By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire February 13, 2014 at 12:14PM
It sounds too good to be true. By watching a movie for free, you can raise money for a charity of your choice. But that's the case with "Beyond Right & Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness," a documentary that features victims of conflicts around the world -- including the aftermath of the 1994 genocide of Rwandans in East Africa -- as they balance their desire for forgiveness with their need for justice.
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode ("Tomorrow Never Dies," "And The Band Played On") and photographer Lekha Singh, the film screened at The Hamptons International Film Festival in 2012 and was presented at a special screening of the General Assembly at the United Nations.
But along with its message of forgiveness, the film is now testing out a new innovative distribution platform, FilmRaise, that could serve as a model for other social impact documentary efforts.The idea of FilmRaise is to raise the visibility of films while raising money for nonprofits. "Beyond Right & Wrong" is FilmRaise's first social impact campaign.
Here's how it works: Filmmakers team up with FilmRaise, which then partners with charities to raise funds for their causes. You select a charity and watch a social impact film for free and then share the campaign via social media.
Every time the film is viewed, the charity collects funds. For instance, every time someone watches "Beyond Right & Wrong" on FilmRaise, money from a $500,000 prize pot is directed to one of the film's nonprofit partners, supporting human rights and peace campaigns.
For every 10,000 online viewers a charity partner -- including the Anasazi Foundation, Free the Children,Malala Fund, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Africa Rising and Women for Women International -- will receive $5,000 from an available $500,000 given by individual donations and from Operation Kids Foundation and other organizations.
Tonight at 7:00 PM ET, Forbes contributor Devin Thorpe will lead a discussion with Singh, one of the film's directors and producers, Kweku Mandela, co-founder of Africa Rising and grandson of Nelson Mandela; and Lindsay Hadley, of Hadley Impact, who developed the plan to donate funds based on the choice of the viewers who watch the film for free. You can watch the discussion live here.
Watch the trailer for "Beyond Right & Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness" below and register to see the film at FilmRaise.com.