the major blockbusters are made, however film is everywhere. There are so many opportunities out there and so many different jobs. From working in the art department to being a runner to being a scriptwriter – it takes a huge amount of people to create a film not just the actors and directors. Not only this but you can always make your own film in your own local area and share it with the world via social media sites as the Internet is the biggest platform to influence society.

If you’re reading this and have a passion and a dream to be working in the film industry I hope it has given you an insight into being able to achieve those goals and not being afraid to tell people that’s what you want to do, even though the person who you’re talking to may not understand, at the end of the day it will be you following your dreams and enjoying your future career. If you’re reading this as someone who just enjoys film, I hope it has given you an insight to the importance of film in today’s society and to respect other people’s dreams whether it be in film or any other industry.

Have you got your own film company? Are you looking to make your own films? Send us your stuff so we can look at it: @rifemag

Here are some Bristol-based filmmaking opportunities for young people