Bollywood Publicist Threatens Our Livelihood and Iron Man Coverage
by Alex Billington
March 28, 2008
A few weeks back I start getting numerous emails from a random publicist trying to get me to add two unknown films to our release schedule. Normally I take a good look at the films and throw them on there if I'm familiar with them in the slightest. Being in this industry, I've usually heard of every and any movie, literally. However these two I'd never heard of and I skipped the e-mail; if I catch a trailer or hear about them at another future point, I can always add them at that time. But no, that wasn't the end of this guy. After getting a phone call a few days back and declining the addition yesterday, he threatened to disallow us from covering Iron Man because they rep the "third and fourth billing actors."
After taking his phone call and suggesting he e-mail me with more info and links, I inquired as to what exactly these films were and who they were being distributed by - Eros Entertainment. Again, another company I had never heard of (and that is very rare). He went on to claim they were being released "wide", which I laughed at, because I'm certain I would have heard of them if they were showing up at my local theater. He finished up and sent me an e-mail, which I didn't have a chance to look at closely until yesterday.
After checking out his two films, which were both Bollywood films that I still had never heard of (which need not be named - but that photo above IS from one of them), I decided to decline his request. Until I was convinced otherwise, they weren't really films that anyone would know and would be an odd fit on our schedule. I wrote an e-mail back to him and said the following:
I've taken a look at both of your features and unfortunately we will not be able to add them to our release schedule. I have not heard of either and am not familiar with either, nor have I ever heard of Eros Entertainment. While we do usually try to include independent films, these are just too far off the map. I am not even sure what theaters they will be playing at and I highly doubt that they're going to be in the typical 3000 screen run.
You ready for his e-mail that he sent back to me?
Well I'm sorry to hear that since YOU have never heard of these filmmakers or the distributor, these films will not have a fair shot at being exposed to the First Showing community like others. The fact is that Bollywood has made a lot of news within 07 with the release of Sawaariya and continues to make waves especially in cities like New York and Los Angeles which is why many Bollywood titles are acquiring wide releases.
I wonder how things in this world will ever get better if we continue our to ignore, mistreat and misuse the "unfamiliar."
FYI - I also am working with the third and fourth billing actors (Gwenyth Paltrow/ Shaun Toub) of the Movie Iron Man, which opens May 2. Rest assure we will not consider First Showing for any coverage.
Thank you for your consideration
Oh I will rest assured Mr. Bass. And you're most welcome for my consideration as well, because I was glad to deny it. I have nothing against Bollywood features, but I believe it is essentially an entirely different medium that hasn't become embraced by the mainstream (that reads this site). We have an "idea" for our site - and that includes catering to the mainstream consumer by focusing on movies we think they'll like. Bollywood doesn't fit into that at all and I'm sorry. Plus, it's our decision to control what ends up here or not, which is why it's ridiculous to threaten us when we make a choice regarding our content.
I thought this might be worthwhile sharing with all of our readers. Thankfully I don't deal with this all the time, but it was an interesting experience that I soon won't forget. And rest assured FS.net readers, we'll certainly still be covering Iron Man.