good, good, good 25/3/2010

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Morning all,

We've always said that our cunning film distribution scheme cuts out the middlemen, but we didn't realise it was literally true till we took the attached group photo of the new Good Screenings gang. Even our canine friend is female. Sorry menfolk, we love you really.

So anyway, you remember how last year we knocked out a bit of software called Indie Screenings, which allowed anyone anywhere to organise their own screening of The Age of Stupid? Against all expectations, 1401 screenings were organised in six months (many by you fine people, no doubt), making 110,000+ pounds for our crowd-funders and many more thousands for the screening organisers. Bit of a triumph, if we say so ourselves.

But we felt a little selfish hoarding this rather exciting thing (the Huffington Post called it "the future of film", which was probably going a bit far) all to ourselves, so now we've hooked up with the aforementioned gorgeous gals at Britdoc to share our software with other independent filmmakers. All of which means that today we launched the Good Screenings website, which currently features eight of the best change-the-world films of the last few years, with more coming every month or so. It's a simple concept: you buy a license (set according to whether you're eg a school in India or a multinational corporation in DC) from the website, hire or borrow some projection equipment, invite your pals and neighbours round to your scout hut, canal boat or museum, charge them for tickets (or not, as you prefer), cry or laugh at the brilliant film, make loads of new friends, maybe start a new campaign cos you're all so inspired - and keep all the profits for your own campaign or pocket. What's not to love?

These are the first films to choose from (if you're a filmmaker with a cracking film, pls contact filmmakers@indiescreenings.net):

-> The Yes Men Fix the World - Remember the dudes who pretended to be Dow Chemical and apologised live on the BBC for the Bhopal disaster, thereby wiping a couple of billion off Dow's stock price? Well, they just made the funniest 90 minutes you'll ever see on the subject of climate change.
-> The End of the Line - if we eat all the fish now there won't be any left and then we'll be hungry... This doc caused a huge splash (boom boom) last year, created a major campaign and got lots of corporations and restaurants to change their fish policies.
-> Chosen - extremely moving doc about the sexual abuse of boys by teachers in Britain’s private schools. Not a laugh a minute.
-> Heavy Load - utterly hilarious and heart-warming tale of a punk rock band subject to all the usual ego problems which come with chasing the rock'n'roll dream. Except these musicians have learning difficulties.
-> The Day After Peace - the inspiring 10-year story of a young man fighting to establish the UN Day of Peace. With a little Angelina Jolie for good measure.
-> Erasing David - Filmmaker David Bond decides to find out how much of our personal
information is floating around, by disappearing for a month and setting
two of the world’s top private investigators the task of tracking him
down, using only publicly available data.
-> Moving to Mars - follows two refugee families from a small village in Burma as they move to their new home in.... Sheffield.
-> McLibel - My first film, which has already been seen by 22 million people, tells the story of the postman and gardener who took on McDonald's in England's longest-ever court case - and won.

The Good Screenings website just went live - as did our Facebook group - and I'm very happy to say that those spunky Yes Men were first passed the post with the very first booking. You may have seen a big feature about Good Screenings in the Guardian yesterday morning and then Screen Daily (film industry mag for grown-ups) picked up the story too. Ooh baby.

(Speaking of good films, a new doc called In the Land of the Free, about three prisoners who've been in solitary confinement for 100 years between them, hits cinemas this weekend and is supposed to be excellent. Sounds like one we should sign up to Good Screenings after its cinema run.)

Meanwhile, The Age of Stupid is playing in...
>> America - on the Discovery Channel on April 17th
>> Russia - thanks to Oxfam, who are arranging 100 screenings of a Russian-dubbed new version
>> Wales - thanks to a Government grant paying for people to hold screenings
>> Hungary - on mainstream TV
>> Germany - in cinemas in May - just signed to a super-enthusiastic distributor - I'm going over for the premiere
>> All over the world - via Mr Bike The Earth, who is cycling around the world screening the film as he goes
>>Your local community centre - should you decide to organise a screening via Good Screenings...

Dad needs cash
>> Remember our live daily web TV programme from Copenhagen, The Stupid Show? It was brought to you by my very own Dad, via his oneclimate TV channel, which was basically a pile of laptops and two cheap cameras webstreaming live to the world. oneclimate.tv was one of the major successes in the general drama of failure at Copenhagen, as it was watched by more than two million people (on one day, people from more than 170 countries tuned in). So after that triumph, his new plan is to provide alternative news broadcasts from all the major climate events from now till we fix it (it the atmosphere). First up is the People's World Conference called by the President of Bolivia in a few weeks. They need 20K to take their 3-person team out there and do the whole show - they've raised 12 so far and so need another 8. Can anyone help? Please contact my Dad on peter.armstrong@oneworld.net if you'd like to sponsor them.

Here's a sweet story. Our long-time pal Emily James (who did two weeks hard labour helping rescue Stupid when it was having growing pains - see her scream on the Making Of doc (which is now up in its full 55 minute glory on YouTube - scary how many people tell me they prefer the Making Of to the actual film)) was in her local butchers in Hackney the other day when another shopkeeper came in for a chat with the butcher. Shopkeeper said he'd just signed up to this great new campaign called 10:10, to which butcher replied he'd already signed up himself and then the two of them proceeded to swop energy savings tips. Aw. Fair makes it all worthwhile.

And speaking of animals dead or alive, the cutest 10:10 story of the week is that Paignton Zoo is cutting its 10% by using elephant dung to produce green energy (or is that brown energy?)

Happy screenings,
Franny

PS. Press release about Good Screenings attached, fyi.