Oscar Winners Giving Away Movie for Free

Documentary backers to raise awareness about cleft palates
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2009 2:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – The makers of one Oscar-winning documentary is trying an unusual marketing tactic: they’re giving away the movie for free. Ads will appear in 125 major papers tomorrow urging readers to request their copy of Smile Pinki, winner of the Best Short Documentary prize at this year’s Oscars. What gives? The film was financed by Smile Train, a charitable group hoping to fix cleft palates for children in developing countries, and it wants to further raise awareness of the cause.

“Our biggest challenge is awareness. Nobody cares about clefts,” explains Smile Train’s president. “Winning the Oscar was luck, but now that we’ve won it, it’s like a Trojan horse. We’re going to use the panache to get into 10 million homes.” Winning the Oscar wasn’t all luck though; one of Smile Train’s publicists is an ex-Weinstein employee, and the group made a concerted push for the golden statue.