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Friday 30 August 2013, 17:24

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

A few days ago a truly bizarre promotional kit was sent out to the press for the film A Belfast Story. Here I unveil its contents and ask 'Why?!'

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    Comment number 6.

    Being from Belfast I am particularly annoyed by the stupidity of the film production team. After the majestic brilliance of Good Vibrations, a Belfast story is setting my local film scene back 20 years with this. Had anyone even heard of the film before this controversy?

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    Comment number 11.

    This is just embarrassing. As a resident of NI and a writer/ film-maker, this is the sort of stunt that just gets us noticed for all the wrong reasons.

    I’m guessing someone thought this would be really edgy, probably the same people who think Mrs. Brown’s Boys is really edgy. Most of the items in that box I just found baffling. I wonder how much of their budget they squandered putting together a press kit which will probably be binned by 99% of the people they send it to.

    This makes me furious when there are so many talented indie film-makers in NI being turned away by the major funding bodies, but who still struggle and make full-length films for less than this gimmick probably cost.

    To me, a stunt like this smacks of desperation; a last ditch effort to grab some headlines for a film that they probably think is going to, excuse the pun, bomb.

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    Comment number 20.

    I will leave the political discussions to those more qualified to speak about them but from the perspective of it being a press kit... I dunno, it is a press kit - it's advertising, it's all cynicism (not that that absolves it at all) but it also depends on the tone of the film. If the film is a sensationalist bit of exploitation like the more political spaghetti westerns then fair enough, I guess, that's entirely to be expected. If, however, it's a downbeat slice of social realism then nail bombs and a balaclava are pretty stupid ideas because you're putting people on the wrong foot for the end result. That's my feeling at least.

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    Comment number 34.

    Normally if there was an area where video games had overtaken movies I'd be crowing about it all day but in this case it's one to be ashamed of as video game publishers seem to have mastered the art of insane freebies or silly prize draws.
    There was the Godfather 2 release where they sent brass knuckles in the post to journalists despite them being illegal in several countires/states. There was the competition for Skyrim for someone to name a newborn child Dovakhin after the title of the main character (which someone actualy did).

    But the one that takes the cake was the frankly outrageous stunts pulled off by Electronic Arts for the release of Dante's Inferno which included (and this is not an exhaustative list):
    - a mock protest by actors pretending to be a religious group boycotting the game
    - sending a music box that played nothing but Never Gonna Give You Up that wouldn't shut off unless you smashed it with a hammer (also provided) to encourage 'Wrath'.
    - Unsolicited cheques for $200 sent out to reviewers to encourage 'greed'
    - Encouraging attendees of Comicon to 'Sin to Win' by taking pictures of them commitng acts of 'lust' with trade show models ('booth babes') in order to win a "Night with the hottest girl at Comic Con. Dinner, booty and more..."

    I love video games but anytime a friend is bemoaning how they never seem to get treated as a serious art form by the mainstream media all I have to do is point to stuff like this.

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    Comment number 26.

    All I know is that a clock seems like an appropriate choice of promotion for a film as long as Once Upon a Time in America.


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