Mr. Burma, who came to help with the second version of the film, told me that “Loose Change” caught my attention because it produced better than other videos in its genre, and because it came out for many years during the Iraq war, trust in many organizations waned at the time. And many Democrats (and some Republicans) were rightly concerned about government cover and the wrong direction.
“There was a great feeling in this country that people felt they were being wronged. Burma said.
New technology also helped. Unlike pre-internet conspiracy theories, which had to go through books and pamphlets, “Loose Change” was available online for free. Fans uploaded it to sites such as Google Video, now a dormant YouTube competitor, where it was viewed millions of times and translated into many languages.
The “Loose Change” team encourages fans to sell DVDs in other creative distribution strategies, multi-packs, and leave copies at laundromats, post offices, hotel lobbies, and other public places where strangers can pick them up. When fans wanted to spread the film manually, they allowed it, whether it was uploading it to a torrent file-sharing service or passing it around a pirated disc.
“We didn’t care,” Mr. Burma said. “We wanted the message to come out, duration.”
“Loose Change” never enriched its creators, but the film became a cultural touchstone and attracted a number of high-profile fans. Rosie O’Donnell, then host of “The View”, officially raised doubts about September. 11 story, and Joy Reed, now a MSNBC host, praised the film on her personal blog. (Mrs. O’Donnell did not respond to a request for comment, and Mrs. Reed said her blog was hacked.) Charlie Sheen expressed interest in describing a version of the film, Mr. Rowe said the “shark tank” would have been financed by billionaire Mark Cuban, although the deal never materialized. (In an email, Mr. Cube said he felt the film was “ridiculous” and the conversation didn’t go beyond initial discussions.)
Jonathan Kay, a Canadian journalist who wrote a book about September. 11 Truthro told me that the success of “Loose Change” turned the theory of conspiracy from passive hobby into social activity, and encouraged a new generation of conspirators to try their hand at media production.