|Poster by graphic and video game designer Kol Crosbie.
Guest Blog by Heather Willis
“And the nominees are….” Movie studios spend millions of dollars to hear their films, actors and directors announced as nominees for Golden Globes and Academy Awards. For one movie, it is the fans who are planning a campaign for award consideration.
The independent film Welcome to the Rileys, starring James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga), has had limited distribution throughout the U.S. to date, but has found a following that believes the film and its actors deserve to be recognized with nominations.
WTTR shows the journey to New Orleans for businessman Doug (Gandolfini) that leads him to Mallory (Stewart), an underage stripper, who reminds him of his daughter who died in a car accident. Doug decides to stay and help Mallory attempt to change her situation. After calling and telling his wife Lois (Leo) he isn’t coming home, Lois confronts her agoraphobia and travels to Louisiana to be reunited with her husband.
WTTRS (http://welcome-to-the-rileys-saturday.blogspot.com/) site owners and operators, Stephanie Rodriguez, Dayna P. and Tammi T. have begun using their site and social media sites Twitter and Facebook to raise $50,000 to fund an awards campaign for WTTR.
“We believe that Kristen, James and Melissa delivered some of the year’s best performances," WTTRS team said.
After viewing the film at the Sundance Film Festival, WTTR made an immediate impact on Dayna.
"When I came back from Sundance, the first thing I said was that if this movie and its stars weren’t nominated, it would be a travesty,” Dayna said.
WTTR has touched many of those who have seen it with its story of loss and hope and how the actors brought out the emotional connection with their characters through their performances.
“Welcome to the Rileys is a raw, emotional movie. As may of said, it’s a movie that stays with you, a movie that you think about when you leave the theatre, and drive home, and enter your house and then days later. The critic reviews for the movie may be mixed, but reviews for the cast are stellar. These are the types of performances that should be rewarded or at the very least recognized,” WTTRS team said.
To those who may think it is Stewart’s Twilight following that is promoting this campaign, WTTRS believes that if people see her performance in WTTR they will see an incredibly brilliant performance by Stewart.
“It has nothing to do with Twilight or Kristen’s role in Twilight. We aren’t trying to get her anything for Twilight or any other movie. This campaign is based solely on the merits of her work on Welcome to the Rileys. Her portrayal of an underage stripper was as real as it gets. She spent a lot of time and hard work to become what thousands of girls become every year. To those people that believe that it’s ‘all about Twilight’ I say, to and see the movie, watch her. Then I say, go to the little club down the street. You’ll see parts of Mallory are there in each and every one of those girls,” WTTRS team said.
All of the money being raised at http://igg.me/p/13178?a=56739&i=shlk will be used to promote the film in trade magazines and online.
“This is how the nomination process begins. Ads are placed in the magazines and then the magazines go to the voters. The more people who see these ads, the more voters are to going to be inclined to check out screens or go and see the movies,” Rodriguez said.
Because of the amount of money spent by some studios to campaign for their movies, sometimes smaller movies can’t compete and that was a major factor in WTTRS’s decision to raise money for WTTR.
“What many people don’t realize is what it takes to get people nominated in these categories. It’s not like it’s a bunch of people that sit around a table and say, ‘You know, I saw this really great performance.’ The movies that usually get nominated are the bigger movies, the ones with the most press, the ones that have the most ads in the trade magazines. Welcome to the Rileys is such a small movie that there just isn’t going to be the same ability to throw money into these ads and promotions. That’s where we come in. If we can raise enough money, we can get enough ads in the magazine that might make the voters take a second look,” WTTRS team said.
For those who support the film but can’t afford to donate, there are other ways that they can help WTTR.
“Spread the word about the campaign. Share the link on your Twitter or your Facebook or your Tumbler or whatever other social media site you are a part of. Also review (WTTR) on every site you can find; Rotten Tomatoes http://www.rottentomatoes.com/, Flickster http://www.flixster.com/, Meta Critic http://www.metacritic.com/. And, of course, go and see the movie,” WTTRS team said.
For information on the Oscar and Golden Globe campaign, visit http://igg.me/p/13178?a=56739&i=shlk. Or check out WTTRS blog http://welcome-to-the-rileys-saturday.blogspot.com/. Or contact any one of WTTRS on Twitter Dayna: @bellasguardian Stephanie: @byrd009 or Tammi: @TeamPattzStew or blog Twitter @wttrsaturday