In another tumultuous economic year that has seen many businesses, chiropractic or otherwise, continue to scale back their operations and take the "safe" road, Jeff Hays and his film team did just the opposite: they went big and took risks, making a documentary for worldwide, multimedia distribution about chiropractic care, the American Medical Association's attempts to "contain and eliminate" it, and the growing, necessary trend in health care to recognize the value of non-drug, non-surgery treatment methods. The result: the most-talked about health care documentary in the history of the chiropractic profession. As the year winds down, the buzz about "Doctored" is approaching near-deafening decibel levels, and things aren't expected to quiet down anytime soon. As we honor Hays as Dynamic Chiropractic's 2012 Person of the Year, let's hear from the producer himself about the film's ongoing success and exposure – both within the health care community and far beyond it.
It is always a treat to share with the profession the great progress taking place with the film. Honestly, part of me wishes we were a month or so further down the road before talking about it, as the real fun is just beginning. But after all the work that has been put in by so many people, we are excited to start sharing the great stories emerging as more people see the film. Let me give a quick update.
On Sept. 21, we world premiered "Doctored" in New York City at the Village East Theater. It was a packed house with supporters and dignitaries from across the country who gathered to celebrate this incredible journey. The film was shared for the first time in its entirety to a delighted crowd. We played in N.Y. for a week and had great crowds the whole week.
That launched us into a three-week period of theatrical showings to the public that were well-received in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas. It was incredible how many different people, groups, state associations and the like got behind the effort of filling the theaters. Doctors brought patients; patients brought friends, family and neighbors; and so on.
The initial theater dates accomplished what we needed to be accomplished: They helped raise a great deal of exposure about the film and its message to the general public. We were reviewed by The New York Times, The Village Voice, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, which is not easy to come by! Granted, some were more positive than others, but nonetheless, as they say, "all press is good press." We were not surprised that some of the mainstream media were not as big of fans of the film as we would like; surprise, surprise!
After the theatrical run, we began the long process of finalizing all the details to get the DVD created. Finally, the last week of October we received the DVDs in the warehouse to begin shipping out orders all over the world. As of the middle of November, more than 100,000 DVDs have been shipped, and this is where it starts to get really fun. Hundreds of people have purchased the rights to screen the film to the public and we are inundated with inquiries on how to show the film in communities all over the world, from Brazil to England, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, Taiwan, Greece, South Africa, and on and on.
It is amazing to see the support from across the globe; oddly enough, though, it seems the U.S. is behind so many other countries in accepting this message. We are excited to expand the roots of the message beyond the states and North America, but it is surely needed here, so it is great to see "Doctored" being viewed and talked about here, too.
In addition to all this, we've also had individual DC's set up screenings that have been attended by as many at 600 people! For example, we recently had a screening in Salt Lake City that sold out 340 seats and featured Senator Orrin Hatch in attendance. I can't tell you how great it was to sit behind Senator Hatch, watching him watching Drs. Lou Sportelli, Patrick Gentempo, Keith Overland, et al.
We're asking all of the state chiropractic associations to make sure every congressperson in their state gets a copy of the DVD and a personal visit from a local chiropractor asking them to watch the film.
Dr. Gilles Lamarche has been our envoy to many groups in the profession. He asks every audience to watch the film with one key question in mind: "What would happen to my practice and this profession if everyone in my community saw this film?" It's a great question. That's our goal – to make that happen.
The wholehearted focus moving forward from here is to keep spreading the message. They say the hardest part to pushing a car is when it is stopped; once its rolling it's a matter of just keeping it going. This is much the case with "Doctored." The past year has been spent getting the car moving, and initially it took enormous force against so much resistance to get it to budge. The car is now rolling; it's just a matter of keeping it going.
The tipping point seems closer than ever and much of it depends on how much we all push to keep moving forward. Imagine the possibilities if every chiropractor in the country shared a DVD with their patients with the specific requirement that they continue to pass it on to others to view? Remember, there are already well over 100,000 copies on the street, and those are only from people who pre-purchased copies before the film was even released.
My hope is that individual DCs will buy at least 100 copies each at wholesale from their state association, the ACA or the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, and then get those copies in the hands of their patients. Ask patients to treat this as a gift, with a string attached. Ask them to be sure and watch it, but then pass it on to someone else who needs to see it, asking them to watch and pass it on.
We are already hearing stories of people who are waking up to the idea that there are better solutions to getting healthy than the same old process of drugs, surgery, and so on. People are taking note of the influence drugs have on them and their surroundings. People are waking up and taking greater accountability for their health choices.
We don't expect that you will need to look to us to see how well the film is impacting people's lives here soon enough. In fact, we will most likely be asking you, your patients and most excitedly, all the people who have not yet visited a chiropractor who discover a new hope opened to them once they stumble upon the film. Hopefully, it comes from a friend who said to them, "Hey, I was thinking of you when I saw this, you should check it out, I hope you find it to be helpful."