The Irish sweepstakes ... almost
I Googled "bride grooms butch maier" Saturday night. Not because I like reading about myself. It was a way to check up on the movie's online presence. I need to make sure theaters put the poster image and movie info on their Web sites. I need to make sure press releases are reaching their intended audiences.
In order, here's what I found:
-- The Bride & The Grooms MySpace page.
-- The Bride & The Grooms trailer in a Radio Free Charleston episode.
-- The Bride & The Grooms listed on lovefilm.com.
-- The Bride & The Grooms trailer on YouTube.
-- The Bride & The Grooms crew bios on the movie's official Web site.
-- The Bride & The Grooms official Web site About page.
-- The Bride & The Grooms show times for a Dublin theater.
I live in Ohio, but I don't remember talking to a theater owner in Dublin, Ohio, but I was thankful to have the movie in another theater.
Until I realized it was a theater in Dublin, Ireland.
(I'm all for having the movie seen internationally. It just would be nice to know about it ahead of time.)
MY MOVIE HAD BEEN STOLEN!
What?! But ... how?! Why?! I couldn't believe it. I. Just. Could. Not. Believe. It. This couldn't be real. But there it was on Dublinks.com. The movie poster I designed with Ryan Dawson. My name listed as director. My actors' names. My name listed as producer. It says "A BUTCH MAIER PICTURE" on the poster. It was mine ... but had been taken away. I thought I had been careful enough (Read: paranoid) by only sending out low-res screeners with scene gaps and warning labels throughout. To make it watchable, someone would have to go to a lot of trouble.
Apparently, someone had.
There it was, alongside 22 commercial films at Movies@Dundrum in a Dublin mall. It was listed right after Best Picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire. There were five show times for TBATG: Sunday at 11 a.m. and Monday through Thursday at 1:10 p.m. (Check it out here -- http://www.dublinks.com/movies/the-bride-the-grooms -- though the Sunday and Monday show times are gone now)
A lot of thoughts rushed through my head.
1. Who stole my movie?
2. How did they steal my movie?
3. What do I do first? Get a lawyer? Call the police? Contact "Dateline: NBC"?
4. I am going to sue, and then I am going to get paid.
5. Couldn't they pick better show times?
Admittedly, I thought to myself, "This will be great publicity!" Struggling indie filmmaker has movie stolen and shipped to Ireland. Film at 11. Yes, film at 11. MY film. At 11 A.M. Who goes to a movie theater in Dublin at 11 a.m.?
Then my mind switched back to how hard this process had been. That I had spent two years in a zombie-like state getting this picture made -- sacrificing time with family, time with friends, money, a life. And ... gone.
Around 3 a.m., I was brainstorming. Who do I know in Ireland? (Answer: no one.) Who do I know who might know someone in Ireland? Who might know about the movie business in Ireland? Then it hit me.
Our film critic at The PD is Irish and reviews international movies. He might know someone. There was hope, I reasoned, to reclaim what was mine. U2 could write an anthem about it: "Bride (In the Name of Love)."
(While we're on the subject of puns, here's my favorite Irish joke:
Q: Why is Ireland the richest country in the world?
A: Because the capital is always Dublin.)
I can't call the theater because then they'll get rid of the movie and claim it never happened. A lawsuit would be expensive, and the theater probably has nothing to do with it. It's just some guy who makes his living off of movie piracy and can never be found. Then I thought to call "Dateline: NBC," but would they scrap their plans to do an expose on child trafficking to track down my Little Movie With Big Dreams? Uh, no.
So I will call our local TV affiliate. No, I need to contact my paper first. Not that flying to Dublin is in our budget. Maybe we could do a newspaper exchange. The Irish Times could do an investigative piece on how my movie made its way to a Dublin theater, and we could do a piece on whose agenda keeps the University of Notre Dame and St. Vincent-St. Mary High School using the stereotypical term "Fighting" in their Irish nicknames.
I'll contact both movie critics at The PD. They could do a double-byline story. I could fly to Dublin and wear a hidden camera. I would buy a ticket to my movie and sit in the theater. After the movie, I would pose as a distributor. I would infiltrate the tangled Web of movie piracy. Or at least get an invite into the manager's office.
Then, reality bit.
The Web site I had found was not the Dublin mall's Web site. It was simply a link site, where movies showing in Dublin were linked.
So I Googled Movies@Dundrum, the theater's name.
And there it was.
A movie with the exact show times as my movie.
"Bride Wars," starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson.
The link site had posted the wrong poster with the wrong movie information.
My movie's not in Dublin. People in Dublin might be looking at my poster, but my movie's not there.