Documentaries and Brand Names: Selling Out or Making Art?

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The DOC NYC festival and Grey New York have teamed up to create Launch PAD. The program is one that will match film makers with brands, but to whose benefit?

On Monday DOC NYC and Grey New York, in association with Morgan Spurlock--creator of the documentary Supersize Me--announced the new initiative. Today, at 4:15 p.m. the two groups held an informational "Branded Content Panel" at the IFC center. The creators of this initiative were very optimistic about its possibilities, "We see tremendous potential for doc makers to leverage both the marketing resources and advertising expertise of these brands to gain more exposure," said Artistic Director for DOC NYC and Launch PAD creator, Thom Powers.

However, it remains unclear how exactly this happy marriage will take place. Ideally, documentary film makers would be able to reach greater notoriety and success through the help of this brand-attachment and the brands will in turn benefit from the exposure. But is this a sell out?

How will the brand's benefit? Are we going to be seeing plugs for Pepsi and Nike in documentary films? Many people view documentaries as one of the last sincere forms of film-making, and this program brings into question how exactly the balance of art and branding will work.

The Launch PAD program goal is "to create meaningful marketing programs to support both the brand and the film," according to the press release. Time can only tell what the nature of these programs will be and who really will be getting the most "support."

By McCamey Lynn

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