Actuality Media

Citizen’s Name: Robin Canfield

Company Name: Actuality Media

Position: Director

Tagline: Make Movies. Change The World

Location: Based in Orlando, Florida, USA and working worldwide.

What is Actuality Media all about?

We take students and emerging filmmakers to developing communities around the world to create short documentary films featuring changemakers that are working to solve social or environmental issues in innovative, sustainable ways.

How long have you been operating?

We have been running Documentary Outreaches since 2011.

Where did the idea start?

My co-founder (and now wife) Aubrie and I were looking for ways to bring well-deserved attention to changemakers implementing novel ideas to improve their communities. We were particularly interested in finding both sustainable ideas, and projects that people around the globe could adapt and replicate in their own community to solve similar problems.

Coming from a background of film on Aubrie’s side, and journalism on my side – making documentaries seemed like a great way to go. With Aubrie’s experience on previous study abroad programs for film students we knew we could construct a learning experience that would benefit both the crew and the subject of the films, and importantly – that our crews would create films they were proud to show to the world.

How do TOWNHALL Citizens or visitors get involved and are you open to collaboration? If so, what kind?

There are two ways to get involved with Actuality Media. First, we are always on the lookout for new changemakers we could feature in our short documentaries – and we’ve been looking at other TOWNHALL Citizens for that already, too.

Second, for our Documentary Outreach programs anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply. The majority of participants in our study abroad programs are university students, but we always have a mix of people from around the world, and of different ages and backgrounds.

Do you have any success stories?

Many of the changemakers we’ve worked with have won big awards – but that’s really their success, and we hope our film contributed to the attention that brought them that award or recognition.

For our own part, many of our documentaries have been featured in festivals around the world, as well as online and on television. One of our proudest moments was our 2013 film “Slum Dreams” winning the Slum Voice Award at the Slum Film Festival in Kenya – an award for accurately portraying life in the slums.

Do you have a project on TOWNHALL or an important event or mission coming up?

Most of our projects happen in the middle of the year so we are currently wrapping up our last projects of 2017, but by September we should have our new locations set and announced for our 2018 projects.

Are you raising funds for anything specific?

We are not raising funds for anything specific right now, but once we begin signing on crew members for 2018 some of them will definitely be fundraising to help cover the costs of participation in our programs.

Any interesting fact you can share?

A lot of study abroad programs go to the same location year after year for students to do the same work. It makes sense for a lot of programs, but not for us – we’re out looking for different subjects and new ideas, which means different locations for us every year. We have filmed in 16 countries so far on five continents, and we’re already hard at work figuring out where to next.

What’s the overall vision for Actuality Media?

There’s simply not enough positive media in the world, and we aim to change that. We want to add more annual programs and more locations to our catalogue and – importantly – we’re keeping to our standards of telling stories, not just presenting information. We guide our crews through a storytelling process that creates short documentary films that audiences will want to watch from beginning to end, not just click away from. And we want to make sure our partner changemakers can leverage the films, so we’ll keep putting them out for free even if distributors laugh at us for not charging to screen our films.

Anything else you’d like to add or that you think we should know?

All of our films are free to watch or to share. You can get to them through our website or directly at www.vimeo.com/actualitymedia

Website:

www.actualitymedia.org