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"The Illusionists" documentary

#adoptTheIllusionists – Live Updates!

#AdoptTheIllusionists is a Twitter campaign that launched on April 14th, 2014, with the aim of getting the documentary The Illusionists on the radar of influential film people… so that they could help it thrive.

At the very least, The Illusionists currently needs a celebrity narrator and/or a powerful executive producer to help get the film into prominent film festivals – which are otherwise impenetrable – and to get a wide distribution deal.

For a full explanation about the origins and goals of the campaign, please read this post: “It Only Takes One Person.”


Latest update: Wednesday April 23rd

The days following our #adoptTheIllusionists campaign have seen a lot of progress on many fronts. I’m absolutely psyched about the steps the film is taking and I look forward to sharing more details with you soon.

In the meantime, The Illusionists’ 4 minute open and #adoptTheIllusionists have been featured on Sociological Images, Jezebel, Feministing, Women You Should Know and Indiewire!!! Miss Representation, Adbusters and The FBomb also shared messages about our project.

Thank you once again for the brilliant support and feel free to say hi via Twitter or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you!

Friday April 18th: Your Input!

Thank you for your extraordinary support this week!

I was astounded to discover that, as of Friday night, my post “It Only Takes One Person” was shared more than 1050 times on Twitter.

Below you’ll find a sample of the day’s reactions to the campaign and to the 4 minute opening of the film.

Cherry on the cake: Alex Gibney (my favorite documentary filmmaker, whose films I’ve seen ad nauseam) sent this response, after a tweet by the amazing Marian Evans.

Thursday April 17th: Michael Moore & Alex Gibney

The Illusionists needs to find a home at a prominent film festival… and it could use the advice of experienced documentary filmmakers… especially directors who have tackled controversial topics and who are not afraid to go after big corporations.

Michael Moore is such an iconic, rebellious, outspoken documentary filmmaker. He would be a natural fit for The Illusionists, especially considering that he has recently founded the Traverse City Film Festival (occurring in late July in Traverse City, Michigan).

I have watched Alex Gibney‘s documentaries ad nauseam and learned so much from them in terms of storytelling, cinematography, editing and motion graphics techniques. I love how the topics that he tackles are center stage, while he is an invisible presence in his movies. Similarly, I do not appear in The Illusionists: neither on screen, nor through the voice-over. This has been a big obstacle while trying to fund the film through traditional channels (i.e. TV stations), who kept asking me to remove 80% of the experts I wished to interview and appear in the film undergoing various beauty treatments. That was NOT the topic I wanted to discuss. My wish since day one has been to allow viewers to be fully immersed in the story and to be able to identity themselves with it – whether they’d be a middle aged African American man, a pregnant Caucasian woman, or a teenage girl living in New Delhi. I didn’t see the purpose of appearing in the film, fought this really hard, and ultimately decided to finance the film myself, since every TV channel was dead set on the idea of doing something superficial, sensational and person-driven. At the end it worked out for the best: I was allowed to make the film I wanted. But it’s an uphill road to distribution (TV stations and distributors prefer personal documentaries), so I could truly benefit from someone like Alex Gibney as a mentor and/or executive producer. His films and The Illusionists share many stylistic similarities.

Highlights from today – this mention by the amazing entrepreneur/ad consultant/activist Cindy Gallop:

and especially this note by Katie Jacobs Stanton, head of international strategy at Twitter:

Despite almost 300 tweets directed to Michael Moore and Alex Gibney, neither filmmaker replied. BUT! The day ended on an amazing note, with write-ups in two of my favorite blogs: Jezebel and Feministing.

Wednesday April 16th: Lena Dunham

What to say? Could there be a person more perfect than Lena Dunham to come on board as executive producer? Methinks not. I admire her incredible talents as a writer, director, producer and actress and I LOVE how outspoken she is about issues related to women, feminism and body acceptance.

Lena didn’t respond to us on Twitter, but I also have a small army of amazing, dedicated friends who are reaching out to her in real life, in any way possible. Think: 6 degrees of separation. The Illusionists was brought to the attention of one of her co-stars and I was invited to send in DVDs. Very happy about these developments.

The highlight of the day: being featured on one of my favorite blogs: Sociological Images!

HUGE thanks to Lisa Wade for making this happen.

Tuesday April 15th: Stephen Fry

What to say? British legend Stephen Fry has been at the top of my wish list for ideal narrators of The Illusionists since day 1. Not just because of his incredible voice, but also because I have the utmost respect for his activism and his tendency to help underdogs, minorities, and groups facing all kinds of discrimination. Stephen rocks. So imagine my delight when, merely four hours into our campaign to grab his attention, I saw this tweet appear in my timeline:

I have to admit, I literally screamed. My houseguest rushed to my home office to check on me. I spent the following half hour jumping up and down in sheer delight.

Thanks to Stephen Fry’s 6 million Twitter followers, the #adoptTheIllusionists campaign received a deluge of supportive tweets in the afternoon. The best part? Reading the comments to his tweet. There seemed to be widespread consensus that The Illusionists carries an important, timely topic and Stephen Fry’s followers unanimously prodded him to come on board as narrator. Best. Day. Ever.

My hero du jour is my friend Mike Hedge (a very talented filmmaker who made this wonderful film), who favorited nearly EVERY SINGLE TWEET mentioning Stephen Fry and #adoptTheIllusionists – so that Mr. Fry would get extra notifications.

Monday April 14th: Geena Davis

The official launch of the campaign – with the simultaneous release of the first four minutes of The Illusionists (available with subtitles in English, Spanish, French and Italian) and the publishing of the blog post “It Only Takes One Person,” encouraging people to help raise the profile of the film via Twitter.

The celebrity targeted today was the extraordinary Geena Davis, who has been an amazing champion of women directors. Through the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Ms. Davis has been spearheading efforts to “make Hollywood less sexist” and to promote more empowering representations of women and girls in mass media.

After more than 250 tweets from supporters the world over, on Monday evening we received this message from Ms. Davis – via Twitter and Facebook:

Other highlights from today: this supportive message from supermodel and activist Cameron Russell, whose TED Talk “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.” went viral last year.

And this encouraging message from Stella Bugbee, the editorial director of New York Magazine’s The Cut:

For the full list of highlights from our #adoptTheIllusionists campaign, check out our custom Twitter timeline: