Drafthouse Films has acquired global distribution rights to Alex Winter’s documentary “The YouTube Effect.”
The film, which made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022, explores the ascension and potential fall of YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing website. In the docu, YouTubers, reporters, and experts weigh in on the platform, its algorithms as well as privacy and ethical issues the site presents.
“The YouTube Effect” will open exclusively with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas on July 7 before expanding to theaters nationwide on July 14.
Several films directed by Winter, who starred alongside Keanu Reeves in the original “Bill and Ted” movie and its sequels, have played at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in recent years, including “Zappa,” “Panama Papers” and “Deep Web.”
“Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has a long history of collaborating with Alex Winter,” says Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder Tim League. “It is a thrill to see Drafthouse Films dig in even deeper to distribute this incredible and very timely film.”
Winter has also teamed with Kanopy, an educational streaming platform. “The YouTube Effect” will debut on Kanopy and other digital platforms after July 14.
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Drafthouse Films and Kanopy on our release”, says Winter. “The unparalleled scale of Google’s YouTube has significant and problematic implications worldwide and has received much less attention than its competitors.”
Producers include Winter (Trouper Productions), Gale Anne Hurd (Valhalla Entertainment) and Glen Zipper (Zipper Bros. Films).
“With ‘The YouTube Effect,’ we want to shine a light on its benefits and dangers in the hopes of fostering a dialogue on how the platform can be made safer,” Hurd says. “YouTube is a platform as controversial as it is entertaining and yet, for far too long, the general public has been kept in the dark about how its algorithm can drive users down dangerous conspiracy theory rabbit holes.”
The doc’s executive producers include Michael Cho, Mimi Rode and Tim Lee of Olive Hill Media, Michael Y. Chow and Sue Turley of XRM Media, Kevin Lin of Metatheory and Ian Orefice, Rebecca Teitel and Mike Beck for Time Studios.
The deal was negotiated for the filmmakers by Amanda Lebow at CAA and Drafthouse Films ‘s Nick Savva and Ahbra Perry. Drafthouse Films is representing international sales for “The YouTube Effect” at next week’s Cannes Film Market.