Development on Film

by Developed Africa 29. August 2013 09:00

An interesting article from Humanosphere discussed the portrayal of development in the media and film

The article from Humanosphere is loosely linked to the two previous blog posts, in that it discusses the medias portrayal, and thus, the public's perception of development and world issues.

It brought to my attention the awful fact that media stations (in America) have, and will, turn down media stories or documentary series with a development focus because they do not bring in enough viewers. This is an incredibly worrying fact, as without media coverage such as documentaries, where will the average American be learning about development around the world? And the article answer? Hollywood.

It is important to not completely dismiss the possibility of a film being able to reach out and properly bring development issues to people's attention. But the worrying factor is how they are depicted and portrayed, and to what extent they are a main part of the film. Also, a misleading film on a development topic could convince many that that is what is actually going on, and therefore they will care less, or take a misinformed stand point on an important matter.

Reporting on Africa does not get much attention in the US, but a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio about Sierra Leone does."

But all too often the development story fades into the background and is often over-simplified so that it pushes the story of the film along, whilst not being too over-bearing. Whilst this may not always be the end of the world, it can perpetuate a false image of development. Not only this, but the article argues that 

City of God depicted gang violence in Brazil's slums in a way that oversimplified an increasingly complex and difficult situation. Such a film, say the authors, can influence poor policies by foreign nations"

Whether or not films have this much power of persuasion is unclear, but it is evident that something should be done about the poor coverage of development news getting through to the American public.

 

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