Amanda Lipp is a self-taught documentary filmmaker, editor, and director specializing in short narrative films to elevate mental health and social impact issues. She has made over 50 films with organizations around the world. Amanda's goal is to capture the mind through the heart with emotional and inspiring human stories - and for those stories to have a larger functional impact on systems and society. Amanda’s creative approach is grounded in social psychology, entertainment-education, and systems change theory. Latest clients have included Columbia Psychiatry's OnTrackNY program and University of Wisconsin, Madison.
This short film is part of a larger series of youth psychosis films made with OnTrackNY, Columbia Psychiatry. Check out more in the series here

Creative Collaboration

Amanda believes that the journey of making a film, and the strategy of sharing the film, is just as important as the film itself. This requires building relationships and a culture of partnership behind the scenes. On every film, Amanda works closely with the client, interviewees, and relevant organizations to leverage meaningful opportunities to maximize impact.

Production steps include:

  • Initial client call: understand vision, goals, audience, scope, budget
  • Pre-production: draft storyboards, identify & prep interviews, marketing strategy
  • Production (on location): coach & conduct interviews, onsite or virtual audio-visual recording
  • Post-production: media management, editing, color grading, review rounds, client approval
  • Promotion: market films as determined to reach goals & audience (social, websites, festivals)

Amanda has worked with


Amanda is mindful that interviewees and subjects of her films are often sharing personal stories or topics they are very passionate about. Amanda coaches and supports interviewees throughout the process, helping them to feel safe and comfortable with their story and expression. Amanda has been on both sides of the camera, so she "gets it" as is able to get on people's level.

Production best-practices include:

  • Trauma-informed
  • Peer-to-peer
  • Strategic sharing
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Consent and collaboration
  • Person and Identity-driven

Theoretical Approach

Amanda believes that making a film is both an art and a science. She considers sociological and entertainment theories in crafting a film. Entertainment-education is a type of narrative messaging intervention that emotionally involves the viewer in the storyline and aims to effect social change - which can occur at the level of individual, community, or society. Essentially, the goal is to deliver prosocial health messages to positively influencing awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and/or behaviors. Other theories and practices include:
  • Transportation Theory (Green and Brock)
    • The extent that individuals are absorbed into a story (identification)
  • The Identification Scale (Cohen)
    • The extent to which viewers identify with a character
  • Entertainment Overcoming Resistance Model (Moyer-Guse).
    • The narrative format increases absorption in the drama, reducing resistance to the messaging.
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty, Cacioppo, Shrum)
    • Immersive engagement making it easier to influence beliefs, attitudes, and behavior.
  • Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura)
    • The most commonly applied theory in the area of entertainment-education

Equipment Style

Amanda is either a one-woman crew wearing all the hats (Director, Producer, Editor, Cinematographer), or working collaboratively with crews depending on the needs and scale of the film. Either way, Amanda has a mindset of "do whatever it takes", because she only works on stories she is passionate about. We're in a Tech Age now where technology is becoming more compact and higher quality every day. This allows Amanda to leverage a minimalistic approach, while not compromising cinematic integrity. Her professional film and audio equipment fits in her backpack so she can be nimble and focused. This setup allows her to move with the story physically and geographically, and be cost-effective with production budgets.

Film Ambassador

Amanda goes beyond just making a film. She is a passionate ambassador and promoter of her films and the causes they represent. She leverages her public speaking platform to raise awareness on a larger scale. Since age 18, she has given over 150 speeches across the globe on filmmaking, mental health recovery, and social entrepreneurship.

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