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2 Docs 2 Nights 2 Much to be Worried About


by Stephen Becker 18 Feb 2010

Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of VideoFest. Tuesday night, the Video Association of Dallas held a works in progress screening of a film called Battle of Brooklyn by Suki Hawley and 
Michael Galinsky. The film is about a family trying to fight against a major developer in Brooklyn who is trying to […]

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Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of VideoFest.

Tuesday night, the Video Association of Dallas held a works in progress screening of a film called Battle of Brooklyn by Suki Hawley and 
Michael Galinsky. The film is about a family trying to fight against a major developer in Brooklyn who is trying to build a sports arena. It seems like everyone: the city, the developer, and community groups are against the family. They all want the elusive jobs jobs jobs and will destroy anything to get them, even though those jobs may never come.

Then on Wednesday, I saw Gasland, the opening-night film of the Thin Line Film Fest in Denton (which was worth the drive from Dallas for me).

In this film, a filmmaker is battling against corporations and the government who the director believes are poisoning the water and air. Both are good films that are also devastating and depressing. In both cases, there is the sense of frustration that nothing can be done. All the mechanisms that are supposed to be in place to protect us have been corrupted and co-opted by the same corporate money that will now overtly be able to buy votes.

Lately I have been reading a lot about the Tea Party. While Tea Party members may not agree with the political perspectives of either of these filmmaker, they would clearly see these films as examples of government getting in the way. And they would be right.

In both cases, the issues are complex and deep. A three-minute segment on a cable news outlet would do well to feed rage and get people in a frantic state of fear. While these docs make us fearful about being powerless against big money, money that has turned the government blind to its noble and proper role, they give us a deeper perspective on the problems, so we know a bit more than to rant. And whine. These docs help make you think, not just react, and that is what good documentary films do.

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  • It’s easy to relate to the Tea Partyers’ rage, but they’re blaming the wrong players. It’s not “government getting in the way.” It is, as you say, government’s “noble and proper role” being subverted by our culture of legalized bribery.

    The deck is impossibly stacked in favor of corporations over individuals these days, private interests over the public good. Republicans and Democrats alike are bought and paid for by massive amounts K Street money. With Washington’s help, Wall Street is transforming our country into its own kleptocracy. Predatory banking “innovations” have turned our middle class into a nation of modern-day sharecroppers.

    Here’s another example of it: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june10/solman_02-17.html

  • It’s easy to relate to the Tea Partyers’ rage, but they’re blaming the wrong players. It’s not “government getting in the way.” It is, as you say, government’s “noble and proper role” being subverted by our culture of legalized bribery. The deck is impossibly stacked in favor of corporations over individuals these days, private interests over the public good. Republicans and Democrats alike are bought and paid for by massive amounts K Street money. With Washington’s help, Wall Street is transforming our country into its own kleptocracy, and our middle class into modern-day sharecroppers. Here’s another example of it: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june10/solman_02-17.html