"I think one movie can make a difference; I do believe that," says director Michael Moore. Indeed, speculation over the impact of his new documentary SICKO was the subject of a news feature in the Sunday New York Times:

Whether embracing Mr. Moore's remedy or disdaining it, elected officials and policy experts agreed last week that the film was likely to have broad political impact, perhaps along the lines of "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's jeremiad on global warming. It will, they predicted, crystallize the frustration that is a pre-existing condition for so many health care consumers.

As I discuss at the end of our Speaking Science 2.0 presentation, documentary film and video is the major public engagement platform of the future, if not right now. Understanding how to harness the power of film to tell compelling stories and activate both the public and elites on major issues such as climate change or health care is an increasingly important question.

I introduce a framework for understanding impacts in this recent report from the Center for Social Media and the Ford Foundation, but there is much more work to be done. I'm currently busy on a major project to study the impacts of a range of films released over the past two years. In coming months, I hope to have more to report back on. In the meantime, I will post various indicators of SICKO's impact as they become available.