Friday, July 25, 2008

NY Opening at the Village Cinema Theater August 1st!

"America the Beautiful," opens in New York next Friday August 1st at the Village Cinema Theater - 22 E. 12th St. in Manhattan. As we all know, NY is the most important market in the country for opening a film and I need your help.

I'm currently reading a movie marketing book and it states that in order for a message to stick with a consumer, they have to hear or see it 7 times. They call it repetitive advertising. By my calculation, that means I should mention our NY opening 6 more times in the body of this update. But I have mucho faith that you'll remember the details without me doing that. So I'll probably only do it one more time at the end.

The NY Premiere for "America the Beautiful," last week was awesome. We had a full house and it was the first time showing the new cut of the film. It played very well.

So many people have come on board to help us get our message out. Much to my surprise, the media was very supportive in NY. There were a couple of hiccups. But overall, the media embraced the film. I have some links below.

People are starting to ask me, "why did you, a man, make this film in the first place?"

Well, the answer is this:

One day I was on the internet and ran across a story of a guy that murdered a model. He said he did it because she was really beautiful and wouldn't date him. And if he couldn't have her no one could. I was sitting there thinking, that's really stupid to throw your life away over a beautiful woman.

That made me think to myself, have I ever done anything stupid over a beautiful woman. Immediately, I thought about the time I was about to go on a first date with this woman that was so beautiful, that everytime I made eye contact with her I became
discombobulated. I knew that her favorite colors were red and black and her favorite car was a Jaguar. Well like a nut, for our first date I brought a used red and black Jaguar, so she could take her pick. When I really processed how crazy that was, I started thinking why are we so obsessed with beauty in the first place. That question was the inspiration for me to start my adventurous 5 year journey.

I'm glad that I did it. Considering the mental/emotional condition of young girls today, it's very important to reinforce in them that they have to love themselves exactly the way that are and that we all have the power to recapture our self-esteems from the advertising/beauty industries.

Now back to the premiere!

As you may or may not know, Kirsten Haglund, the 2008 Miss America joined us at the NY premiere. She did 10 to 15 interviews with me and was very eloquent in explaining her personal story of dealing with an eating disorder. She was a ballerina as a young teen and when she saw the other dancers that were skinnier than her in conjunction with the images that she was being fed by the media, it ended in a "I'm not good enough" crescendo; an eating disorder.

Kirsten and I were given an award by ANAD for our work in raising the awareness of eating disorders. It was a very nice award. The neighbors dog chewed my digital camera or I would have inserted a picture of the award right here.

ny premiere 1
Director Darryl Roberts and Kirsten Haglund, 2008 Miss America.

Michael Beach, the star of the TV shows "ER and Third Watch," as well as the movies "Waiting to Exhale and Soulfood," flew in from Los Angeles to join us. Michael was our first executive producer.

ny premiere 9
Actor Michael Beach

"America the Beautiful," is a film that deals with a historically women's issue, but was 100% financed by men. I've always dreamed of the day when men would rally together in support of women. Well here we are. I'd like to thank Mr. Beach, Mr. Damore, Dr. Anderson, and the late Terence Wright for their vision and support.

On another note, I ran into a guy situation that wasn't as supportive. I planned on using the Marilyn Manson song, "The Beautiful People," under a montage of kids playing, having fun and being innocent. This was to illustrate that it's the everyday things in life that makes one beautiful.

Well Marilyn's management said we couldn't use the song in the film because of the film's subject matter. I was dazed and confused when I heard that. The film's subject matter? We're trying to uplift women by telling them that they're beautiful whether or not they look like the images in magazines. How does that message run counter to the song "The Beautiful People?" After several minutes of pontification, a friend of mine figured it was simply about the money. I just wasn't paying enough.

I'd never listened to a Marilyn Manson song until 5 years ago. It was after I saw him in an interview in the doc "Bowling for Columbine." I remember thinking, wow, he seems pretty deep. Totally different from what I thought he'd be like. So I immediately started listening to his music and that's when I discovered "The Beautiful People." So I'm a little dissapointed that we can't use the song, but I'll trust that they had a good reason.

Marilyn, stay positive and we still love you! We found some great music to put in the place of the song. It's a little rocky and it rocks!

NEWSFLASH - The Mancini estate allowed us to use the Pink Panther music. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Okay. Back to New York. As it turns out. The media in NY was very kind to us. We've already gotten our first 4 star review. You can read it here:

4 star review

This feature article came out today in the NY Sun. Read it here:

NY Sun Article

Things got even better. I found out that one of the writers / editors at Glamour Magazine loved ATB and thought it was excellent. She even wrote a small article on the Glamour website that included a picture of Gerren. The article is already starting debate as evidenced by the comments at the bottom of the page. This is really cool. Read it here:

Glamour Magazine Mention

I also met a very fascinating woman on the streets of NY by accident. Her name is Sage Salzer. She's the top plus sized model in the U.S. She was very happy that the film was coming to New York and she said she'd do whatever she could to help us get the word out. She's a trailblazer and I'm sure that she has lots of connections. I must say, to be so accomplished, she was a very nice woman and I found her very inspirational. You can read her story here:

Time for another public service announcement. I'd like to thank everyone for making our August 1st opening a success. I'm doing a little projecting here!

The film opens Friday August 1st in NY at the:

Cinema Village Theater
22 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003

Was that subtle or did it have the kick that most ads have?

We're going to have a couple of more word of mouth screenings and I'd like to invite all of you to attend with one little caveat. After you see the film, spread the word and forward these emails to all of your friends in NY. Start a blog. Host an "America the Beautiful," party. Hey, that's not unreasonable, you did it for "Sex and the City."


On July 29th at the Cinema Village Theater at 7pm, we're going to have a word of mouth screening supported by various media organizations in NY. If you'd like to come to this screening, email me and I'll leave a pass for you at the door. There will be a couple of special guest at this screening, so it should be fun. Remember after you see the film, we'd appreciate it if you spread the word to everyone and get them to come out opening weekend, starting August 1st to see the film. (Now this plug was smooth).

On July 30th, I'm considering hosting a doozy of a screening. Have you ever watched "The Actor's Studio," on Bravo? If all goes well, I will moderate a discussion with Gerren Taylor (the young model from "America the Beautiful") and have a no-holds barred discussion about what really happened with her modeling career in NY. When I was shooting the film (Gerren was 12), her mother wouldn't let her talk about some of things that were happening because she was a minor. Well Gerren is now 18 (had a birthday 2 weeks ago), and she wants to talk about it. You don't want to miss this.

This event won't be posted or advertised anywhere. You have to email me and let me know that you'd like to attend and I'll send you a personal email of the exact time and location for the July 30th screening. Ladies and gentlemen this will be explosive. I 've always wanted this information in the film but at this point, I'm just happy for the truth to be told!

Gerren Taylor
Gerren Taylor

I'm busy this week trying to make as many people as possible aware of our August 1st opening in NY. Don't forget to spread the word. If you have any ideas of ways that I should be promoting the film in NY, drop me an email. Have a beautiful day!

Darryl Roberts

Monday, July 14, 2008

NYC-Here We Come!

I hope everyone had a great, wonderful and fantastic weekend. Make sure you read this email to the very end because I have passes for our NY premiere at the bottom. That's right! Some of you will be able to join us this Thursday at the NY premiere of "America the Beautiful," which takes a look at America's unhealthy obsession with beauty.

Over the last few days, I've been in the thick of things getting ready for this Premiere. I can't believe it's finally here. Sometimes I think about calling in sick, like I did as a child when I thought the test would be too hard. But I won't. I promise. I'm going to face the music.

I've been informed (I have spies too) that the beauty industry is trying to figure out how to handle ATB coming to their backyard. Let me help you. It's quite simple:

Start showing images of all types of women in your magazines. Women of all sizes are beautiful, aren't they?

Stop promoting reckless diets on TV that don't work anyway. Start promoting healthy living.

Take out the toxins in cosmetics. If Europe can do it, so can we.

Start reinforcing positive messages to young girls. Things like: being a lady, manners, respect, honesty, integrity, pursuit of intelligence, culture, etc. You get the message.

I promise if you start doing the aformentioned things, you'll notice that the world will start to become a better place. Enough lecturing. Back to the matter at hand.

Some people have told me with great certainty that there was a snowballs chance in (you fill in the location) that the beauty industry was going to allow me to come to NY and promote a film that challenges their culpibility in the erosion of women's self-esteem.

So being a visionary, I came up with a plan to combat that. Remember I told you awhile ago that a special guest was joining me in NY to help get press and spread the word, well the special guest is the 2008 Miss America, Kirsten Haglund.

Miss America 2

I know what some of you are thinking, Miss America? I got the idea from the eating disorders community. She was speaking at the IAEDEP Conference in Florida where ATB was showing. I didn't get a chance to meet her, but everyone there was talking about how intelligent she is. She was there because she had a very bad eating disorder and was hospitalized at one time in her life. Because of that, her platform as Miss America is to raise awareness for eating disorders.

So I thought, hey, she has a lot to say about the images we're being bombarded with because she was effected personally by them, why not have her join me in my quest to get the word out about the film in NY.

That was my brilliant plan. Have the publicist pitch the filmmaker of ATB and his sidekick Miss America to the press as a team. I figured they'd book us both and we could get our messages out since they run parallel to each other.

Well, I underestimated how well the fashion, media, cosmetics and advertising industries in NY know each other. What turned out as a brilliant plan turned into a LOT of we only want Miss America for the interview. Hmmmm. So in Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, St. Louis and every where else I go, I'm all over the television and radio, but not in NY. In baseball that would be considered a shutout!

Right now the score is:

Beauty industry - 4 Darryl Roberts - 1

I get a point for coming up with the brilliant idea in the first place. I know you've heard the saying "it's not over until it's over." I have another plan. This one rocks as well. I can't talk about it right now because it only works as a clandestine operation. If successful, it will get the word out in a major way.

I promised you that I would fight this fight until my shoulder blades itched. My goal and purpose is to enlighten and save as many girls as I can and have them to stop feeling bad about themselves. Yul Brenner said in "The Ten Commandments," - "So let it be written. So let it be done."

So I'm going to NY to be the caddy for Miss America. I thought in the book "The Art of War," it said that you were supposed to bring the fight fast and furious in your adversaries face, creating a sort of shock and awe. Wait a minute, I just remembered, one day a friend of mine invited me over to play Scrabble and watch "Sanford and Son," while I was intensely reading. I ended up skipping two chapters of the book that day. That's where the plan went wrong.

To be fair, I must admit there are a couple of brave souls that have agreed to interview me in NY. One daily paper even agreed to interview me without Miss America. Boy are they going to get a scoop.

I feel like I'm living the message of the film all over again. Several press people have asked, can we interview the model. Or will Paris Hilton or Jessica Simpson do an interview. I haven't had one yet ask for an interview with Dr. Anne Becker (Havard sociologist) that did the Fiji study in the film. This is the study that showed how 3 years of television destroyed Fiji's culture. As a matter of fact, they haven't asked to interview anyone that really have something to say about our obsession. The requests have been exploiting about youth, beauty, and celebrity over the airwaves.

Sometimes we say that people in Los Angeles are shallow. Lost. In need of salvation. But when you think about it, the industries in NY are the ones wreaking mucho havoc on us. Movie stars don't have to be overly beautiful. Just quirky. But the fashion and advertising industries would have you believe that a broomstick with a dress hanging off of it is the epitomy of beauty.

Enough talking about it. I'm ready to go to NY to see what the future holds.

The film opens officially in New York on Friday August 1st. I need everone in New York to see the film and if you don't live in New York, send this email to everyone that you personally know that does.

If we don't do well opening weekend, they'll throw me out of the theater so fast, you'll think that I'd stolen something.

The film opens August 1st at:

Cinema Village Theater
12 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003

We'll know where our second theater is in a week or so. Okay, say a prayer for me, because in 3 days, I'm on a plane to our (ummm...Miss America's) Red Carpet Premiere in NY. Yowza!

By the way, as I type this, I'm listening to a song on repeat. It's a really annoying habit that I have that drives my staff out of the room. The song is "Dizzy." They don't write lyrics like this anymore:

"Dizzy. I'm so Dizzy. My head is spinning. Like a Whirlpirl it never ends. And it's you girl making it spin. You're making me dizzy."

As I sit here alone because it's the 112th time in a row that it's played, I realize that maybe I'm the one dizzy.

I promised you passes to the premiere. Well here's the situation. On paper the premiere is booked to capacity, but as we all know some people won't show up. If you click on the link, print the invite and bring it to the theater, we'll let people in on a frist come, first serve basis until the theater is full. We'll start letting people in at 6:50pm, even though you may want to get there a little earlier. I've gotten tons of emails from people in NY asking when the film was coming to the Big Apple, so here you are:

I look forward to meeting you on Thursday. This is going to be fun!

Darryl Roberts

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"America the Beautiful" - Jessica Simpson / Dove

Well. Well. Well. What do you know! Before I share a story with you about a fashion/beauty editor at the big newspaper in St. Louis, I'd like to share a small victory that I had at a film festival. At the film festival my assistant Jason was in a taxi going home and the driver asked him "what film were you here for?"

Jason responded "America the Beautiful."

The driver told him "I had these 2 women in my cab this morning and they were going home to Los Angeles." They said they'd seen "America the Beautiful," and one of them said that she was canceling her plastic surgery appointment as soon as she got back."

When I heard that story, my sufficiencies were sophonsified. Not too long after that,
On another note, the other day I was minding my business doing some work on the computer and an email popped up and in the subject line it said...JESSICA SIMPSON.

My first thought was maybe she wants me to intervene to help her get her husband back. So I open it and it's this message from her manager..."Jessica Simpson, and I am tryingto figure out what participation
Jessica did in your film? We have no documentation of this film, nor release signed by Jessica. I was surprised to see this listed on her credits as part of the cast. I would love to know what her involvement is in the film, as I can not find anything other than some articles that said you interviewed her??? Please respond asap, as I need to get this handled."

After reading this, my first conscious thought was of a

I immediately asked Jason if we had a release for Jessica Simpson. All the
while my heart racing 1,000 beats per minute. I actually expected
a call/email like this from Paris Hilton's people. Not Jessica Simpson,
she seemed so sweet when I interviewed her. After we found Jessica's release, I immediately emailed the manager letting her know that we have full legal permission to use Jessica's likeness in our documentary. I even put out an invitation for Jessica to attend our premiere
in New York. I told the manager that I would personally treat Jessica to some Goober's and
Chicken of the Sea Tuna. Well I never heard back from her. I guess it's safe to say that
Jessica won't be attending the premiere.

In the process of finding Jessica's release, I found a priceless piece of footage
of Jessica that I shot. I actually forgot all about it. It will premiere in the film
for the New York showing. Remember Jessica, if your manager hadn't emailed
me, I wouldn't have stumbled across this footage.

Lost in NY

This is me lost in NY - just 3 hours ago. I was on my way to the big cosmetics meeting.


Remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned that a cosmetics company wanted to speak to me about the film. How many people guessed Dove? Those of you that did get a gold star!

About 2 weeks ago the publicist for Dove contacted me and said that one of the Dove Models had seen the film in Chicago and he also said that he'd read the Roger Ebert review and was aware that Dove was featured in our film. He even sent me the Roger Ebert article to show that's how he'd heard about everything.

I should mention here that one of my favorite activities growing up was solving mental puzzles. I may not be a genius, but I do know how he really found out about Dove being in the film. But for the sake of keeping peace, I didn't say anything.

So Mr. publicist insisted that he and the people from Dove see the film because maybe we could work together....

knockout punch
I stopped at a Planet Hollywood and boxed with Sylvester Stallone before the Dove meeting. Sylvester knocked me out which was remarkable because he is a statue. I was sure that this was symbolic of what was to come.

I had two inherent problems with going to the Dove meeting. The first one was, some lady in the film had mentioned that Dove was using larger women in their initial campaign to sell firming lotion. I figured they wouldn't like that and also I have a big section in the film about phthalates (toxins) in cosmetics.

Environmentalists are proving that phthalates in cosmetics cause breast cancer and various allergies in women. VERY FEW cosmetic companies are phthalate free. VERY FEW! So how akward is it to sit in a meeting with the publicist of Dove, the brand manager of Dove, the filmmaker that makes all of the Dove video's...hmmm... and several other people whose identities are completely unknown to me. While the film was playing, everyone was writing notes in their tablets.

I wanted to holler out..."class is in session ladies and gentlemen." But I knew they wouldn't think that was funny.

Being the hopeless romantic (optimist) that I am, I came up with the perfect plan to pitch to them after the meeting.

I'd tell them that the women that insinuated that their marketing was disingenuous, was only voicing her personal opinion, but I (being a huge visionary) see a way that we can join forces and conquer the world. I'd explain that after spending 5 years doing the film, I'm deeply committed to helping women and young girls in any way that I can. I'd then say - "I'm not accusing you of anything and I'm sure you're not even aware of it, but I suspect that there are some ingredients in your products that are possibly doing women harm. Let's test them and if they're there, we can make an announcement to the press that you're going to remove them and then we can lock arms. In that Rodney King "Can we all get along kind of way." We never got close to this point.

After the film was over, there were no harmonious offers to conquer the world. Only - "very well done," and "wow! we need a couple of days to digest this. Wow!" The last time I heard this was when I was 12 and I played hookey from school and got caught by my mom. So "I need a couple of days to digest this," is rarely good. I got that feeling in my stomach that you get when you know your spouse is about to ask for a divorce.

But I must say, they were really nice. They gave me some hot buttered popcorn and a chocolate cookie.

It brings up the point that the beauty industry isn't neccessarily these evil people out to destroy the world. Some of them are hard-working, nice people doing a job to keep a roof over their heads. Maybe we should be looking at the tenets of capitalism. When a companies main goal is profit...profit...profit...there has to be a victim in the equation. And it's usually us. That's simple mathematics.

Myself and the Dove team, left the building, going our own seperate ways, giving new meaning to the term riding off into the sunset.


On a brighter note, last week the Girl Scouts of America emailed me and said they'd like to showcase ATB to their girls nationwide. They felt it would be a very important tool for them. How cool is that. Doing something for the Girl Scouts. We've come a long way with this film. Did I ever mention that the entire film was edited in my second bedroom. Only in America!


And the New York opening (August 6th) is shaping us nicely. Next week after the 4th of July, I'm going to share with you how you or anyone that you know in NY can get tickets to a pre-screening of "America the Beautiful." You/they can become personal disciples in helping to spread the word. New York is going to be our toughest city yet. The entire industry is there and I assure you that I haven't seen the last of them.

For now, I'm signing off. I hve a 6am flight in the morning back to Chicago. As they say...back to reality!