20 Acclaimed Filmmakers Explain America's Money Problems in 'We the Economy'
This past week Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) released "We the Economy," a series of 20 short films about the economy that, as the tagline goes, "you can't afford to miss." They are all free to watch and embedded above. The docket of directors is a who's who of acclaimed filmmakers, including Ramin Bahrani, Marshall Curry, Albert Hughes, Jehane Noujaim, Steve James, Catherine Hardwicke, Joe Berlinger, James Schamus, Mary Harron, and more.
Spurlock's Cinelan production company is at the forefront of connecting lauded filmmakers with brands and nonprofits — in the case of "We the Economy," Cinelan worked with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Productions. I first saw the series on Hulu and ended up watching it on YouTube — a good example of how content companies are no longer tied to one particular TV channel or platform. Cinelan leverages the following distribution platforms for their content:
When many independent filmmakers hear "branded content," they often think that means directing a Sprite commercial. But the landscape for branded content has changed entirely and Cinelan's own Focus Forward series (presented by GE, covered here) is another prime example of how "working with brands" does not need to be synonymous with "selling out." Similar to ESPN's Emmy-winning 30 for 30 series — another multi-platform program spanning feature-length to short films — production teams are working with large corporations and brands more independently and autonomously than you would have expected in decades past. This is a great example of how the opportunities for filmmakers are multiplying along with the number of platforms.