Documentary Film about Twitter Makes Online Pre-Launch for Charity ahead of NYC Premiere
May 22, 2012 – Twittamentary, the documentary film about the popular microblogging tool Twitter and the everyday people who use it, is available online from today, marking the start of the film’s digital pre-launch month during which ticket sales will be donated to charity. Twittamentary will make its official premiere next month on 19th June at the AMC Empire 25 theatre in Manhattan, New York, as part of the annual 140 Character Conference.
‘This is not a movie about famous celebrities or billionaire shareholders,’ says Twittamentary’s award winning Singaporean Director, Tan Siok Siok, ‘It’s about the ordinary people who use Twitter, and the extraordinary impact that social media has had on their online and offline lives – the trader; the homeless woman; the porn star; the citizen journalist. Through their individual stories, we can reappraise social networks in new terms and see the value for users stretches far beyond anything that can be accounted for using monetary definitions.’
The entire filmmaking process behind Twittamentary relied heavily on leveraging the power of social networking. Director Siok crowdsourced stories, cast, crew and even the musical score via Twitter and Facebook and used her ongoing engagement with the Twitter community to influence and facilitate the filming, post-production, promotion and distribution activities.
In the last year alone, fifteen social ‘beta’ screening events were held in cities worldwide featuring the use of dual screens – one for the film, the other for a Twitterwall which followed the Twittamentary hashtag. At each screening, viewers shared real-time tweets and commentary with the cast, crew, each other and the wider web, and in each instance, a new iteration of the film was cut based on these comments, driving the editing evolution through to the final cut to be released online today.
Twittamentary’s online distribution is being carried out by Distrify, which enables the movie to be embedded anywhere online. Andy Green, co-founder and creator of Distrify says, ‘Twittamentary shows contemporary filmmakers what can be achieved with social distribution – both creatively and commercially.’
The participatory nature of the film has driven the process in the ‘Twitterverse’ marking three years from conception to distribution. In that time it has built a groundswell of interest from communities, organisations and individuals who work in online, social, academic and mainstream traditional media. Twittamentary is now an official case study for MBA and Undergraduate students at the Singapore Management University and earlier this year, the documentary screened globally as part of Social Media Week in London, New York, Miami and Singapore.
In support of some of the more emotive themes featured in Twittamentary, ticket sales from this one month charity pre-launch will be donated to three charities nominated by the cast: Invisible People, a charity tackling the issue of homelessness; RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence network in the US; Shelter Exchange, a charity working to reduce animal euthanasia in shelters. After the NY premier on the 19th June, 30% of all future profits will also be shared with charities.
Today’s pre-launch of Twittamentary will be activated simultaneously from multiple blogs, web sites, social network pages and even individual tweets by the diverse online community that has already supported the film in hundreds of articles, blog posts and reviews to date.
A number of online and offline screenings have been arranged for the charity month. For example, Twitter’s San Francisco HQ will host its first in-house screening of Twittamentary at 12pm (PDT) today. Viewers can participate in the Twittamentary experience, and join the audience & cast in the live conversation, by watching along on the website and following #twittamentary on Twitter.
Twittamentary is a unique and experimental documentary about the everyday people who use Twitter. Rather than utilizing shareholders or celebrity endorsers, Twittamentary has been made by leveraging the power of Twitter with stories, cast, production and preview screenings provided and organised by Twitter users.
Director Tan Siok Siok is a former Executive Producer for Discovery Channel in Asia and visiting lecturer at the Beijing Film Academy. Earlier work includes the documentary Boomtown Beijing, about the Beijing Olympics. She is founder of Kinetic ONE, an online video venture in China focused on sports, music and youth culture.