The Political Film Society, a nonprofit corporation, was formed to recognize the ability of films to raise consciousness of political concerns throughout the world. The Political Film Society gives awards to film directors in order to encourage the industry to make the public more aware of political issues facing the world today.
The Political Film Society was founded in 1986 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was originally a project of the Hawaii Political Studies Association, but became an independent organization a few years later. The headquarters of the society moved from Honolulu to Hollywood in 1998. That same year the Society became a nonprofit organization, and began publishing film reviews on its website (see external link below). Reviews are reprinted on the website of the International Movie Data Base.
Each year, at an annual meeting of members, three persons are elected to serve on the board of directors. The board, in turn, chooses the President, who is Chief Executive Officer. Political scientist Michael Haas, who serves on the board, has been the CEO of the Political Film Society since its inception and is the Society's President and Secretary. Currently, boardmember Vorathep Sitthitham is Vice President.
Members select the board of directors. Those interested to become members must contact the Society through mail or email to join. Members in good standing are allowed to vote each year on the films up for the awards that the society hands out for the winners. There are around 200 members all over the world.
The Political Film Society awards movies each year with the Political Film Society Awards. These awards are given out to movies in five categories: Political Film Society Award for Democracy, Political Film Society Award for Exposé, Political Film Society Award for Human Rights, Political Film Society Award for Peace, and the occasional Special Award. The awards are nicknamed "The Stanley Awards" after Stanley M. Castillo, an original member of the Political Film Society's board of directors who died in 1998 due to cancer.
Political Film Review is the main publication of the Political Film Society. Published about twice monthly, the reviews offer insight into the political meaning of feature films. In addition, the organization offers conference papers and syllabi for sale at a nominal cost. Some of the conference papers, along with new scholarly essays, have been included in a book edited by Michael Haas, Hollywood Raises Political Consciousness: Political Messages in Feature Films (2014).