I'll Scratch Yours: Doc Maker Supports Subject with Book Trailer, Good Prevails


In case you haven't seen, books have trailers now. Most book trailers are made for large audiences: they lure Young Adult readers with images of pretty people or stir Romance buyers with chesty men on horseback. Trailers for books with more niche interests are few. The trailer for Joshua Safran’s memoir “Free Spirit” is more of a short film and a tone poem than it is a gateway drug for your next kindle purchase.

This is partly because the "Free Spirit" trailer
wasn't produced by a publisher, it was the result of a friendship between documentarian Yoav Potash and one of the subjects of his last picture, author and attorney Joshua Safran.

In 2011, Potash made Crime after Crime, a doc about a woman jailed nearly 30 years because of her association with the murderers of her abusive husband. The film was both successful (Oprah loved it!) and a big step towards revealing the faulty law that allowed the woman to remain in jail despite her innocence. The California Habeas Project came to her aid and in that group was Joshua Safran.

Potash says he and Safran met “through mutual friends while Josh was in law school, but it wasn't until I started making Crime After Crime that I learned more about his unusual childhood.”

Throughout the 80s, Joshua lived with his mother who moved nomadically in search of a place they could call home. Intriguingly there’s a lot of poignant comedy in the trailer, as the hippy momma repeatedly blasts sunshine on the most impossible living spaces for them, but what seems comical in the visual medium may register as tragedy from the perspective of a little boy who just wants to be “normal.”

After last year’s spate of stories about commune and other unconventional living, a story about a family off the grid by choice (not by pressure or tradition) could serve as a great and clarifying clue to the mystery of off-grid life. Why leave society? Safran’s book may shine a light on that. The fact that this book and its trailer are blossoming from the good done by a grass roots doc about justice is a sweet bonus. Somewhere in there is something to be said about the redemptive power of true stories.

Potash says, “for many years anyone who heard Joshua's childhood stories—especially Joshua's wife Leah—told him he should write a book about his experiences. It wasn't until after he represented Deborah Peagler and saw how her story helped heal and inspire others that Joshua wrote the book.”

Free spirit is out via Hatchett Group and applauded by Elle
And Publisher’s Weekly.

See the trailer HERE

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