Morgan Spurlock and a group of economically-minded filmmakers are on a mission to prove that the best things on screen are free.
The “Super Size Me” director is teaming up with Landmark Theatres this month to offer the new film series, “We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss” for free at 20 locations ranging from Boston to San Diego for one night only. The film will then be made available digitally and through other platforms the next day, also without charge.
Spurlock jokes that when he first told Landmark CEO and President Ted Mundorff that he wanted to offer the film for free there was a brief moment of silence before the exhibitor quickly said he was on board.
“We want to create an event to launch this and have it really take off,” said Spurlock.
The project is a collection of twenty short films from such directors as Mary Harron (“American Psycho”), Albert Hughes (“The Book of Eli”), Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County USA”), Jon M. Chu (“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) and Adam McKay (“Anchorman”). It seeks to demystify economics, explaining how money works and how commerce impacts our lives, and includes a mixture of performers and thought leaders such as Jeffrey Sachs, Amy Poehler, Joseph Stiglitz and Maya Rudolph.
“A lot of us find economics confusing and we like to believe it is a bit above our pay grade and it takes a genius to understand how it works,” said Spurlock. “We want people to realize they need to have a better understanding of what these things mean for them and that the choices they make have an impact.”
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The venture is spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Spurlock’s Cinelan. Allen’s company produces many educational films and had been looking for a project dealing with economics when he joined forces with Spurlock, who serves as executive producer on the film.
“A little knowledge goes a long way,” Spurlock said. “There may not be much of an R.O.I. on this project, but the bigger win will be the R.O.E., the return on education.”
“We the Economy” will screen on October 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the following Landmark locations: Atlanta, Ga. (Midtown Art Cinema), Baltimore, Md. (Harbor East), Berkeley, Calif. (Shattuck Cinemas), Boston, Mass. (Kendall Square Cinema), Chicago, Ill. (Century Centre Cinema), Dallas, Tex. (The Magnolia), Denver, Colo. (Chez Artiste Theatre), Detroit, Mich. (Main Art Theatre), Houston, Tex. (River Oaks Theatre), Indianapolis, Ind. (Keystone Art Cinema), Los Angeles, Calif. (The Landmark), Milwaukee, Wis. (Oriental Theatre), Minneapolis, Minn.(Edina Cinema), New York City, N.Y. (Sunshine Cinema), Philadelphia, Pa. (Ritz Five), San Diego, Calif. (Hillcrest Cinemas), San Francisco, Calif. (Embarcadero Center Cinema), Seattle, Wash. (Harvard Exit Theatre), St. Louis, Mo. (Tivoli Theatre),Washington, D.C. (E Street Cinema). Tickets are available on the company’s website.