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There’s an unfortunate tendency among many people to think that those with some sort of disability, be it mental or physical, can’t live normal lives and have normal relationships with those around them. That’s absolutely not the case, of course. Many, many people who have some sort of what might be considered “problem” are able to live lives that aren’t all that different than the rest of us who aren’t in their situation. Even more than that, they deserve to live normal lives.

Touched With Fire is about two people living and struggling to live normal lives with their own unique mental issues. Katie Holmes plays Carla, a young woman struggling with manic depression. She checks herself into a mental health facility where me meets Marco (Luke Kirby). The two connect with each other and form a romantic relationship, eventually escaping together and making a run for it. Their families, though, question whether it’s healthy for them to be together since they just seem to fuel each other’s mania. So the issue is, who’s in the best position to decide what’s best?

The Posters

The one poster is an artistic affair, using van Gogh’s painting as the core of the image, its burning sun at the center nicely symbolizing the mania that many manic depressives say they feel. The bottom of the poster has the title treatment and the two lead actors while the top is about sharing positive quotes from critics, an essential element for most independent films which use them as a way to prove their bona fides to a receptive audience.

The Trailers

The first trailer starts off by showing Holmes and Kirby having separate psychotic incidents, incidents that land them both in a treatment facility. So we see them engaging in activities there and eventually kissing. They’re both delusional about their conditions, but he more than her since he enjoys and even says he needs the mania since he feels it opens him up to something. The second half of the trailer shows them dealing with the relationship they’ve found themselves in.

It’s a fast-paced trailer that does a good job of showing off the performances, particularly Holmes’, as well as the story and the overall vibe of the story. It’s kinetic and certainly creates a sense of whirling reality that’s in-line with the premise of the film.

Online and Social

It’s a pretty simple affair on the movie’s official website. The trailer plays in a pop-up when you first load the site and it’s also available in the “Trailer” section of the site as you see in the menu at the top of the page.

The first section there is “Synopsis,” which is where you can read a decent recap of the movie’s story as well as some background on the origins of the movie and is where you can learn the story was inspired by the writer/director’s own experience with bipolar disorder. “Reviews” has excerpts from some of the positive reviews the movie has received from festival screenings and, helpfully, includes links to the full stories.

touched with fire pic 3

 

“Cast and Crew” has biographies and filmographies for Holmes, Kirby and Dailo. There are just four pictures in the “Gallery.”

The movie had a Facebook page and Instagram profile but had to hitch a ride on Roadside’s Twitter account.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing that I’m aware of on either front.

Media and Publicity

The movie has played the festival circuit for a while, debuting at SXSW 2015 and then appearing again at other fests over the course of the year. While doing so it garnered generally positive reviews and word-of-mouth, with many of them calling out Holmes’ performance specifically.

Back in December Dailo wrote an essay for the Huffington Post about his own experiences with a bipoloar diagnosis and how that lead him to make the movie. It’s incredibly moving and clearly conveys how personal this all is for him.

touched with fire pic 2

Closer to release Holmes made the talk show rounds, including an appearance on “The Tonight Show” where she played some games and otherwise did what celebrities do on talk shows these days. The rest of the cast showed up on “The Charlie Rose Show” to talk about the movie and the issues the story addresses.

Around the same time Holmes talked at the movie’s official premiere about her experience working with first time directors like Dalio

Overall

No, this campaign isn’t going to blow anyone’s doors off. It’s not a massive push and it doesn’t feature a lot of flash and sizzle. But it does sell a potentially compelling movie that features some raw, emotional performances and deals with subject matter in a new and interesting way.

The movie looks, based on the marketing, like a kinetic and fast-paced adventure that does what it can to take the audience inside the mind of the characters at the center of the story. It looks equal parts dramatic and funny in a human way and like it deserves to be seen by an audience that likes challenging films.

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