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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


Is the documentary film an effective and reliable communications tool for the social activist? It has often been used this way with varying results. This book will trace the history of the documentary film as an instrument of social change from its origins as non-fiction film in 1895 to the present detailing the users of the medium and their respective methods of production designed to influence those empowered to enact change. A parallel investigation into new digital technologies and affordances, particularly in the field of geomedia, will propose a new approach to documentary film production and presentation intended to augment its ability to inform and influence progressive social change.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-32508-4_1
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    “ActNow,” Crested Butte Film Festival, 2018. Link:

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    “Remediate”: The common definition is to remedy a situation, and while many will argue that the documentary is not in a state of disrepair requiring remedy, it will always benefit from enhancement; my use of the word “remediate” (and its various versions “remediating,” “remediated,” and “remediation”) throughout this book focuses more on the part of the word “media.” I propose a change to the traditional media of the documentary from a film viewed in a cinema or on television to a digital version as a multilinear project using Geographic Information Systems as a platform of exhibition and engagement, hence reMEDIAting the documentary film for the purpose of advancing its ability to inform and influence social change.

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    “Changemaker”: The individual or group ultimately responsible for making a change that benefits the society they represent, often a policymaker or lawmaker, but also a decision-maker, corporate head, board of directors, religious leader, or funding agency.

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    After this first paper, MacDonald changed the spelling of the term he coined from “eco-cinema” to “ecocinema.”

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    As Google has decided to discontinue Fusion Tables, the Youth Climate Report GIS Project has migrated to a new open-source platform offered by Google, known as My Maps . The new technology offers improvements to Fusion Tables such as extended affordances that enhance the project’s interface and presentation of information contained within the film units.


  • Bodenhamer, David J., John Corrigan, and Trevor M. Harris, eds. The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010. Print.

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  • Gaudenzi, Sandra. “User Experience Versus Author Experience.” In i-docs: The Evolving Practices of Interactive Documentary, ed. Judith Aston, Sandra Gaudenzi and Mandy Rose. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. Print.

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  • Nichols, Bill. Introduction to Documentary, 3rd ed. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press, 2017. Print.

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Correspondence to Mark Terry .

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Terry, M. (2020). Introduction. In: The Geo-Doc. Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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