The Acupuncture Now Foundation was formed two years ago making bold claims such as it being possible to double the number of people seeking acupuncture services within 5 years, and to bring down the barriers of misunderstanding preventing acupuncture from meeting its’ true potential. I still believe those goals can happen and that making the documentary “Getting to the Point” (GTTP) will do more to make that happen than anything else we could possibly do.
But the real reason we must make GTTP is because there are thousands more Cade Spinellos out there, and their families that could be helped by caring acupuncturists, like Ruth McCarty. If you have not seen our video about Cade and his family, I urge you to watch it. Before our film crew filmed the interviews with Cade and his parents, I had asked the parents if they would mind sharing with the acupuncture community why they thought supporting this film was important. I didn’t tell them what to say, but I could not have scripted it any better than what Cade’s father said: “It has changed our son’s life, changed our lives. We’ve got to get the word out. People need to know.”
People absolutely need to know, and we can “get the word out” with this film and all the work we will do to promote the adoption of acupuncture when the film is released. What follows below is a description we have been sharing with acupuncture organizations about how GTTP will be crafted and promoted, and how we believe this will help the public and the acupuncture profession. We are very grateful to those of you who have already donated to this film as your donations made this video and all the other footage we are anxious to show everyone possible. To those who have not yet contributed to this film I ask that you make a donation to help us help more Cade Spinellos and grow the acupuncture profession at the same time.
“Getting to the Point” (GTTP) is a feature-length documentary that will address misunderstandings about acupuncture and spur the public to seek-out this therapy, mainstream medical institutions to hire acupuncturists and third party payment systems to cover acupuncture services. With the full support of the acupuncture community, we believe we could double or even triple the number of people seeking acupuncture in many markets within 2 years of this film’s release and that release would be in less than one year of achieving funding. There is no other project the acupuncture community could undertake in this timeframe that will benefit our profession and the public more.
GTTP will feature 4-5 segments showing that acupuncture is utilized in some surprising mainstream settings. We are currently filming the work of a Licensed Acupuncturist in a leading children’s hospital that will feature two brain cancer survivors and their families. The footage of the parents describing how their children’s battle against cancer was greatly helped by acupuncture and that this therapy should be available to all children in all hospitals is especially compelling. We will film a segment on “Battlefield Acupuncture,” detailing how acupuncture is being used in the battlefield on wounded soldiers and back home in the treatment of PTSD. We have the support of the founder of Battlefield Acupuncture; Air Force Colonel Dr. Richard Niemtzow (ret.) to help us gain access within the military programs using this therapy. We will also show the latest advancements in acupuncture research and feature the work of a leading authority on acupuncture for high blood pressure. We have also been authorized to film Syrian refugees being treated with acupuncture in a refugee camp in Greece through the Acupuncturists Without Borders program.
Of course, making a compelling documentary that inspires people to seek out acupuncture will not make much of an impact unless it gets wide distribution and is seen by many. To address this, our distribution plans include the following:
1. Screening GTTP at major film festivals both domestic and international (gaining awareness and accolades which will promote future sales).
2. Using independent film resources such as “TUG” to promote and execute a coordinated regional theatrical release.
3. Utilize domestic and foreign sales companies to acquire the following:
• Sale to major television network for broadcast
• Sale and release to major DVD & Digital Platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Redbox, etc.
• Ancillary sales, such as airlines and other specialty broadcast opportunities
4. Develop and implement domestic and international grassroots screening program.
• This will include major hospitals, colleges, and acupuncture schools along with community screenings especially with consumer/patient support groups to promote DVD sales, legislative efforts, local awareness and fundraising.
While we expect there will be a lot of interest from the acupuncture community, the greatest interest in this film will come from the public and especially patient advocacy/support groups.
We will pursue a comprehensive strategy of connecting with pediatric cancer support groups, PTSD support groups, etc. When parents of children with cancer see other parents of children with cancer describing how much the acupuncture their children received helped them better deal with their disease, and reduced the side-effects of their mainstream cancer treatments, this will generate great interest and spread rapidly within the pediatric cancer support community. We will do the same with PTSD support groups and other patient/disease types we feature in the film.
We plan a grassroots marketing campaign similar to the one undertaken by the makers of “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary about problems in the U.S. school system. That film not only won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, it was a commercial success largely because it had the support of education reform activists that organized hundreds of small scale screenings. The ANF has spent the last two years connecting with acupuncturists and organizations in many countries and we will use those connections to promote patient/consumer group interest in those countries to hold screenings and promote GTTP in various film festivals. We have already received donations from supporters in New Zealand, the Netherlands, the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the U.S., and we will continue to build this support and help these groups reach out to the public.
In 2010, “Waiting for Superman” also won the Audience Award from the prestigious Gotham Independent Film Festival in New York. That award is decided by fan voting. The film that came in second that year, losing by fewer than 50 votes, was “9000 Needles”, a documentary by GTTP filmmaker Doug Dearth. Had the acupuncture community been engaged in promoting that film and encouraged acupuncturists and their patients to vote for it, “9000 Needles” would have won that award and shocked the film community by beating a bigger budget film made by a high-profile filmmaker. “Getting to the Point” can win that award and other awards from other film festivals and generate tremendous publicity if the acupuncture community gets behind it and engages their networks to do the same.
Acupuncture/TCM organizations, schools and businesses, and individual acupuncturists are the key to the success of this strategy not only for raising the money to make the film, but also for helping the ANF to continue to build the network needed to capitalize on these goals. During each stage of this project – the initial fundraising, identifying the final programs to feature in the film, production, post-production and promotion/distribution – the ANF will work with our partners to ensure that when the film is released we can connect patients with practitioner’s practices, mainstream medical institutions with the resources they need to hire acupuncturists, and third party payment systems with the information they need to justify covering acupuncture services.
Acupuncture is a simple yet powerful therapy for easing suffering and enhancing health. “Getting to the Point” will be an uplifting film giving hope to millions of people. It will also give hope to the acupuncture community by showing the world that acupuncturists have an important role to play in today’s healthcare systems. Below you will find how individuals, organizations, and businesses can help us raise the remaining $150,000 we need to make “Getting to the Point”.
1. Make a donation on our CrowdRise crowd funding site. The CrowdRise system takes donations starting at $10 U.S. and for $50 donors will receive a DVD of the film when it is released. As a U.S. approved charity, donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers, so encourage everyone you know to tell their family and friends about a great charity they could support. We will also send those who donate this way regular updates about our progress.
2. Individuals, organizations and businesses can also form their own fundraising teams on CrowdRise. Emails are the best way to reach potential donors but you can also use social media resources such as Facebook. Each fundraising team should select a representative to head this effort and the ANF will help them with fundraising ideas.
3. Inform those in your personal or organizational networks that they can help raise the needed funds by purchasing online viewing ($10) of the movie “9000 Needles” on the ANF website, and encourage them to spread the word about that movie to everyone they know. While some have seen this movie others haven’t. Everyone in the acupuncture/TCM field should see it as well as anyone interested in stroke recovery. Encouraging those who have not seen 9000 Needles to watch it will also help to familiarize them with the filmmaker Doug Dearth, and make them more likely to want to support “Getting to the Point”.
4. Purchase and promote the ANF online CEU/PDA courses. In addition to the 5, five hour courses I offer based on my 30 years of experience with all proceeds going to the film, we now have affiliate programs with great teachers with portions of the proceeds donated to the film fund. Please see our course page to learn more. There are many great courses with great teachers as a way to fund this film, and get the CEUs/PDAs you need.