By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire October 7, 2013 at 10:42AM
"Blood Brother," the acclaimed documentary about one man's trip to India and how it changed his life, as well as the lives of children at an orphanage there, will be coming to theaters around the country this month. Even if it's not playing in your town, you can see the movie -- it will air on PBS in January as part of "Independent Lens" and digital (Netflix and OnDemand) shortly afterward.
Cinedigm has the rights for DVD and digital distribution and ITVS Independent Lens has the television broadcast rights. And now the "Blood Brother" filmmaking team has partnered with Tugg, the theatrical-on-demand web platform, and are asking people to screen the film in their community as part of a grassroots effort. All of the proceeds go to the subjects in the film and to other HIV/AIDS initiatives.
Since the film was funded entirely by donations, all of the proceeds from the film will be used to help support the orphanage and the children with HIV in India, as well as to fund Rocky and his continuing efforts.
Directed by Steve Hoover, the film took home the Documentary Grand Jury prize and Audience Award for a documentary at last year's Sundance Film Festival.
In the synopsis for the film, Sundance wrote, "The unmistakable power of love is celebrated in this story of one man’s
decision to move to India and restart his life among the dispossessed... Despite
formidable challenges, his playful spirit and determination in the face
of despair proves to be an invaluable resource."
The film is as much a portrait of a man in transition as a community in need. Although the film features difficult images of sick and dying children, its message is ultimately uplifting and hopeful without being overly sentimental or treacly.
It's not necessarily the sort of fare that will make it to the local mall cineplex, which is where Tugg comes in.
"The most appealing part of Tugg was that we could expand the theatrical footprint. We found at the screenings that experiencing the film with a large group of people was a positive event," said "Blood Brother" director Steve Hoover, who also appears in the film (as Rocky's best friend). "Essentially, we are bringing people together to watch a film and the money they are paying is actually going to the people in the film, which supports our desire to help Rocky and the kids."
Screenings have already been scheduled throughout the country, everywhere from Washington D.C. and Boca Raton, FL to Mesa, AZ and Eugene, OR. You can see all of the upcoming screenings and find out how to host your own here. In addition to the theatrical screenings, "Blood Brother" screenings area also planned at community centers, churches and college campuses.
"It's an opportunity to bring people together," said Hoover. "You're watching a film and essentially, making a difference by paying to watch it."
For its part, Tugg felt that "Blood Brother" was an ideal film for the platform. ""I first saw it at Sundance and was blown away by the film and also more importantly, the audience's reaction to it," said Dan Parnes, Tugg content partnerships director. "Everyone seemed to be really moved by it.. Everyone was going to talk to the filmmakers afterwards with one question - 'how can I help share the film?'"
The film will open in New York on October 18, in Los Angeles on October 25 and in select cities nationwide after, and now, through Tugg, people around the country have the chance to see "Blood Brother" in their communities.
"The exciting thing about a film like 'Blood Brother' is that the community is there and they are hungry to help," said Parnes, who added that Tugg has a fundraising feature so that when somebody is hosting a screening, they can choose to donate directly to the filmmakers.
"When people are hosting screenings through Tugg, they're not just seeing the film. About 90% of the events that we have do an in-theater component like a discussion that allows people to engage further with the subject matter of the film," said Parnes.
To learn more about how you can host a "Blood Brother" screening, visit this site.
"Simply by watching the film, people are able to make a difference," the filmmakers explain in the following video:
You can see a trailer of "Blood Brother" below: