shock value – charity video with impact

Genuinely surprising charity videos are a rarity but this week’s film from Parkinson’s NSW made me sit up. Simply made but with an ending that’s sure to shock this is a wonderful example of a charity video with impact.

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charity video with impact

Some people have found this film from Australian charity Parkinson’s NSW almost impossible to watch and it’s certainly a brave take on the charity awareness video.

It features a live operation on Andy, a Parkinson’s sufferer and it contrasts the apparently brutal intervention of open skull brain surgery with the fact that this is the best available treatment and the people who undergo it are the lucky ones.  There’s a sting in the tail that I won’t reveal but it actually made me exclaim on out loud when I watched it for the first time.  The film was directed by David Jagoda who’d undergone the same procedure 6 years ago. He’s also made a video about his experiences.


With a film as punchy as this it’s important to make sure it capitalises on the impact and reaches an audience. This film has been supported with a seeding campaign  on Facebook & Unruly and it also has  a microsite on with more video and an opportunity to donate. The PR campaign has also placed the protagonist Andy on Australian TV.


Made by We Are Content and directed by David Jagoda.


Use a real story: I think that one of the biggest un-tapped resourced charities have is the stories of their supporters and beneficiaries. Not everyone wants to take such an extreme approach but featuring people who are undergoing life changing events is a dramatic and deeply compelling way of explaining what your organisation does.


Documentary style: the impact of this film is enhanced by the way it’s shot and edited. Everything is done in the ‘precinct’ of the operating theatre: there are no interviews or scripted comments, no actors or graphics. It feels real and it is.


Planned impact: I’m sure the charity and the agency knew they were making something slightly controversial and made sure that the film would capitalise on this by arranging good PR and supporting the video with paid promotion on social media.

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London Video ProducersJeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

health video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

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