Viral Filmmaker Gets $25,000 to Promote a New Movie and Instead Spends It All on Typhoon Recovery

Walter Mitty promo budget buys 10,000 meals in Philippines

If you had a modest budget of $25,000 to create a promotional clip for a feature film, how would you spend it? Unless you're viral video director Casey Neistat, it probably wouldn't occur to you to donate it all to the Philippines.

20th Century Fox contacted Neistat to ask him to make a video promoting The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Neistat proposed that the studio instead let him use the budget to help recent victims of the typhoon in the Philippines, and somewhat surprisingly, Fox agreed. 

Known for occasionally being a well-intentioned troublemaker—like when he protested a cycling ticket by comically riding into the many obstacles that were blocking New York City's bike lanes, or when he used Nike Fuel ad dollars to travel the world with a friend—Neistat has now created one of his most intriguing and simple films yet. 

Exactly as promised, Neistat flies to the Philippines, buys two buses full of supplies and hands out more than 10,000 meals, a bunch of tools and some medicine to 35 villages. What's amazing is that while relief organizations have said they're having trouble mobilizing, finding transport and getting supplies to those who need them in the Philippines, Neistat just waltzes in and, with one tweet, gets the connection he needs to deliver food to those in need. The longish film has over 600,000 views in just a few days. So, unlike Walter Mitty, how would you live your dreams?

@rebeccacullers Rebecca Cullers is a contributor to Adweek.