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by Robert Rippberger & Tobias Deml
Cinema of Change

Courtney Spence: Empowering Social Storytellers


Welcome to the Cinema of Change podcast with Tobias Deml and Robert Rippberger. Cinema of Change is a magazine and community that challenges the conventions of film and its ability to effect change in the world. Join us for Empowering Social Storytellers with our guest Courtney Spence.

Courtney Spence is an enrepreneur and storyteller. She founded Students of the World as an undergraduate at Duke University, and for the last 15 years has worked to support storytellers looking to make an impact in the world.

In this episode we ask Courtney, what can you do starting out to create Cinema of Change? How can you best build community and allies around your projects? And how do you run a media company that fuels social change? In this episode:

  • 00:27 – Intro: Social Storytellers
  • 01:39 – What to do with your potential?
  • 06:44 – Why create an organization that empowers filmmakers?
  • 08:52 – Don’t wait until you’re powerful later – do it now
  • 10:21 – How to deal with cynics and criticism
  • 13:57 – How to make your nonprofit survive financially
  • 16:37 – The Evolution of your own Impact
  • 19:24 – How has the Impact landscape changed over the last 10 years
  • 23:53 – How can we use Universities as breeding ground for Social Change Media?
  • 29:39 – What makes Cinema so powerful and transformative?
  • 31:39 – How can film help us reflect and learn?
  • 34:58 – A decade of tips for starting your own film nonprofit
  • 39:19 – Be financially wise with your nonprofit
  • 41:18 – Outro

We hope you find this conversation interesting and evocative. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an episode and visit the magazine at cinemaofchange.com.

Until next time, be the change that you want to see in the world. And then turn it into cinema.



by Robert Rippberger & Tobias Deml