I teach a unit on motion graphics but have incorporated a major project that has the students produce an animated documentary. This has proved to be a highly succesful brief as it gives the student an immediate story to base their film on, and the opportunity to create a video that has real meaning and impact.
A great example was a film produced in 2011 called Mother. The students interviewed a chinese woman who told the fascinating story of her life in China through all its changes and her journey to Australia. It can be seen here.