Citizen Koch
(87 min) USA
[watch trailer]
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Friday 10/18, 9:10 PM (Session 5)

Directors/Producers: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin


Recent politics have been triumphant for some and terrifying for others, but everybody seems to agree on one thing: something is fundamentally wrong with the system. Many believe the template for that "something" is the effort to purchase the democratic process that began with "Americans for Prosperity" and the controversial "Citizens United" decision of the Supreme Court. This clear and remarkably assembled documentary takes the circus-like whirlwind of events and characters and puts them into a comprehensive and lucid time frame. Using recent events in Wisconsin as its primary focus, Citizen Koch truly "follows the money." We begin to see how the fragments and noise coalesce around a handful of very rich, very powerful individuals who have a specific vision of our country and are willing to pay any price to cultivate their ideas. Conservative, liberal, or just plain sick-of-it-all, this film will open the eyes and raise the blood pressure of every citizen concerned about how muted their voices may become if only the rich and powerful have a voice.


Carl Deal and Tia Lessin are Academy Award-nominated filmmakers for Trouble the Water, which won the Gotham Independent Film Award, the Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize and the Full Frame Documentary Festival Grand Jury Prize. Deal and Lessin were co-producers of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, winners of the Palme d'Or, Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine and Capitalism: A Love Story. Tia line-produced Martin Scorsese's Emmy and Grammy-winning film No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and was consulting producer of Living in the Material World: George Harrison. Her work as a producer of the series The Awful Truth earned her two Emmy nominations, one arrest and a lifetime ban from Disney World. She is the recipient of the L'Oréal Paris/Women in Film's Women of Worth Vision Award and the Sidney Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism for Behind the Labels, a film about labor trafficking in the US garment industry. Carl has contributed to many other documentary films, and previously worked as an international news producer and writer, reporting from natural disasters and conflict zones throughout the US, Latin America and Iraq. Both Deal and Lessin are Sundance Institute fellows and lab advisors, Creative Capital artists and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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