Amazon revolutionized 21st century commerce, but that’s only part of the story.
Amazon Prime, the company’s streaming arm, is the closest competitor to Netflix’s digital dominance. Plus, Amazon allows users to pay for individual movies via its Video on Demand (VOD) component.
That’s where things get sticky for right-of-center artists -- or those flirting with a conservative mien.
Four recent projects have been bludgeoned by Amazon, either taken off the service permanently or delayed under dubious circumstances.
Earlier this year, Mike Cernovich’s “Hoaxed” documentary, a withering 2019 assault on Fake News, left the platform abruptly after months of availability. The decision caused the film’s sales to skyrocket on other platforms, but it remains unavailable for viewing on Amazon -- either to rent or purchase.
Oddly enough, consumers can pick up the paperback version of the movie on the site.
Filmmaker Namrata Singh Gujral isn’t a conservative. She’s a registered Democrat, but her investigation into illegal immigration opened her eyes to problems her party has little interest in solving. She turned that research into “America’s Forgotten,” a powerful look at how lax immigration policies endanger people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gujral told Fox News earlier this month that she had an understanding with Amazon that the platform would share her new film with potential viewers. The streaming giant reneged on that promise, she said. The film’s marketing team explored the matter via a recent press release:
Director Namrata Singh Gujral has reached out to Amazon several times with no answers as to why the release has been pushed back. This censorship is affecting the promotion of the film as Uniglobe Entertainment previously highlighted its availability on Amazon.
Gujral told Fox News Online’s Hollie McKay “…when I started making [‘America’s Forgotten’], the things I found were eye-opening. I realized the narrative I had been sold and supported was not the real truth. Illegal immigration is a terrible practice that should not only be discouraged, but it should be stopped.”
Filmmaker Eli Steele, who is deaf, Jewish and black, followed up “How Jack Became Black” with a movie dedicated to the 2014 death of Ferguson resident Michael Brown. The tragedy sparked protests, and riots, in both the small Missouri town and cities nationwide.
The director’s “What Killed Michael Brown?” teams him with his famous father, author Shelby Steele. Together, they connect the tragic shooting with recent racial unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The movie shows how the facts behind the Brown shooting got distorted, and weaponized, by the media, activists and politicians alike.
The film’s creative team submitted the documentary to Amazon for distribution via its VOD platform. Amazon, a platform that showcases some of the seediest films available, claimed “What Killed Michael Brown?” didn’t meet its quality criteria.
For the uninitiated, the documentary is handsomely produced, thoughtful and provocative. Once a few right-of-center news outlets covered the matter Amazon had a sudden change of heart.
And then there’s “The Plot Against the President.” The bombshell documentary connects all the frightening dots behind the Russia collusion hoax.
Once again Amazon gave a right-of-center documentary fits. The filmmakers submitted “Plot” for review, part of the process required to add any title to Amazon’s library.
That’s when the trouble began.
“Plot” director Amanda Milius says what should have been a brief delay became a near devastating obstacle. The film’s distributor told her it previously submitted more than 350 titles to Amazon for approval. That process typically takes up to four days, at best, to be completed.
It’s often much quicker, Milius notes.
Instead, the team behind “Plot” had to sweat for roughly 12 days before getting Amazon’s full attention.
“Every day counts, especially if you’ve made a political movie in the runup to the election,” says Milius, daughter of famed filmmaker John Milius. “It’s ridiculous that they held it for so long.”
That delay caught the attention of The Hollywood Reporter. Once the publication highlighted the issue Amazon backed off and approved the film.
“The Plot Against the President” has generated nearly 2,000 reviews, most of the five-star variety, in just a few days since joining the Amazon Prime lineup.
That’s an indication “Plot” is generating “highly engaged viewers,” Milius says.
“The Plot Against the President” is also showing in theaters in six cities nationwide, but the director says that 30 more theaters will start showing the documentary this weekend.
Up next? More exclusive content to be shared “as soon as possible” from the film’s production, including full interviews from the shoot and fresh content on themes explored in the movie. That material can be seen via two new film-streaming platforms:
HiT asked Milius about her film’s lack of mainstream media coverage, especially since she’s a female director in a male-dominated field. She’s not surprised by the dearth of news stories about her and the film in general. Her documentary doesn’t fit with a progressive agenda, but that’s not stopping audiences from seeking it out.
She hopes the additional content sparks even greater interest in the movie.
“There’s so many more people that need to see it,” she says of her film. “I’m hoping I can get more journalists to write about it.”