Watching the Beck’s Edison Bottle reminded me of a short doc I saw a while back at IFP’s Film Week – Up There is a twelve-minute short doc on the fading art of hand-painted billboard signs in New York.
It was written by the filmmaker and funded by Stella Artois, but they’re never mentioned in the film. Instead, they’re the subject of the handpainted sign we see the painters working on. This is branded content as truly valuable content in its own right, where the filmmaker rather than the brand crafts the message, and both come away happy. When I saw the makers of this doc interviewed at IFP, you could see the funding model opening up whole mental vistas of possibility for all the starting doc filmmakers in the audience, but this is a tough gig to find, and the right funder and the right content is a tough match to make.