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Tracking the Impact of Films: “The End of the Line”

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 28th, 2011

Source: The Ecologist

From “The End of the Line: how a film changed the way we eat fish” by Tom Levitt and Ali Thomas:

A new report highlights the lasting impact of The End of the Line in raising awareness of unsustainable fishing practices – and illustrates how radical new film funding models can work.

More than one million people have now watched The End of the Line, a groundbreaking expose of the consequences of overfishing, according to an evaluation of the film’s impact. The film was the first major documentary to look at the impact of overfishing on the world’s oceans with a quarter of the world’s fish stocks being exploited to extinction and a further half at, or close to, their maximum capacity. It highlighted how many of well-known species, including bluefin tuna and cod, are likely to be extinct by 2048.

Although initially watched by less than 10,000 people in the cinema, the film managed to reach a much wider audience of 4.7 million in the UK through a combination of media coverage, strong campaigning – and later – TV screenings. It also inspired a wave of coverage of unsustainable fishing practices, including the recent TV series ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’.

A new report by the Britdoc Foundation said post-film campaign work around the documentary meant that for each film watcher, a further 510 people had heard about it. A quarter of a million people alone watched the film’s trailer on YouTube.

The team behind the film set up consumer focused websites ‘Seafood Watch Widget’ and ‘Fish to Fork’ to allow people to check on the sustainability of popular supermarket fish species. It also advised on restaurants selling fish species listed as endangered by the Marine Stewardship council (MSC).

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Read the full article (there’s lots more great detail) by Tom Levitt and Ali Thomas

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