The Oscar-nominated documentary “No End in Sight,” which chronicles the early months of the American occupation of Iraq, will be available on YouTube starting Monday and continuing through the presidential election on Nov. 4.
Charles Ferguson, the director of the film, which won the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, said in a statement that he had underwritten its screening on YouTube because “I wanted to make the film, and the facts about the occupation of Iraq, accessible to a larger group of people.”
He added, “My hope is that this will contribute to the process of making better foreign policy decisions moving forward in Iraq and elsewhere.”
This is a very smart move – not only will it boost audiences and awareness for the film but I also think that it could actually help future DVD sales.
Although this might sound strange, think of those who have never heard of it but watch it on YouTube and then reccommend it to a friend, who in turn buys the DVD because they prefer that format.
Whatever happens, the publicity generated by being the first feature to officially (i.e. legally) screen on YouTube will give the film a timely boost ahead of the US presidential election.
“Hopefully as they see thousands of people watching their films, it’s going to be a very eye-opening experience,” said Sara Pollack, YouTube’s film and animation manager.
Among the first eight titles to be showcased are “Love and War,” a stop-motion puppet movie by a Swedish director; the Oscar-nominated short “I Met The Walrus,” about an interview with John Lennon; and “Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?” by performance artist Miranda July.
YouTube said people whose clips regularly attract a million viewers can make several thousand dollars a month. The bigger prize can be exposure.
When YouTube featured the nine-minute short “Spider” by Nash Edgerton in February, it became the fifth-best selling short on iTunes, Pollack said.
The creators of the full-length feature “Four Eyed Monsters,” Susan Buice and Arin Crumley, got their break when more than a million YouTube views helped land them a TV and DVD distribution deal, she said.
“They ended up doing really, really well, ironically by putting their film online for free,” Pollack said.
Although, directors can already upload to sites like MySpace and YouTube, this new section appears to be more filmmaker friendly and makes it easier for quality shorts to get exposure outside the usual avenue of festivals and late night TV slots.
Some of the most recent examples to be showcased are:
Love and War: A stop-motion ‘animated opera’ by Swedish director Frederick Emilson