In my opinion Megillas Lester was one of the more interesting Jewish videos in recent memory. Though it took a lot of inspiration from the Legend of Zelda (opening music), Harry Potter (a Snape-like Haman), and a Kid in King Arthur’s Court, I must say that the essence of the film was very original and appealed to a large Jewish crowd that probably didn’t know better. Kol Rom and Emes Productions in that respect hit a home run.
On a different note, what disappointed me was the substandard marketing. I felt that the overall execution of the marketing didn’t involve Jews beyond Brooklyn and Lakewood. There was no marketing in, say, Toronto and in Israel. I get it – we Jews in New York think that Toronto, Canada is full of igloos and Israel, aside from being a country in conflict, won’t get Ashkenazi humor. Meanwhile, The feature showing in Manhattan’s Lincoln Center included Rabbis Pesach Krohn and Yaakov Salomon, at least according to the pictures shown on Facebook, which is great.
Speaking of Facebook and marketing, the page as we speak only has around 474 likes, up from 300 when the movie came out. The Twitter page has only 123 followers and there isn’t a way to contact the owners by phone. For starters, there was no visible phone number. I personally tried a couple of times submitting requests through the contact form, Facebook page and Twitter channel without receiving a response.
What else, the “buy now” option takes you to Artscroll’s website rather than a page full of Seforim stores acting as vendors. The iTunes option, in my opinion a huge disappointment, initially took one to a contact form that redirected one to a page with more generic info, notifying one that s/he has been added to the “notification list.” When the iTunes video wasn’t approved, a $3.99 Vimeo rental option became available where you only have access to it for 72 hours. Go and tell that to children that want to see the same video more than once. I would have gladly paid $9.99 or $11.99 for the full download. There’s also the option to place the video on Netflix which would allow the clip to reach out to a much larger audience.
I also saw that much website functionality was missing and that the site was custom-built on Classic ASP rather than a more mainstream CMS like WordPress or Drupal. Why???
I’m posting this review as I’m trying to provide constructive criticism for the producers of Megillas Lester, so that they may ramp up their support and marketing for this and future films. They have worked on a wonderful video with vast scholarly depth (though it missed Esther, can’t believe it) and I only want to see them produce more great works, such as the proposed Yetzias Efrayim. I understand that the Orthodox Jewish market is limited, yet I’ve seen non-religious Jews and Christians enjoy this film and believe that there is a market there as well.