- Associated Press - Monday, October 31, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Morgan Spurlock is still selling out, only now he wants to help other documentary filmmakers find ad dollars, too.

The director on Monday announced the creation of Launch PAD, an initiative to help filmmakers find sponsorship and product placement deals with advertisers. The program is being launched by the DOC NYC festival and advertising company Grey New York.

Though documentarians typically avoid alliances with corporate sponsors, Spurlock made product placement the subject of his 2011 film "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

Thom Powers, artistic director for the documentary festival, said he hopes the program will help documentaries fighting for financial support and distribution.

"We see tremendous potential for doc makers to leverage both the marketing resources and advertising expertise of these brands to gain more exposure," said Powers. "Too many times we’ve seen great films create really strong festival buzz but not have the means or the know-how to translate that into a meaningful release."

Launch PAD has five films for which it will seek financial assistance, and it plans to select five more films in the coming months.

The program will be led by Claudia Strauss, CEO of Grey New York’s Alliance unit. Strauss, Powers and Spurlock will try to pair films with brands.

"This is a unique opportunity for both brands and filmmakers to benefit from the other’s expertise," Spurlock said.




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