Skip Your Daily Coffee, Buy JT Petty's SOFT FOR DIGGING Instead

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Skip Your Daily Coffee, Buy JT Petty's SOFT FOR DIGGING Instead
It was twelve years ago that a young director named JT Petty first made an impression on the world when his debut feature, Soft For Digging, was unleashed at Sundance. Petty has charted an unusual, challenging career since with his output ranging from video game scripts - most notably several Splinter Cell games - to controversial faux doc S&MAN and a flirtation with the mainstream industry with 2008 effort The Burrowers. Petty's a creatively restless sort and somehow through all of this the film that opened it all up for him has proven rather difficult to see. But not any more. I'll let Petty explain it himself, in the following open letter to his mother.

Dear Mom,

Big day today, I'm releasing my first movie, SOFT FOR DIGGING, online through VHX. You can purchase it at for $5.00, and then stream it or download a DRM-free quicktime. The original score by Sophocles Papavasilopoulos and James Wolcott is included, free of charge.

It's incredible to me that we shot this movie fifteen years ago. I look at the few production stills on the website and feel like I'm watching "Muppet Babies." I think the oldest of our six-man crew was twenty-two, unless of course I count you, Mom, on catering duties. Or calculate Max's age in cat years. (Max was the family cat, who plays the main character's cat, "Harpo." R.I.P.)

Since it screened at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, Soft for Digging has shown all over the world and had various theatrical and DVD releases. All of the rights have finally reverted to me, and I'm real excited to be putting it out through VHX, who handled the online release of movies like UPSTREAM COLOR and WE ARE LEGION.

I like selling Soft for Digging for the price of a hotel coffee. It's a fifteen-year-old movie made by a twenty-year-old kid for $6000, it seems only fair.

I like selling it in a DRM-free format that you can fuck with. The fact that it's a mostly dialogue-free film, a ghost story filled with impressionistic imagery, and Patrick McGraw's amazing 16mm photography all make it a collection of footage that invites play. It's why I insisted on including the soundtrack in the download. If you see a better way to put the images together, please, be my guest.

We're at a curious moment in film distribution, entertainment feels like it's following the same pattern as the world at large, a seeming democratization of power through technology that is somehow resulting in ballooning inequality. Feels like we've got tentpoles and no circus. From the distribution methods emerging, (most recently notable the crazy inspiring way Shane Carruth put UPSTREAM COLOR out into the world), VHX feels like the ideal partner. It's simple, transparent, and fair to everyone involved.

Anyway, mom-- I hope you enjoy the movie, I think it's aged better than I have. And as always, don't worry, they won't think it's your fault.

JT Petty Brooklyn, NY, USA

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