March 2, 2024

Crypto documentary ‘Bull Run’ takes on Bitcoin, tokenization and trading addiction

“Bull Run” explores one director’s obsession with trading cryptocurrencies during the bull market and how it led her to create a tokenized crypto documentary.

The film industry has been suggested by many as one of the next frontiers of Web3 and blockchain technology. With movies historically funded by wealthy investors or centralized production companies, blockchain offers a unique set of tools to decentralize the investment process. Filmmakers can launch projects quicker, and individuals can have a stake in the financial outcome of a film in a way not historically possible — all with the benefit of blockchain’s transparency and efficiency.

The trend toward tokenization in all forms of entertainment is growing, and with it has come the seemingly increasing mainstream acceptance of films with a crypto bent.

One such example can be found in the film Bull Run, a Spanish documentary that recently had its international premiere on Nov. 15 at the Doc NYC documentary film festival in New York City. Bull Run, directed by Ana Ramón Rubio, describes itself as “the first tokenized film in history,” having raised 320,000 euros (roughly $370,000 at the time) in just 24 hours in September 2021.

Director Ana Ramón Rubio (middle) and producer Juanjo Moscardó (right) at the Doc NYC international premiere. (Source: Cointelegraph)

According to producer Juanjo Moscardó, the process was game-changing. “My last movie, we were four years to raise the money to finance it,” he said during a Q&A session about the film. “And as I say in the movie, this was only in one day to raise.”

“We think it’s a very good option to finance with tokenization because there are some things that you can’t wait to film or to start shooting, but you have to have the money. And this is what we wanted to do — only Bull Run. And we wanted to go in the bull run.”

The film’s backers were given BULL tokens, described as a security token that represents “the debt issued for the film and grants certain rights to the film’s profits.” Holders are guaranteed a certain percentage of the profits distributed via blockchain along with other benefits such as invitations to premiers and producer credits. The top investor was also given 60 seconds of airtime to say literally whatever they wanted, which was cut up and played at various points throughout the film.

Related: Sundance Film Festival embraces blockchain and crypto film initiatives

The documentary started shooting at the height of the bull market in late 2021. As explained in the film, Rubio was introduced to crypto by a friend, and she soon became addicted to trading and the dizzying gains she witnessed. Her family was not thrilled, told her it was a pyramid scheme, and begged her to give up trading and go to therapy instead. But rather than giving it up, she made a documentary about it.

Bull Run is a first-person account of how the exponential gains one can see during a bull market can quickly become all-consuming. While the documentary breaks down the basics of blockchain and features interviews with several prominent Spanish-speaking crypto personalities, the film’s emotional core centers around Rubio’s trading obsession and how it affects her life.

It’s a rather meta film and primarily follows the behind-the-scenes of the filmmaker’s journey and the creation of the documentary itself. For example, during an interview with Miguel Ángel González, host of the Bitcoin al Dia (“Bitcoin Every Day”) YouTube channel, the camera cuts away to reveal Rubio passing her cellphone to someone on her production team so that he can trade for her during the interview.

While Bull Run is surprisingly funny and overall light-hearted, it also dives deep into the director’s personal life, exploring how her crypto trading affected her relationship with her husband and how this documentary reignited her passion for filmmaking. Importantly, it also follows Rubio as everything comes crashing down in 2022. In fact, one of the most critical threads throughout the film is her journey from primarily looking at crypto as a speculative asset to being forced to reevaluate its purpose during the bear market, finally learning how people around the world are using Bitcoin and blockchain technology to better their lives and improve legacy, centralized systems.

The pace of change in the cryptosphere is rapid, as can clearly be seen in Bull Run. So, what does Rubio think about crypto now, more than two years into her blockchain journey? “I am mostly a Bitcoin believer right now,” she told Cointelegraph. “There are other very interesting projects, but I don’t know what will happen with them. Of course, I don’t know what will happen with Bitcoin, but I believe it will be successful. And so right now, I’m a holder.”

As for whether she thinks she will end up down the trading rabbit hole again:

“I don’t know if in 2025, when a new bull run starts, if I will be a little bit more of a trader. Let’s see how this addiction is handled.”

Magazine: Cryptocurrency trading addiction — What to look out for and how it is treated