Chrysler Film Festival Goes Online

Chrysler took its second annual sponsorship of the Million
Dollar Film Festival online Friday, with the Web debut of the ten contest
finalists’ short films — all of which feature either the 2004 Chrysler
Pacifica or the 2004 Chrysler Crossfire, or both.

The film festival marketing effort is a cross between BMW’s successful
BMWFilms.com campaign, and Project Greenlight, an HBO project that sought to
uncover new filmmaking talent. It takes the online element and the
appearance of its cars in the films from BMW, and marries it with the
contest element of Project Greenlight. The company has reportedly also been
trying to add a reality TV element to the event, by producing a limited-run
television program about the competition’s final stages.

With the debut of the films online, Chrysler is hoping to attract people to
its Web site for the festival, at www.Chrysler.com/filmfest, and entice them to vote for
their favorite film between now and August 3. When the votes are tallied,
the winning film will receive the “Viewer’s Choice Award,” and one voter,
chosen at random, will get a trip for two to Los Angeles to meet the
filmmakers and tour Universal Studios.

The online voting is just part of Chrysler’s sponsorship of the film
festival, which it has been involved with since 2002. Entertainment company
Hypnotic actually produces the contest, with the involvement of Universal
Pictures, New York-based Arnell Group, and BBDO Detroit. Although ten films
are showcased on the Web site, the field has already been narrowed down to
five at a New York premiere last month. That premiere took place after a
ten-day production contest, during which each filmmaker had to cast, shoot,
edit, and premiere a five-minute film. The productions created during those
ten days are the ones that appear on the Web site.

In the next stage of the competition, the five finalists will live together
in Los Angeles, while they each develop plans for a feature film production,
including a script, a proposed cast, a shooting schedule, a budget, a movie
poster, and one fully produced scene from the script. They’ll pitch that
package to a judging panel in Toronto in September, where a winner will be
chosen. The prize is a million-dollar feature deal.

The Chrysler Group, a division of DaimlerChrysler, is leaning heavily on marketing to boost its disappointing financial situation. Earlier this week it revised
downward its forecasts for 2003, saying that the incentives necessary to
compete in the North American market would likely result in an operating
loss for second quarter.

Earlier this week, Chrysler said it would spend $100 million over the summer
in a “Summer Sales Drive” marketing and promotion campaign, which will
feature new television ads, radio spots, a print campaign, and Web
promotions.

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