Wal-Mart movie and alternative distribution channels…

On Saturday night a few friends and me went to the Media Action Project in Los Angeles to see Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price, the new documentary from Robert Greenwald. Greenwald’s previous works include, Unprecedented, Unconstitutional, Uncovered and Outfoxed. All of these films have used alternative means of distribution to get past the media and to the viewer. His company, Brave New Films, was built on the desire to build a movement. They have worked with organizations like MoveOn.org to get people to see the films, buy DVDs and discuss the issues and it has been phenomenally successful. There were over 1000 public screenings of Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price last week at homes, churches, yoga studios, anywhere with a DVD player and an audience.

According the Robert Greenwald’s email today:

    Norwich: “Wow. At the Norwich Public Library last evening we had to close the doors and turn folks away!”

    Milwaukee: “We were thrilled with the turn out and media coverage for our two screenings.”

    Portland: “Had a fantastic screening at Bridgeport UCC in Portland, Oregon on Saturday night… a packed house.”

    Flagstaff: “more then 800 people. … standing and sitting in the aisles. We have another screening planned.”

    Madison: “More then 900 people waiting in line in the snow to see the film.”

    from Santa Maria, California:

    “We published letters to the editor, put up posters and passed out flyers. At the premier the room was packed. The most crucial of the screenings was 48 hours prior to a city council meeting where slick Wal-Mart reps were coming to try and get the zoning code changed to allow for a 55 acre supercenter. At the city council meeting the chambers were packed…Empassioned by the stories in the film by people just like them, the chamber audience got a bit rowdy….Wal-Mart failed to get the council members approval with a vote of 5-0 against them! Thanks in no small part to your film, your alternative distribution strategy and dedicated local field producers like Bob Banner here in San Luis Obispo…the city of Santa Maria is safe! (for the time being)”

    The film is becoming the tool it is meant to be, going into the world and building the movement. Unlike traditional opening weeks, this one is just the beginning, and the fight will be a long and hard one, but with your help and support the film is touching hearts, changing minds and creating social change!

This film IS affecting change across the country. It is an excellenct piece of investigative journalism and explores the facts in an easy to digest (however outraged you may become) fashion.

The film does not exist to make money, but making money back is crucial. Wanna see the doc, go to their website and buy the DVD. They also have some great deals when you buy more than one. Time to pass out docs for the holidays.

As to alternative distribution, they seem to have it wired. In a time where it’s nearly impossible to make an overall distribution deal work for you, Brave New Films is figuring out how to make many deals and give back to and grow a community. People are turning to alternative media for the information they’re not getting from the mainstream and unconventional distribution is reaching those people.

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