Multifaceted initiative wows critics and fans en route to Best Documentary Oscar glory

The documentary 20 Feet from Stardom highlights the story of back-up singers living in the shadow of their feature artists.

Organization: Radius-TWC (New York)
Campaign:
20 Feet from Stardom
Duration
: January 2013-March 2014
Budget
: Under $250,000

The documentary 20 Feet from Stardom highlights the story of back-up singers living in the shadow of their feature artists. "The movie and these women deserved to be in the spotlight," says Liza Burnett Fefferman, executive VP of publicity at Radius-TWC.

Strategy
Fefferman, along with Donna Daniels PR, MPRM PR, and Lovell-Fairchild Communications, managed an aggressive PR campaign with private performances, media relations, and screenings before the documentary’s release in June 2013.

Tactics
The singers were brought along on the screening tour where they were available for Q&As and to sing a cappella. Film screenings were targeted at organizations that would support their story, such as the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science and the American Association of Retired Persons.

The documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shown at other events including South by Southwest.

The women from the movie sang the national anthem at the Rose Bowl and gave press exclusive access to their rehearsal prior to the game. Judith Hill, a woman featured on the documentary, was a contestant on NBC’s The Voice.

Results
20 Feet from Stardom
won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 2014 awards. The film brought in about $5 million in US box office revenue. Coverage garnered included The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and on TV shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show, and Today.

"There were so many people in the film world rooting for the film," says director Morgan Neville. "The real heart of the PR campaign was in the months of groundwork leading up to the movie’s release."

Future
Radius-TWC aims to replicate the success with another film this year.

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.

News by email...