You know what used to make Xerox executives really mad? When you used the phrase 'to Xerox' something to mean 'to copy' something. The guys at Band-Aid feel the same way. There's this moment when your brand becomes so identified with something that it becomes synonymous with that thing, and then all of a sudden even your shoddiest competitors are being called Xerox machines. That's happened to BitTorrent; when someone tells you they torrented a movie they almost always mean they pirated it.
BitTorrent is absolutely synonymous with piracy, much to the chagrin of the guys who created BitTorrent. They've been trying to change the perception of their creation, and they've been pointing to the millions of legal files that get traded via Torrent. Lately they've begun partnering with movie and music folks to position BitTorrent as a legitimate marketing tool. Their latest partner: Drafthouse Films, who have released a special The Act of Killing bundle on BitTorrent to entice you to buy the documentary on iTunes.
The bundle does not include the movie, but it does include a ton of supporting documents and videos. It contains:
VICE Presents: Werner Herzog and Errol Morris on The Act of Killing [Video]
Democracy Now! Joshua Oppenheimer Interview [Video]
Essay: Errol Morris on The Act of Killing [PDF]
Essay: Indonesia on the impact of The Act of Killing, TEMPO Magazine [PDF]
The Act of Killing Stills [Photographs]
The Act of Killing Trailer [Video]
And also the proverbial more.
Why team with BitTorrent? Drafthouse Films continues to look for the best way to get this documentary in front of eyeballs not just in the US but around the globe. Says Drafthouse Films Chief Creative Officer Evan Husney: “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible — to preserve this film as a documentary, and as a testament to what happened in Indonesia. BitTorrent Bundle allows us to address a global audience of more than 170 million: to ensure that awareness of the film’s message reaches beyond the Internet’s censors and firewalls.”
Will this work? It's no secret that The Act of Killing is out there on the less-reputable torrents. Hopefully the folks who download and share this bundle (which you can get right here) will opt to go legal with their viewing of the film. Supporting a movie like this means a lot - for one, the more successful this film is, the more attention gets paid to the Indonesian genocide. It's how we measure interest in this culture, right or wrong. But more than that, if The Act of Killing is a success financially it will embolden others to finance and make similar documentaries. It will show that there is an audience for challenging films that change the way we think about the world around us.
I braved cries of conflict of interest and put The Act of Killing on my top ten of the year because it deserved the spot. Hopefully you'll check out this bundle and it'll move you to seek out the actual film. The extended director's cut is now available on ITunes.