You know what they say: if you want distribution done right, do it yourself.
With no parties vying for a deal, the filmmakers behind abortion rights documentary Plan C have opted to launch an official 30-day Kickstarter campaign in order to distribute the film to communities nationwide. Launched on April 19 with a $50,000 goal, the campaign has already raised over $18,000.
“Mainstream media and big streamers only want sports, true crime, maybe a biopic about a celebrity,” says director Tracy Droz Tragos in a written statement to Geek Vibes Nation. “And so we gotta figure this out…PLAN C needs a “plan c” to get out there…”
The documentary, which highlights the titular organization’s efforts to keep the abortion pill accessible nationwide amidst the overturning of Roe v. Wade, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences. It went on to screen at additional festivals nationwide, including South By Southwest and the Cleveland International Film Festival, and has more screenings planned at festivals in Milwaukee and Boston.
And yet, no distribution deal has been struck despite a surge in expensive deals coming out of the festival circuit post-COVID. Tragos’ reasoning? “Implicit and explicit censorship is rampant,” she says. “Traditional distributors and gate-keepers are afraid they’ll be targets for criticism, threats, boycotts and worse…an independent documentary film ‘about abortion’ – forget about it….radioactive!”
The decision to launch their campaign comes at the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to further delay its ruling on nationwide access to the abortion pill. Earlier this month, a Texas judge ordered a federal hold on mifepristone, one of the two drugs that make up the drug, which was initially approved by the FDA in 2000. A contradictory ruling in Washington has sent the issue to the court of last resort, who will announce their ruling on Friday.
“There’s a lot of fear about even talking about this,” said Tragos in a virtual interview with Geek Vibes Nation during SXSW. “I hope, maybe, if you can’t talk about buying abortion pills, you can talk about a movie instead.”
According to the campaign’s Kickstarter page, Plan C’s plan for distribution includes screenings “at theaters, in small groups, and at home.” With their newly acquired funds, the filmmakers plan to provide stipends to groups who have requested to screen the film and continue their impact and activation campaign that began earlier this year. Their hope is that screening the film will continue to raise awareness and provide access to Plan C and their services.
Backers who pledge $50 or more will be given access to the film’s final cut, with an estimated release window of August 2023. Backers who pledge at the $25 tier will be given 48-hour access to the film’s festival cut, originally screened at Sundance.
The filmmakers encourage anybody interested in hosting a local screening to reach out on the film’s website.
See Tracy Droz Tragos’ full statement to Geek Vibes Nation below:
“Despite (or perhaps because of) the hope and crucial information Plan C provides, we have yet to find a distributor for this critically needed film. Implicit and explicit censorship is rampant. Traditional distributors and gate-keepers are afraid they’ll be targets for criticism, threats, boycotts and worse. Independent filmmaking is HARD. And an independent documentary film “about abortion” – forget about it….radioactive! Mainstream media and big streamers only want sports, true crime, maybe a biopic about a celebrity? And so we gotta figure this out…PLAN C needs a “plan c” to get out there…”
Larry Fried is a filmmaker, writer, and podcaster based in New Jersey. He is the host and creator of the podcast “My Favorite Movie is…,” a podcast dedicated to helping filmmakers make somebody’s next favorite movie. He is also the Visual Content Manager for Special Olympics New Jersey, an organization dedicated to competition and training opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities across the Garden State.