Why are films called "movies?" Is it because they are "moving images" as opposed to photographic stills? Or is it because they "move" viewers in a uniquely powerful way?
Etymologically, the answer is the former. But while there are numerous other terms for films -- including cinema, motion pictures, flicks, picture shows -- I think it can be argued that "movie" is the most common and appropriate term, precisely because of the medium's power to move us in a way unmatched by art forms that appeal to only one sense at a time.
The question is, where do they move us to?
It is with this question that I launched a production company five years ago with the mandate to make positive, uplifting films that would inspire audiences and urge them to introspect. The idea was that the images we expose ourselves to will influence the way we think, feel and act. If we are watching dark, cynical media, then we will manifest a dark and cynical society; whereas, if we are watching positive, uplifting content, we will create a more collaborative, constructive world.
We have since produced several films that aim to entertain first, and inspire or provoke as a by-product of that entertaining experience. We developed a following on social media of over 50,000 fans who are passionate about our mission to change the world through positive media. Along the way, we began to toy with the idea of creating a platform/network that would curate all of the incredible positive entertainment that is out there, that would build a community around that content, and that would harness all of that positive energy and channel it to positive action. I spoke to people about the idea for a couple years, and then the Sandy Hook massacre happened in December of 2012, and I knew it was time to stop talking about it and make it a reality.
Violence in the media was, and remains to be, a hot-button topic after Sandy Hook. But, in my opinion, there is a bigger issue that needs to be discussed, and that is that while gun violence is an easy target, the more sinister culprit is the glut of dark, cynical programming that is depressing our culture, even when they're not violent, per se. Guns are the symptom, not the systemic issue. What we need is more positive entertainment that give people hope and promotes universal values. If we're happy and looking out for one another, there will be less alienation, more communication and hopefully less violence and aggression.
And so, I began to build my platform, and nine months later we launched eflixir this month. Eflixir is the first and only site to curate thousands of positive Hollywood films that are hosted on the other portals and linked to from the site. Through affiliate relationships with the hosting portals, eflixir earn fees on every film that members stream, and eflixir donates a portion of those fees to our national nonprofit partner. Viewers are thus making a difference simply by watching the films that they would be paying the same price for elsewhere.
Viewers also have the opportunity to become an "actor" rather than simply a spectator -- each film is linked to thematically related nonprofits so that the one can immediately activate the social-good impulse that the films inspire by donating, volunteering or getting more info. Additionally, after viewing and acting, members are able to discuss the films and/or related causes with a community of likeminded individuals who are similarly interested in positive entertainment and social good.
While the majority of platforms are seeking entry into viewers' pockets, eflixir is reaching out to touch people's hearts and souls. While the majority of platforms are "aggregating users," eflixir is building a community of likeminded members who are interested in inspiring content and who are motivated by their convictions and passionately held belief in their ability to make a difference in their world.