Digital Distribution and Political Participation

Interesting news on the film distribution front: Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films are teaming up to distribute Moore’s Slacker Uprising, a documentary about his 60-city tour during the 2004 election when he traveled to various college campuses to encourage students to vote. While the film has played at a few festivals (Stephanie Zacharek and Joe Leydon have reviews, both of which characterize the film as “self-indulgent”), Greenwald and Moore have embarked on what looks like an interesting distribution plan. In order to attract the widest possible audience before the election, the film will be available for free digital download starting on September 23, in addition to being available for purchase on DVD for $9.95, a plan not unlike the experiments with distribution conducted by bands such as Radiohead and the filmmakers behind the documentary 10 MPH.

Given the goal of the film–to promote voting among Democrats–the distribution plan for Slacker Uprising makes a lot of sense.  As Moore acknowledges in an interview with Wired, the documentary is very clearly intended for “the choir,” while adding that “the choir needs a song to sing every now and then.”  And using the social network associated with Brave New Films is probably the best way to ensure that the song carries as far as possible (at least within the U.S. and Canada).  Worth noting: it looks like Slacker Uprising will cover some of the same territory addressed in This Divided State, a great little documentary about a Utah university’s attempt to bring Moore to their campus.

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