Picture Motion preps impact campaign around “Return”

Christie Marchese, CEO of New York-headquartered marketing and advocacy company Picture Motion, tells realscreen about its strategies for impact, and its recent campaign for Tribeca Film Festival award-winner The Return (pictured).
May 12, 2016

New York-headquartered marketing and advocacy firm Picture Motion is launching an impact campaign around Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award winner The Return (pictured).

Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie GallowayThe Return follows two newly released prisoners, who were previously serving life sentences, as they work to restore their relationships, secure employment and manage mental health issues. The film will air on PBS doc strand ‘POV’ on May 23.

The “State(s) of Reform” tour is initially targeting 10 U.S. cities, and looks to raise awareness around re-entry programs and engage businesses in removing barriers to employment for those returning to society after serving time.

The tour kicked off in New York and Seattle on Wednesday (May 11) and will travel to cities including Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Oakland, before concluding in Baltimore on May 22. More stops will be added and the tour will continue over the summer.

Screenings are followed by panel discussions on criminal justice reform and re-entry support, with members of campaign teams as well as local experts. Organizations hosting various tour stops include New America Foundation and Marshall Project, Project Return and the Vera Institute for Justice, among others.

“Our impact distribution methodology starts with the audiences seeing the film. However, our ‘State(s) of Reform’ screening events are free [and] they’re not driven by the bottom line,” says Heidi Nel, Picture Motion’s Washington DC-based president, in a statement. “They’re decided on, selected, and organized based on our belief and ability to leverage film to convene community stakeholders and spur conversations that can lead to lasting social impact and political change.”

Elsewhere, Picture Motion is handling impact around Stephanie Soechtig’s Under the Gun, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Christie Marchese

Picture Motion CEO Christie Marchese

The EPIX Original doc, set to debut on the U.S. cable net on May 15, examines gun violence in the U.S. Picture Motion is overseeing early word-of-mouth screenings as well as digital assets for the film.

Founded in 2012, Picture Motion works with filmmakers and change makers to raise awareness around issue-driven films. The company has outposts in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC, and handles partnership developments, grassroots screening tours, digital engagement, policy and government relations and impact measurement.

Since launching, they’ve worked on more than 45 films and impact campaigns, and projects include Audrie & DaisyThe Bad KidsThe Hunting Ground and The Yes Men Are Revolting.

Founder and CEO Christie Marchese says Picture Motion handles between eight and 14 projects per month. “Sometimes we are a small part of a much bigger team, and sometimes we are the entire team,” she tells realscreen.

When choosing projects, the exec says Picture Motion looks for films that can advance certain issue areas, and examines how filmmakers want to make an impact. It’s important, too, she says, to make sure the company is the best fit for a project.

“There are some issues that we don’t have extensive experience working in, and others we do,” she says. “There are some needs the film has that we can’t provide. We want to set ourselves and the film up for success so we won’t take on a project unless we think we are the best people for it.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.