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Pride Director: Straightwashing Was a ‘Clumsy’ but ‘Valid’ Marketing Move 

Pride Director: Straightwashing Was a ‘Clumsy’ but ‘Valid’ Marketing Move


Labels shouldn't matter?

On Monday, we reported that the CBS Films DVD release of Pride, the movie about gay and lesbian activists and striking miners coming together to protest Thatcherism, had removed any reference to gays and lesbians from the DVD cover. Reps for CBS Films said that they were "looking into" it.

Now the film's director, Matthew Warchus, is chiming in on the controversy. "Changing the cover is kind of clumsy and a bit foolish," he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Phil Williams. "But this is a film that is loved by people of all political persuasions and sexual orientations... I'm just keen for as many people who have yet to see the film to see it."

Warchus continued that he "didn't want to preach to the converted" and wanted the film "to find a mainstream audience [and] broaden people's minds."

"I think someone in the marketing department in the U.S. used their marketing judgement to try to remove any barrier to the widest possible audience," he added. "It's clumsily done, but I understand it and it's a valid instinct," he continued, describing "the nature of marketing" as "over-simplification [and] reductive."

Warchus later released a statement about the DVD packaging:

"Pride is a film which plays incredibly well to a global mainstream audience of any political or sexual persuasion. It's a film about two groups of people forming an unlikely alliance and fighting each others' corners rather than just their own. It is probably one of the most political films ever to hit the mainstream and it is certainly one of the most loved films of the year (even by people who hate politics). I don't consider it a 'Gay Film' or a 'Straight Film.' I'm not interested in those labels. It is an honest film about compassion, tolerance, and courage. Marketing Pride has proved an interesting challenge from day one, and there are many people in the mainstream who have yet to see the film. My guess is some of those people are imagining that the film is maybe 'too political' for them, and some others are imagining it could possibly be 'too gay'. As it happens, these concerns completely evaporate in the presence of the movie itself, but they are important when attempting to manage potential audience perceptions through marketing. Since the day I first read the script I have felt passionately that this film, of all films, deserves to find a fully diverse audience, from all walks of life. Indeed its very meaning and message is diminished the more 'niche' it becomes. I look forward to living in a world where these kinds of marketing negotiations are neither valid nor necessary - but we're not there yet. In a sense, that's why I made the film. For these reasons I don't automatically condemn any attempt to prevent the movie being misunderstood as an exclusively "Gay Film". I certainly don't regard such attempts as homophobic."

[h/t Towleroad]

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Alex Panisch