The House I Live In Comes Out Online
Director Eugene Jarecki tells The Fix about the digital phase of his campaign against the War on Drugs.
The House I Live In—the 2012 Sundance prizewinner attacking America's War on Drugs—has been released today in a wide range of digital formats. Its director, Eugene Jarecki, uses his movie to campaign for the radical liberalization of US drug laws—and he sees this release as an important new phase of that mission. "It's tremendously exciting," he tells The Fix. "It's a new time for documentaries like mine, in terms of how they can reach people." His expectation that the film will find its largest number of viewers online is mixed with some ambivalence, however; he admits to initial worries that people watching on computers, rather than in movie theaters, means "you lose the ability of gathering-places to inspire collective experience and action. But the counterbalance to that," he continues, is that "what you lose in not having that personal contact of someone sitting next to you, you gain in other kinds of connectivity, such as blogging and tweeting." Which helps, "if you're trying to change the world, which most filmmakers like me are in some way." The hope, says Jarecki, is that the sites where The House I Live In is now available—like iTunes, Amazon and You Tube—will "steer people towards our website." There, you can enter your Zip code to learn "who's fighting against the drug war in your area, which organizations are involved and how to connect with other people to take action in your community."
Meanwhile Jarecki's offline campaign shows no sign of slowing: Many more prison screenings, like the one The Fix attended at Rikers Island, are planned all over the country, as well as a stack of other advocacy engagements. He says he's honored to be invited this weekend to Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, DC, of Martin Luther King fame, to speak about what he calls "the primary civil rights issue of our time."