Imagine you're an L.A. independent filmmaker watching the Super Bowl and your phone starts ringing. Simultaneously, people are sending you texts.
This would be annoying enough, if it wasn't for the fact that they're all wanting to talk about the same thing: that Motorola's anti-Apple "1984" ad bears some remarkable similarities to a movie that you funded yourself. Oh, and shot in 2009.
"I know, I know," you say, if you're Mike Sarrow. "But what can I do?"
The mere concept of plagiarism is a very difficult and delicate one. Inspirations can just as easily be unconscious as conscious. However, Sarrow says his film, called "Do Not Disconnect" has been on the film festival circuit for some time. And many people volunteered their services to its creation.
"We're really disappointed that Motorola and the Anomaly New York ad agency have made their Super Bowl ad 'Empower the People' with an identical concept," he told me.
I am not sure that these two concepts can be called identical at all.
However, I have embedded the two films, so that you, the vast and neutral jury, can decide whether you think there are similarities between these two pieces or not. Is this a case of a filmmaker desperately clutching at a little fame? Or is Sarrow more than an extremely sensitive artist, trying to protect his work and his reputation?
Sarrow himself understands that this could all be one vast coincidence.
However, he points out: "All I know is that I have been in and around the commercial production business as well as the film business for the past couple years, trying to get this concept off the ground. I think the concept could have been coincidentally thought of, but the similarity of the ending sequence is striking."
I have contacted Motorola for its view and, should the company reply, I will update.
Even if this is a mere coincidence, perhaps you will, at least, enjoy Sarrow's vision of our current world, especially the sweet shot in the pool hall when the woman takes her cue to the ping-pong balls.