Top of the Dutch charts

Location | Mood | Date 25 November 2008
Author (full name): 
Franny and Lizzie
25 November 2008

Hello from Amsterdam,

Having a hilarious time here at the official launch of The Age of Stupid  (don't mention those other small preview screenings you may all have been at). We are the official Number 1 most watched film by the buyers at the market, out of the 450 films on sale here.

I was up against some climate sceptics in a live televised debate last night. Happened to bump into (on the Rainbow Warrior, see below) Cindy Baxter who runs Exxon Secrets and has researched climate sceptics for 20 years, so she joined me on the panel as my secret weapon. The sceptics were asked what they thought of Age of Stupid and they said that it was depressing and didn't really count as a documentary anyway as it has an actor and lots of animation. Then they asked what I thought of theirs and I replied that in 50 years time they will be in the International Environment Criminal Court - along with all the others who have deliberately scuppered action - charged with the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. That caused a bit of a riot. Then someone dressed as a medieval peasant stormed the stage and shook the sceptics' hands saying "We are so happy here at the Flat Earth society  that we have finally found some friends after 400 years in the wilderness". Cue riot part 2.

Had a great breakfast meeting with our sales agent this morning. She said "you're completely insane, but I like it" as we explained all our distribution plans (see below, in case you think we've been slacking. Please don't forward any of this, as they are just notes to ourselves, and some of it is notl 100% confirmed). Her parting shot was "I'm going to get you Sundance, don't worry". Still haven't heard from them, but now we are "the stars of the festival", according to the head programmer here, we have just seriously increased our chances of getting selected.

More thrilling stuff: met up with Greenpeace International (who are based here and happened to be having a party on the Rainbow Warrior - my second party there in a month, tough life- which is in town). They are petitioning the Dutch government about their coal/energy policy and asked if they could project Stupid on the wall of the building. That plan never works, as you can't hear the sound, so we upped the anti and they went off and applied to get it shown actually inside, to the politicians, and they seem to have managed that. So it's screening next week, in a gap in the programme, just before the big decision is made. And James Hansen (top US climate scientist) will be there giving expert evidence, so he may see it too, which would be such a thrill.

Best news of all: Lizzie's back. She's going to write to the list soon.

Got to run to another sold-out screening here at the festival, then train home tomorrow stopping in Brussels to meet Friends of the Earth International for an hour.

It's a tough life but someone has to do it
Franny (and Lizzie!)

- Number 1 most watched film by the buyers at Docs for Sale, out of 450 films
- Two screenings remain, both sold out three days in advance
- "You are the stars of the festival" - Raoul Nino Zambrano, IDFA programmer
- Franny was in live televised debate against the makers of an anti-climate change film.
350 people in audience.  Other side were laughed off stage, Franny had big cheer for her final comment
- Franny spoke about the revolution in distribution - how she achieved 55 million viewers
for her two previous documentaries - from filmmakers' perspective on panel with Participant Media
and Women Make Movies. 200 people attended.

- Virtual Sundance - we will set up and run a carbon-free version of the festival where
people can join the Age of Stupid premiere in virtual world (whole film or clips, to be decided)
- Green turf carpet at Sundance Premiere
- Pete Postlethwaite can attend, probably
- Solar panelled car for Pete/filmmakers to arrive at screenings
- Will employ dedicated press agent

- Won three out of three awards entered so far:
1. Grierson, Best Green Doc.
2. Sunny Side, Best Green Doc
3. Sunny Side, Film Most Likely To Be Cinema Hit

- UK Parliament - June 08
- Dutch Parliament - November 08 (next week)
- UN Climate Summit, Poland - Dec 08
- EU Government - planned for May 09

NOT STUPID action campaign
- Film being used as spearhead of "NOT STUPID" campaign run in collaboration with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and all the main climate charities, with 20 million members worldwide between them. Aim is to turn 250 million viewers of the film into virtual or physical climate campaigners focussed on UN Climate Summit at Copenhagen in November 2009. This is where the successor to the Kyoto  treaty will be decided. "The most important meeting in the history of humanity".

- Theatrical release March 2009, hot on the heels of Sundance
- Distributor: Dogwoof, who got Black Gold documentary into 300 cinemas
- UK TV hopefully BBC1, followed by studio debate
- UK Premiere will be in solar powered cinema (see pictures attached) in Leicester Square.
- Pete Postlethwaite (star of the film) will arrive in solar powered car (see pic attached)
- Other celebrities will arrive by bicycle rickshaw
- Celebrities expected: Gillian Anderson, Thom Yorke, Sting, Colin Firth, K T Tunstall, Sienna Miller and David Walliams.
- Franny (director), Lizzie (producer), Mark Lynas (climate change advisor) and Pete (star)  will attempt to appear (separately) at 30 cinemas across UK in opening week
- UK Film Council one-off screening across UK digital film network in week of release.  About 80-100 cinemas, followed by Q&A beamed by satellite from London studio  to all cinemas. (Event not confirmed, but likely)
- Themed Screenings in opening week. Women's night, Students night, Pensioner's morning etc. Block-booking for schools and businesses.

PROMOTION: Mainstream & Guerrilla
- Radiohead releasing Age of Stupid remix single only available from film's website
- Viral video being made by the producers of the Gorillaz videos (MTV video award winning)
- PR agency: Rogers and Cowan
- Schools Pack. Action Aid producing new schools pack, available to every UK school, Autumn 2008. Also will be sold internationally.
- Merchandise. Range of consumer goods, each one of which decreases consumption overall. Refillable water bottle, compost bucket, reusable shopping bags etc. No really.

- Very important market because of climate change position (US has not ratified Kyoto treaty and absolutely key that they do, without them nothing can happen and we all die)
- Franny proposes to do six week US college/press tour to support the release
- Franny did 14 city tour with her film McLibel in 2002, enormously popular and made lots of money
- The Not Stupid action campaign will run alongside the US release, as in the UK release
- Already have tonnes of links to all the main campaign groups
- The film is very relevant to the US, as one of key characters is American and many of the arguments are US-centric
- Al Gore hasn't seen the film yet - we've been holding that back - but has supported other climate change films, so we expect him to fully support Age of Stupid
- Major celebrities are throwing themselves behind climate change inc Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Madonna etc.

"I hate this film. I felt as if I was watching all my own excuses for not doing anything about climate change being stripped away from me.  And it's tender and funny and wise as well. Can I just pretend I never saw it?"  William Nicholson, Oscar-nominated writer of Shadowlands and Gladiator

"The out and out winner this year was chosen for the sheer scale of its ambition and the  verve of its realisation. On every level, The Age of Stupid is a powerful and unforgettable film that leaves you honour bound to force governments to take action"
Grierson Documentary Awards Jury

"I was nodding to myself all the way through, thinking "How can I reduce my flights?",  "Can I install a wind turbine at home?". It is definitely going to change my life.  It was so powerful and so moving I wanted it to go on for another hour." Gillian Anderson, actress

 "The opening sequence is phenomenal. It's Spielberg, eat your heart out.  And to pack that much information into a film that is exciting, moving and keeps you engaged all the way through is an extraordinary achievement."  Pete Postlethwaite, actor
"Everyone keeps emailing me about Stupid and saying 'you MUST see this!' So thanks for letting me feel smug." Dr Scilla Elworthy, three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
"This wonderful film is like a bucket of cold water. I hope it wakes people from their slumber and helps galvanise real pressure on politicians to come up with an effective deal at the Copenhagen climate change summit." Tony Juniper, former head of Friends of the Earth
"Fascinating. The message, never stated but constantly emerging, is that we all have our self-justifying myths. These myths prevent us from engaging with climate change." The Guardian
"Every single person in the country should be forcibly made to watch this film."  Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London