Buying Into Iraq

Interesting Washington Post article about the innovative fundraising efforts used by Robert Greenwald and Jim Gilliam’s Brave New Films for their latest agitprop political doc, Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers (trailer), which takes on “the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so.”

As regular readers of my blog will no doubt know, I’ve been intrigued for some time by Brave New Films’ innovative efforts to use the netroots to distribute their films, and like many of Greenwald’s earlier efforts (including Outfoxed, which I now think may be his best doc, and Uncovered), Iraq for Sale will be distributed on DVD for screenings at homes, churches, synagogues, and community centers. But, as the Post reports, Iraq for Sale is unusual in that Brave New Films turned to the “thousands of people who had purchased DVDs or expressed interest in Greenwald’s movies” to raise money from its audience before shooting even began on the documentary. Needing approximately $300,000 to complete the film, Gilliam wrote a passionate email asking for donations with the promise of a credit at the end of the film. Within 10 days, they had raised $267,892 from over 3,000 donors.

As always, I’m looking forward to seeing Iraq For Sale, in no small part because Greenwald’s films function not only as documentaries but also as “events” that now attract relatively significant audiences (the Wal-Mart doc was shown at around 7,000 screenings with around 500,000 people in attendance), and I will also be interested to see how Greenwald’s film contributes to the political discourse in the upcoming midterm elections.

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