Pic's stars mount Oscar campaign

With the New Year comes studios’ full-scale launch of their Oscar campaigns, with millions of dollars spent on ads and videocassettes for Acad voters. If you haven’t got the cash, you’re bound to be lost in the shuffle.

So Edward James Olmos and Maria Conchita Alonso have launched a campaign out of their own pockets for “Caught,” Robert M. Young’s film noir drama which was quietly released by Sony Pictures Classics in September.

With Sony saying there was little in the budget to finance the campaign, they decided to do it themselves, placing several weeks’ worth of ads and sending out videos to Acad voters. And following a rave notice last week in the New York Times, they are hoping the pic will be re-released.

The $1.6 million movie earned strong notices, but did not receive the kind of Oscar push given to other indies “Shine” and “Secrets & Lies.”

“It’s no longer just enough to make a movie and then step back and see what happens,” said Young, who is grateful to the pic’s stars for financing the campaign. He has little left to spend himself after raising the money to make “Caught.”

He made “Caught” in much the same way that today’s young Sundance filmmakers would make their movies. He raised money from investors, spent his own DGA pension funds and got a cast – including Olmos and Alonso – who agreed to defer salary for scale wages. But Young is no Gen X maverick: Now 72, his credits that includes “Triumph of the Spirit,” “Dominick and Eugene” and “One Trick Pony.”

Olmos said one of his motivations for financing the campaign was that Young has a long career of pictures reflecting the Latino and African-American experience – and he wanted to make sure “Caught” gets its due acclaim.

Young compared the financing of “Caught” to one of his earliest films, 1964’s “Nothing But a Man,” which he co-wrote with director Michael Roemer and acted as d.p. on.

“I used to think it was wrong to try to push my movie,” Young said. “I thought it was immodest.”

But he realized that is not the case anymore, with a crowded field all competing for attention from Acad voters.

“We are doing this at the last minute,” he said. “But it is the only way that it could be done.”

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