If we don’t bump up against poverty, educational disparities, homelessness—the tough social issues of our time—they can become invisible. That’s why we engage in documentary production around the world.

This year StoryTrack produced two social issue documentaries. The first, a St. Louis video production titled Works In Progress and aired on PBS World, was filmed in the metro area over several months with director Frank Popper. The award winning social documentary followed five students as they worked toward high school graduation and beyond despite various setbacks.

The students push forward to achieve productive adulthood, however haltingly, and experience varying degrees of success. They confront family incarceration, lack of resources, and immigration. There are moments of hope—but not many. Still, we try to capture these truths as best as we can and make them known through our narrative. And we are thrilled to note that the program won a regional Emmy in 2016.

Our second documentary production, Weighed Down, addressed childhood obesity nationally. Obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades in the United States. As many already know, the condition places young people on a path towards a lifetime of serious health issues. But the hidden damages caused by poor self-esteem, bullying, and depression can be just as dangerous.


StoryTrack took on the issue with the help Jean Huesling, the director of Camp Jump Start, an innovative camp for overweight children where it’s not just about losing pounds but about gaining self-esteem and self-acceptance. The program aired on PBS Nine Network and was distributed nationally by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

Both of these award winning social documentary productions brought us directly into contact with problems that can be elided or even actively avoided. It’s easy to do that–to settle into our professional rhythms and slip past problems that seem too large, or too systemic, to even acknowledge. We don’t claim to have answers, but we’re committed to devoting a certain fraction of our firm’s work to these larger issues.

If you are invested in a larger social problem–whether in metropolitan St. Louis or beyond–and you are ready to bring energy and resources to bear on a media project the cries out to be developed for contemporary audiences, contact us at StoryTrack. If the match is right, we will do our best to meet you and your partners halfway to bring the project to fruition at a high level of finish at an appropriate cost.


Like What You See?

Contact us today if you would like to create a documentary film to tackle a social issue.

About the Author

Lori Dowd

Lori Dowd is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of StoryTrack Studio. For over 20 years, she has directed and produced programming for a range of corporate, non-profit, online and broadcast partner/client.