The theatrical release in Michigan coincides with the last few weeks of that state’s gubernatorial election between incumbent Jennifer Granholm (D) and Dick DeVos (R). Dick DeVos is former president of Alticor, formerly known as Amway, and son of its co-founder Richard DeVos. Alticor and its sister companies comprise the world’s largest multi-level marketing (MLM) company in the world with reported sales of over $6.4 billion in 2005 and paid out $345 million in commissions that year.
“On the surface, $345 million is an impressive number, but in fact it’s not very substantial at all when you see what it means for the average individual Amway distributor,” said Loki Mulholland, writer and director of "BELIEVE". “Most Amway distributors make less than $100 per month. I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s not enough money for me to quit my regular job and retire.”
The film, a combination of actual documentary footage, outrageous comedy and drama, takes a satirical yet critical look at a fictional MLM company, Believe Industries and its devotees. And while the story is fictional, much of "BELIEVE’s" dialogue and events are based on the actual experiences of Mulholland, within the network/multi-level marketing world.
“Many people have been asking us why we are releasing it in Michigan first, but when the former head of the world’s largest MLM company is running for governor of one the most influential states in America, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the situation,” quipped Mulholland. “Dick DeVos and his extended family have made billions of dollars off of peoples’ dreams of becoming rich by selling Amway products. The sad fact is that the average MLM distributor has better odds striking it rich in Vegas than getting rich as a distributor.”
Mulholland did almost four years of what he now jokingly calls “undercover research” as a distributor for Amway. “Almost everyone has experienced multi-level marketing, whether they were directly involved as distributors or it was a friend, neighbor, relative or co-worker who tried to sell them some sort of cure-all or ‘amazing business opportunity’,” says Mulholland. “The inner workings of multi-level marketing companies are so surreal and filled with so many unique characters that it made for a perfect documentary/mockumentary subject.”
Set in the anywhere-USA town of Springfield, "BELIEVE" tells the story of Adam Pendon (Larry Bagby, Walk the Line) a struggling steel mill truck driver trying to support his family. When the mill unexpectedly closes, Adam’s life is thrown upside down by his new unemployment. While worrying about the loss of his job, Adam is approached by a slick, well-dressed and confident salesman, Mark Fuller (Lincoln Hoppe, Saints and Soldiers), who, it would seem, has a business opportunity and quick fix to Adam’s financial woes. From there, Adam is plunged into Believe Industries’ surreal multi-level-marketing world.
For more information on "BELIEVE", visit www.believethemovie.com.
courtesy: Aliied Adv.