From my experience programming Cinema Politica for the past eight years, I am confident when I say that the vast majority of independent filmmakers in the docosphere could not promote their way out of a paper bag.
Hollywood is not only exceptional at promotion and marketing because its pockets are deep, but because it has made damn sure that talent in these areas has been nurtured and developed over the years. People have been trained. Networks have been built. Young minds have been taken over like moths smothering a light bulb. And while I certainly do not agree with most of their tactics to “get the word out,” I acknowledge that it works.
I wish I could say the same for the indies. Documentary filmmakers might just be the worst, no doubt in part because they spend every waking hour writing epic proposals and imploring funders to cover production costs, not to mention real salaries and money for promotion and marketing. But if they want anyone to see their films, they best be devoting a little more time and energy to the art of winning hearts and minds.
All this to say, that for several months and through a handful of contacts, I have tried in vain to get hold of a screener of a doc released before Xmas in NY. What Would Jesus Buy? looks like it would be a funny, political romp with the Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. But I guess I'll never know, because try as I may, all my phone calls and emails have yielded nothing.
This film, made with Supersize Me director Morgan Spurlock's production company, might be a perfect fit for the film festival network I program here in Canada. So if anyone out there wants to help me preview this film for Cinema Politica, and has an inside connection, drop me a line. Getting a hold of an independent political documentary shouldn't be harder than getting George Clooney's phone number.