Ad agencies spurn innovative documentary

Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:49pm EST
 
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By Jay A. Fernandez

PARK CITY, Utah (Hollywood Reporter) - A regular at Sundance, Morgan Spurlock -- who won the documentary directing award for "Super Size Me" in 2004 -- returns this year with "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

The meta-doc -- essentially a documentary about a documentary -- world-premiered Saturday ahead of a theatrical release in North America via Sony Pictures Classics.

WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL SPARK FOR THIS MOVIE?

Morgan Spurlock: It came from a conversation that me and my producing partner and co-writer Jeremy Chilnick were having about the world of movies and TV, and this whole concept of branded entertainment which had started to really come to the forefront, where there were companies that were representing advertisers or brands and were trying to get them to pay for original content on the web ... I said, "It would be great to do a film that's all about the world of product placement and advertising where the whole film was actually paid for by product placement and advertising." That was the germ of the whole idea.

THAT'S ONE OF THOSE EUREKA MOMENTS, BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO EXECUTE IT.

Spurlock: Well, that became the interesting caveat! First we started trying to get ad agencies on board to come and help us make this film. And agencies wanted nothing to do with it. We wanted to have these people be the liaison to brands, to companies. They already had the ears of these corporations and were somewhat trusted by them, so why not get them to help us? And it was a real uphill battle. We wanted an agency to be our partner to help us go to brands, because ultimately we wanted to have the whole film underwritten by brands. Which is what we had happen.

IT'S META IN THAT SENSE THEN, THAT PART OF THE FILM IS YOU SEEKING OUT THE BRANDS?

Spurlock: Well, literally, the film is about the process of me trying to make the film. You're with us almost from the beginning as I'm trying to make this film about product placement and advertising and I'm trying to get brands and advertisers and companies to come on board and so you follow me through the process of trying to convince people to be a part of this movie and actually pay for the film.   Continued...