Activist Documentary Filmmaking for the United Nations, 2020

The Wilfred Laurier Student Film Workshop 2020 produced eight mini-documentaries on climate change that were added to The Youth Climate Report.

The Student Life Levy program 2020-2021  “Activist Documentary Filmmaking for the United Nations” at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada saw eight students create mini-documentaries under the tutelage of Dr. Terry. All student films have been added to The Youth Climate Report GIS map in 2020. View the excellent efforts of the student filmmakers below:

The 2021 Planetary Health Film Lab Micro Film Festival

Click here to watch the hour-long Planetary Health Film Lab Micro Film Festival featuring Canadian Indigenous Youth

This one-hour event showcased four short films made by Indigenous youth who participated in this year’s edition of The Planetary Health Film Lab, hosted by the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. Each film runs between three and seven minutes in length and profiles Indigenous perspectives, impacts, and solutions to planetary health issues in their communities. This event, hosted by the project coordinator and instructor, Dr. Mark Terry, took place remotely via Zoom, September 13th, 2021. All four films were screened consecutively with a question period with the filmmakers following the screenings. 

Indigenous Filmmakers participating in the 2021 Planetary Health Film Lab:

Serra Black from Yellowknife, North West Territories – Age 25 – ‘The Price of Gold’ (7:00 min.)

Emily McCallum, from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, & Barrie, ON – Age 18 – ‘Will There Be Another Rainy Day?’ (3:05 min.)


Christopher Akiwenzie from Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario – Age 25 – ‘Adikameg and Ice’ (4:10 min.)

Jessie Yakeleya from Tulita, North West Territories – Age 27 – ‘In the Future, That’s What’s Going to Happen, I Think’ (3:34 min.)



YCR Receives 2020 UN SDG Action Awards Honourable Mention

2020 UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards honouring those who MOBILIZE, CONNECT and INSPIRE

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world: GOAL 1: No Poverty  GOAL 2: Zero Hunger  GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being  GOAL 4: Quality Education  GOAL 5: Gender Equality  GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation  GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy  GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth  GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure  GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality  GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities  GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production  GOAL 13: Climate Action  GOAL 14: Life Below Water  GOAL 15: Life on Land  GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions  GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards acknowledge initiatives demonstrating significant impact, creativity, innovation, and replicability. In December of 2020, the UN SDG Action Award finalists were announced after over 800 projects were submitted. In January of 2021, those also making notable contributions, but ineligible for the award due to Government and/or United Nation affiliations, receive ‘Honourable Mentions’.  Watch Video

Honourable Mentions of the 2020 UN SDG Action Awards, which salute some of the “most transformative and impactful initiatives of 2020”, include:

Mobilizing youth to report on climate through the power of film 

The Youth Climate Report mobilizes under-represented youth to share their stories about climate using film and digital mapping technology. Over 450 films have been produced, of which 60 have been screened at several COP’s. Dr. Mark Terry first created and introduced this GIS Map project to the United Nations Environment Programme in 2011. It is an evolving, multilinear, data delivery system to which students from around the world have contributed three-minute videos highlighting environmental issues in their community or country. Dr. Terry and the UNEP curate each video to ensure it meets the criteria of tackling that year’s one of two choices of environmental subjects on which to base their mini film. Dr. Terry is the first Canadian to receive such an honour from the SDG Action Awards and we hope to see more spotlighted for their efforts. See the ‘Happening To Us’ Trailer

Utilizing the latest app technology to increase SDG awareness and accelerate progress through individual acts of change

Samsung’s Global Goals app highlights how simple actions can build a more sustainable future for all. This app helps to increase awareness of the 17 Global Goals and their progress through individuals doing their part. The education and donation-based app connects millions of users to critical information about each of the Goals and how to easily make a difference. It is innovation and inspiration and a supportive atmosphere at your fingertips and has been downloaded to over 80 million Galaxy smartphones worldwide.

Making the Goals more accessible and relatable to people everywhere through creative media campaigns

The hit song ‘Let Me Be The One’ attached to the Be the One Campaign has reached over 21 million people. The leadership training program has been delivered to over 9,500 change-makers in 156 countries. “Making the Sustainable Development Goals more accessible, easy to understand, and relatable to people and organizations around the world has been a priority since their conception. Be The One campaign leverages creative media and partners up with artists and celebrities, in under-represented parts of the world, to shift the narrative and inspire localized ownership of the SDGs, globally.”

Driving SDG action through global sequential storytelling campaigns on YouTube

YouTube partnered with Tribeca Enterprises, the UN, creative agencies and filmmakers to develop Change the Sequence, raising awareness and action for the Global Goals by building impactful sequential storytelling campaigns on YouTube. With over 37 million views, this initiative demonstrates how brands are able to use creativity to build more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive societies. These effective global campaigns helped increase new visits to the site by 80% and traffic to the United Nations’ Global Goals website by 120% year-over-year.


 UN SDG Action Campaign,    Facebook,    Twitter,    Instagram,    LinkedIn,   Youtube

The 2020 SDG Global Festival of Action awards ceremony will be available on a virtual basis from March 25th to 26th, 2021.

We can all do our part to MOBILIZE, CONNECT and INSPIRE!

The Geo-Doc

Dr. Mark Terry's Geo-Doc Dr. Mark Terry authored the critically-acclaimed book called The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change, published by Palgrave Macmillan in February 2020. It focuses on a multilinear, interactive, database documentary film project presented on a platform of a Geographic Information System map populated by videos and other data that combine to make a new temporal, locative form of documentary. Terry explains how such a system can and has to been used to inform policymakers and others to effect social change.

On their page entitled ’52 Best Documentary Film eBooks of All Time’, they writeThis book introduces a new form of documentary film: the Geo-Doc, designed to maximize the influential power of the documentary film as an agent of social change. By combining the proven methods and approaches as evidenced through historical, theoretical, digital, and ecocritical investigations with the unique affordances of Geographic Information System technology, a dynamic new documentary form emerges, one tested in the field with the United Nations. This book begins with an overview of the history of the documentary film with attention given to how it evolved as an instrument of social change.

It examines theories surrounding mobilizing the documentary film as a communication tool between filmmakers and policymakers. Ecocinema and its semiotic storytelling techniques are also explored for their unique approaches in audience engagement. The proven methods identified throughout the book are combined with the spatial and temporal affordances provided by GIS technology to create the Geo-Doc, a new tool for the activist documentarian.
Dr. Terry created The Youth Climate Report, a temporal, locative, multilinear, interactive, evolving database which is a new form of a documentary film. Students from around the world are invited to submit 3-minute videos that examine climate change and other environmental issues. Dr. Terry’s book, The Geo-Doc, explains how this data delivery system was adopted by the Dr. Mark Terry's Geo-Doc & the Youth Climate ReportUNEP to inform policymakers of issues through the GIS map platform which houses videos, reports, photographs, metadata, location, and more.

If you are a student between the ages of 19 and 30 and wish to submit a 3-minute video to be added to The Youth Climate Report GIS map visit

Each year students two aspects of Climate change and the environment are available from which students may base their film. Once submitted, videos are juried by map creator Dr. Mark Terry and members of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change before being pinned to the evolving documentary project that has become The Geo-Doc. See more on the Geo-Doc.

GIS Map of Documentary Films

GIS Map of Documentary Films from Around the World

Dr. Mark Terry is a filmmaker, writer, teacher, and professor who has created an international collection of documentary films on a GIS map. He has pinned feature-length, award-winning, social issue documentaries according to the cities, countries, or regions in which they take place. Dr. Terry selected films that primarily represent these areas, visually, and culturally. The films also represent artistic excellence, having won major international awards and critical acclaim. He chose films from each area to represent, as much as possible due to availability, a temporal spectrum dating back to 1895. Not only does the map provide an overview of current issues, but it also reveals the evolvement of the documentary film over the years which has benefitted from the affordances provided by new digital technology and methodology.

It is a remediated form of the documentary film which Dr. Terry has named a “Geo-Doc”: Geographic Information System maps being used on an overall comparative and documentary level, depicting the director’s vision of actual geographical locations around the world and the social issues affecting the people in these places. GIS maps prove to be an inventive way to zone in on the area of the world which most interests the viewer.

Click on a pin to view this GIS Map of Documentary Films representing each country.

GIS Map of Documentary Films

Along with international feature-length documentaries, you can also view another GIS map of documentary films made in much shorter formats. Students from around the world submitted three-minute film projects to The Youth Climate Report created by Dr. Terry in conjunction with the United Nations Framework on Climate Change. Each year, students are given a choice of two subjects on which to focus, to help inform the world on issues affecting climate change, sustainability, pollution, water, and more. The result is The Youth Climate Report, and the films are juried and published by Dr. Terry and the United Nation Environment Programme to add to this evolving new form of a documentary film project.

Dr. Terry wrote, produced, and directed the documentary films, The Antarctica Challenge – A Global Warning, The Polar Explorer, and The Changing Face of Icelandamong other projects. See a list of his academic accomplishments at, which includes papers and speeches on climate change and how Mark’s reimagining of GIS maps created an evolving form of the interactive documentary. You can read more about how GIS maps are being used for social change and inform policymakers in Dr. Terry’s book The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change released by Palgrave Macmillan in February of 2020.

Data Delivery Systems using GIS Maps

Data Delivery Systems using GIS Maps is an innovative way to inform and educate the world about global climate change.

Geospatial information shared Data Delivery Systems using GIS Maps is a great way to communicate information using statistics, photographs, videos, and more. Take, for example, Mark Terry’s Youth Climate Report published in conjunction with the United Nations Framework on Climate Change via a GIS map. This project focuses on the subjects of climate change, pollution solutions, water management, and inspiration as to the technology and innovations stemming from these areas, as well as the challenges. Every new pin plotted on the map helps develop this new form of interactive spatial and temporal documentary platform. It will continue to grow and be a source for comparative analysis as well as an excellent informational tool for both the world and UN policymakers regarding climate change and managing the earth.

This GIS map project, which was started in 2015, is open to participants from every continent. Submitted videos are juried by members of the UNFCC and Mark Terry to make sure they are of suitable quality and meet one of the two subjects that change each year. If you are interested in participating in next year’s competition, just look at some of the entries to get a feel for what innovative offerings the students are producing for this evolving GIS map.

Data Delivery Systems using GIS Maps

Click on each pin to see a different video.

See the winners of  the COP22 Youth Climate Video Competition, excellent examples of Data Delivery Systems using GIS Maps:

Also, watch the two videos produced by the winners of the 2017 Youth Climate Report Competition.

Watch the video by Faouzia Bahloul:
Watch the video by Phuong Vu Hoang