After all, what once sounded like any other companyâs publicity-motivated venture into filmmaking has now breached the gates of the Sundance Film Festival and also scored a Grammy nomination. And marketers got the equivalent of walk-ons in the five short films the program produced.
âDealbreaker,â a film under the Reel Moments banner presented by Glamour and Nokia and directed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Mary Wigmore, will be one of 73 shorts screened in Salt Lake City as part of the Sundance festival this January.
âWhat Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life,â a song performed by Sting for a Glamour short directed by his wife, Trudie Styler, has also been nominated for a Grammy in the category of instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist(s).
That does not mean that art-house films are falling to corporate raiders. For one thing, Sundance has long since evolved -- or devolved depending on your view -- from an indie showcase into a high-rolling deal-making mecca. It does suggest, though, that indie movies that are both a) worth watching and b) backed by advertisers can co-exist.
With Reel Moments, an effort run by VP-Publisher William Wackermann, Glamour put itself in the lucrative position of middleman, recruiting advertisers to support short films based on essays submitted by its readers. Each movie is introduced with âGlamour and [advertiser] present a Moxie Pictures film.â
Moxie Pictures is a bicoastal commercial and film production company.
In addition to âDealbreaker,â the Reel Moments shorts include âGood Morning Baby,â presented by Bebe; âWait,â presented by Ford Motor Co.âs Mercury Milan, âLittle Black Dress,â presented by Elizabeth Arden; and âGnome,â presented by Glamour alone. Advertisers get a subtle dose of product placement and a closing credit as well.
"Dealbreaker's" exposure will not be limited to Sundance, as it and the other four shorts will be available on Glamour's Web site, and DVDs will be distributed inside an upcoming issue.
Given the abundance of stadiums like Invesco Field at Mile High, not to mention occasional TV programs titled âCoca-Cola Presents the Young Americansâ or âPepsi Smash,â it is getting easier to imagine buying tickets to see features called âBrawny Paper Towels Presents King Kongâ or âAbsolut Brokeback Mountain.â
Whether thatâs good for cinema is doubtful if not clear, but it presents a new opening for marketers and their media business partners. Magazines havenât played much a role yet; small-screen projects like the annual Vibe Awards and âMTVâs Miss Seventeenâ are about as close as they have come.