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Makers Of Oscar-Shortlisted Documentary “The Act Of Killing” Turn To BitTorrent For Promotion

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BitTorrent has been pitching itself as a legitimate way for content creators to promote their works,  and now the company is announcing what may be its most noteworthy partnership yet — Drafthouse Films and the co-directors of the documentary The Act Of Killing are using a BitTorrent Bundle to promote the iTunes release of the director’s cut.

Noteworthiness is relative, and there’s a decent chance that you haven’t seen or even heard of The Act of Killing. But even though its box office numbers aren’t all that impressive, its reviews are. And the film, in which Indonesian death squad leaders are asked to reenact their killings, made it onto the Academy Award short list for documentaries. (The short list is the last step before the actual nominees are announced in January.)

As for the BitTorrent Bundles, they’re basically packages of free content, usually meant to promote something that people will actually pay for, like a movie or an album or a book. (The content can also be “gated”, requiring users to provide something — say, an email address — before they get access.) Other movies that have been promoted include a project that Madonna co-directed, called secretprojectrevolution.

According to BitTorrent, the Act of Killing bundle will include:

  • VICE Presents: Werner Herzog and Errol Morris on The Act of Killing [Video]
  • Democracy Now! Joshua Oppenheimer Interview [Video]
  • Essay: Errol Morris on The Act of Killing [PDF]
  • Essay: Indonesia on the impact of The Act of Killing, TEMPO Magazine [PDF]
  • The Act of Killing Stills [Photographs]
  • The Act of Killing Trailer [Video]

“The Act of Killing has an important message,” said Drafthouse Films Creative Director Evan Husney in an email. “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible — to preserve this film as a documentary, and as a testament to what happened in Indonesia. BitTorrent Bundle allows us to address a global audience of more than 170 million: to ensure that awareness of the film’s message reaches beyond the Internet’s censors and firewalls.”

Christian Averill, BitTorrent’s director of communications, confirmed that this is the first time the company has worked with Drafthouse, and the first time a BitTorrent Bundle has been used to promote an Oscar shortlisted film. The company has been trying to disassociate itself from piracy in the public consciousness, and Averill added that there are 2 million pieces of licensed and legal content on BitTorrent. He said the promotion shows that “the industry is recognizing the potential of BitTorrent Bundle as a transmedia format to reach massive audiences without limits on size, access or file type.”