HYPE DREAM FOR FILM

By Published on .

This much is certain: Jeffrey Jackson is a documentary maker. Whether he's a smart marketer or a shameless opportunist is a matter of opinion.

But Mr. Jackson is forcing himself into the marketplace of public opinion and media punditry by promoting his 1993 documentary, "Death & Taxes," by hitching it to the tragedy in Oklahoma City.

"Death & Taxes" chronicles the life and death of Gordon Kahl, a farmer-turned-tax protester who killed two U.S. marshals and wounded three others in Medina, N.D., in 1983. Several months later, he resurfaced in Arkansas and was killed by federal agents.

The movie opened in September 1993 in five North Dakota towns and had a successful two-week run, Mr. Jackson said. It has also run at film festivals in London and Boston.

But now "Death & Taxes" is getting increased attention from a grass-roots marketing effort in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. Last week, Mr. Jackson issued a news release touting his film, headlined "The prequel to the Oklahoma City bombing."

Even before Oklahoma City, Mr. Jackson was marketing videos of his documentary with an 800 number-1-800-BURY-IRS-publicized in newsletters and direct mailings to state militia members.

The activity is being organized by Mr. Jackson's Country People Productions, Marina del Rey, Calif.

Mr. Jackson defended such tactics, saying the national news media have invited discussion of Mr. Kahl by frequently mentioning him in their Oklahoma City coverage.

The filmmaker is currently producing infomercials for video versions of his movie that he wants to run on the National Empowerment Network, a cable channel dedicated to airing conservative points of view.

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