16 November 2007

Now I don't even know if I can tell you the name of the film

Is a blogger the same as a journalist?

I ask this question because I attended a screening of an excellent film last night, followed by the privilege of a lengthy Q&A session with the director. I'm quite certain the publicists want grassroots support for this film, or we would not have seen it and been treated to the access to its director. This is a key market for a film like this; this was an audience that had college students and film enthusiasts and political activists, even war veterans.

But before the film I asked expressly if I could cover this event for Movie Habit, where I write film reviews, and was told absolutely no press. Yet I took notes (partly because it helps me remember things and partly because I hadn't gotten the message when I went into the theater). I did, however, get the message when I got home, in email and on my message machine. In fact, my editor at Movie Habit even received a note, which he tried to relay to me before the screening.

So I understand that they feel they can reserve the right to have a member of the press not cover it for a publication, but the screening was "open to the public" (they were handing out free tickets and handed me one when I walked out of the bookstore right nearby last night) and presumably a event like this has the purpose of generating positive buzz for the film.

With all I gathered last night, I could easily write a commentary on the film and recreate some key moments from the Q&A, but now I feel I am not supposed to.

Yet undoubtedly the filmmakers want support for their film within the community, a little viral marketing. (They've got it; I know other people liked the film and four people have already asked me how the film was. I said it's very good. Quite powerful. Moreover, I would have said the same thing even if I hadn't been seven feet from the director last night.)

But today I feel a little stepped on as a writer, as the backyard journalist that I am by nature. Wouldn't you?

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