Can Kindness Make a Difference?

A new documentary says ‘yes’!

May 7, 2023


Can Kindness Make a Difference? | A new documentary says ‘yes’!

A new documentary,Case for Kindness, directed by filmmaker Steven Sawalich, explores the impact of kindness on society. The film features interviews with celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Lady Gaga, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Norman Lear, and Tim Shriver, as well as everyday people engaging in acts of goodwill, according to the film’s website.

This trailblazing humanitarian documentary takes viewers on a journey across the United States to explore the significance of kindness and its impact on our culture and society, explained the website. 

The film features interviews with scientific experts and world leaders, offering insights into the evolutionary origins and modern-day effects of kindness. It also highlights inspiring examples of kindness that are making a difference in communities and shifting perceptions throughout the country.
Case for Kindness has amassed awards on the international festival circuit in Hong Kong, Ireland, Paris, and Montreal, and garnered the Best American Documentary for 2022, and Best Director according to the film’s website.

An important topic 
In an opening segment, reported Forbes, the film features a scientist who details how performing acts of kindness releases endorphins and oxytocin, and how observing such acts triggers the neuropsychology of kindness in the viewer.

Sawalich believes that kindness is an important topic that has not received enough attention. "There's a lot of things about happiness. And I've always looked at it as, ‘Happiness is for the individual, and kindness is for the whole group,’" he told Forbes.

Sawalich highlights the stories of people who are bringing kindness into the world, from combating bullying to addressing food insecurity. He praises Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation for shifting its focus from anti-bullying to kindness.

“I remember Mother Teresa said she would never attend an anti-war rally but would attend a peace rally, and that's what Lady Gaga did to shift their organization into a positive space,” he explained.

In 2021, Gaga's foundation produced a 30-minute special that features Lady Gaga and mental health expert Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble engaging in conversations with a group of 11 young people about their personal mental health journeys, according to Variety. The special explores the link between kindness and mental health and offers strategies for overcoming the stigma associated with discussing mental health issues.  

Self-kindness is essential
In his film, Case for Kindness, Sawalich also applauds Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood for their work with children around the world and Ben Affleck for his honesty in discussing his addiction, which Sawalich believes is an example of self-kindness.

“I thought Ben gave a beautiful, honest interview on his addiction,” Sawalich told Forbes. “For me it was important to show self-kindness. If you can’t focus on yourself and who you want to be, then it’s hard to spread that to others. And Ben is a great example of that. He’s been able to realize what is needed to help other people.”

In addition to kindness, Sawalich said that community is a theme throughout the film. “If you can help the life of a person, you help their family, and if you help their family you help the community. We're not meant to be isolated — that was an important theme throughout.” 

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An award-winning poet and author, Miriam is a freelance writer with a passion for telling stories. When she’s not writing, Miriam loves to read, cook, and take long walks.