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It's Not the Oscar-Winning 'Traffic' -- but Acorn Media's 'Traffik' Is the Original

7 May, 2001 By: Kurt Indvik

Although this version doesn’t feature Mr. and Mrs. Michael Douglas or Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro, Traffik is a winner in its own right, according to supplier Acorn Media.

Traffik is a five-and-a-half hour miniseries from Britain—and the original film on which Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-lauded Traffic was based. Traffik first aired on PBS in the early 1990s and spent a brief turn on video shelves under the PBS Home Video label (from the now-defunct distributor Pacific Arts).

On June 26, the entire miniseries will be featured on three videocassettes ($49.95) or two DVDs ($39.95), both with extra footage not shown during the PBS broadcast.

Traffik deals with the drug trade between Britain and Pakistan, instead of Mexico and the United States, as seen in the theatrical version. Filmed on location in Pakistan and London, the film stars Bill Paterson, Lindsay Duncan and Julia Ormond in her film debut.

“It’s a compelling look at the international drug trade,” says Sylvia George, director of marketing for Acorn Media, which acquired rights to Traffik a few months ago in the wake of Traffic’s theatrical popularity.

Acorn executives have high hopes for Traffik, especially since Traffic won an Oscar in March for best adapted screenplay—and Traffik is the screenplay from which Traffic was adapted, George notes.

Traffik will benefit from Acorn’s largest marketing campaign to date, George says, with plenty of national focus.

“We have decided to increase our range quite a bit,” she says, adding that Acorn Media is already well known for its niche product, especially in the genre of British films. “We’ve taken everything we do already and elevated it for a national promotion.”

The extreme focus on the Oscar-lauded Traffic will undoubtedly lend a helping hand to Traffik’s promotion, George says.

“And [Traffik is] such a great title, it will have legs of its own,” George says. “In some cases, [critics] have said Traffik is better [than Traffic], which we love.”

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