Winning Westchester

Hollywood Film with Westchester Roots Makes Big in Region

Objective

Impact PR & Communications was tapped by indie filmmaker and writer William Dickerson to help handle the regional PR campaign for his film, No Alternative. The film, which he wrote and directed, was inspired by Dickerson’s own life growing up in 1990s Westchester County, with a sister who suffered from mental illness, and a host of other relevant issues of the day – drug use, gun control, racism and more – tackled throughout.

Set to make its East Coast debut at the Yonkers Film Festival (YoFiFest) in Yonkers, New York, with a tight budget and just six weeks to build momentum and capture media coverage during the campaign, the agency had their work cut out for them. Furthermore, the East Coast premiere was to come on the heels of the world premiere, which took place a few months prior in Los Angeles, and was attended by film stars Harry Hamlin and Conor Proft – neither of whom could attend the premiere in New York.

Strategy

Impact PR & Communications used a multi-pronged strategy to make a mark in the Westchester County region and maximize No Alternative’s presence among the 180 films participating in YoFiFest. The agency:

  • Forged a critical alliance with festival organizers
  • Sent an introductory letter to a curated media list for No Alternative, introducing the team on behalf of Dickerson and the film
  • Drafted and disseminated a press release announcing the film’s East Coast premiere
  • In the days leading up to the premiere event, sent media advisories to encourage premiere attendance and interviews with Dickerson in-studio or on-site

Perhaps the most critical part of the effort, however, was the proactive media relations outreach. The team searched for, and found, the most appropriate contacts at each of the top Westchester County outlets, sending emails to those who don’t “do” unprompted phone calls, and picking up the phone and calling contacts who are slower to respond on email. Different facets of the story were emphasized for different journalists – and the results of the customized approach were astounding.

Results

#ByTheNumbers:

2 Cover Stories

21 Media Hits

6 Secured Interviews, including three on-camera and one on air (radio)

1 Bylined Article

6 Pending Media Placements

4+ Social Media Placements

1,145,395+ Media Impressions

 

“As a filmmaker traversing the rocky terrain of Hollywood, I knew I would need a different approach to promotion for the East Coast Premiere of my film ‘No Alternative’ in my hometown of Westchester, New York. Kate Wark and everyone at Impact PR & Communications took the project, and its hot-button themes, head on and were able to generate tons of momentum, including newspaper cover stories, television coverage and radio interviews. While they’re adept at high-profile media coverage, I needed a more grassroots, regional strategy for this project, and that’s exactly what they delivered. For a period of a few weeks, no one in Westchester could avoid hearing about ‘No Alternative!’ If that’s not successful public relations, I don’t know what is!”

William Dickerson, No Alternative Filmmaker