Morgan Freeman, Richard Branson take to YouTube to oppose the war on drugs

Next week, the U.K.’s Sundog Pictures will release its documentary film Breaking The Taboo on YouTube (s GOOG), months before the film is scheduled to air on traditional TV. Breaking the Taboo is a film with a message, opposing the war on drugs, and it features a powerful lineup: The movie is being narrated by Morgan Freeman and features testimony by Bill Clinton as well as Jimmy Carter.


Sundog has been using short clips featuring billionaire Richard Branson, actress Kate Winslet, actor Gael Garcia Bernal and rapper Dizzie Rascal to draw attention to it ahead of its online release.

The strategy seems to be working: The official Breaking The Taboo YouTube channel has clocked more than 300,000 views since its launch on November 16. But why would Sundog release the entire film for free on YouTube ahead of its TV broadcast? I got in touch with the company to find out, and a spokesperson sent me the following response:

“We have decided to go with a YouTube release as the important thing for us as a company is not monetary gain but raising awareness and spreading the word on global issues — we aim to educate and inspire people and we can do that best through a free, social medium like YouTube where so many more people will be able to access it.”

The movie will be available for free for one month starting December 7. It is part of a larger campaign to change drug policy that has attracted support from a variety of people including Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox, Napster co-founder Sean Parker and Sting.