Truthout: Filmmaker Robert Greenwald Tells Truthout How the Koch Brothers Endanger Democracy and Our Health
By Mark Karlin at Truthout
BuzzFlash at Truthout first got to know Robert Greenwald when he and Earl Katz, who is now chair of Public Interest Pictures, were trying to get a film about the theft of the 2000 presidential election, “Unprecedented,” off the ground. That was over a decade ago.
Since that time, Greenwald went on to form the extraordinarily innovative Brave New Films. Brave New Films has been a leading user of social media to disseminate progressive video clips and documentaries. Most recently, Greenwald launched the distribution of “Koch Brothers Exposed,” a DVD that features the best of Brave New Films’ videos, revealing the dark side of the Koch family empire. Receive it, shipped directly from Truthout, with a one-time donation to Truthout of $30 or a monthly gift of $15 or more.
Mark Karlin: First, congratulations. Another extraordinary film showing the importance of documenting public issues of vital importance. Indeed, how far your use of film for the public good has come. I remember talking with you a decade ago, when your first steps were still uncertain, but now you have built a thriving and vital progressive studio for the Internet age. How have you felt making the transition from a Sunset Boulevard Hollywood director and producer to a creator of advocacy and documentary films and Internet clips?
Robert Greenwald: All change and transitions are challenging and filled with tensions and excitement. The opportunity to work each day on the most profound issues that affect each and every one of us is a constant source of great tension. How to tell the story in the way that will have the most impact; how to structure the film so that it can reach the most people emotionally, and then, intellectually; how to take a complicated issue and make it compelling, as well as activating – these are things that keep me awake at night and have me jumping out of bed at dawn.
Mark Karlin: Now to “Koch Brothers Exposed.” The father of David and Charles Koch, Fred, was – as mentioned in the DVD – one of the founders of the John Birch Society. It appears to me that when you connect the dots of the nefarious Koch brothers’ activity – what ties their political initiatives together – they are pretty much following the John Birch Society ideology (although they claim they are libertarians). Is that something that you would agree with?
Robert Greenwald: I think one of the most important roles we play at Brave New Foundation is connecting the dots on war, on economic inequity, etcetera. It is never, never the rotten apple theory; it is systemic. And we need to find ways to tell the story of how the system works and doesn’t work. I think the important thing with the Kochs is to understand parental influence and the fact that they are representative of the 1 percent. They are not the only ones, but it is important to see and understand what they do and how they are doing it.
Mark Karlin: The size of the wealth of the Koch brothers is mind-boggling. How much are they worth, and why do you think they aren’t just content being among the richest people in the world?
Robert Greenwald: The billions they have is beyond our comprehension. Why aren’t they content is a question better suited to psychologists (my father, mother, brother and sister-in-law, by the way). However, there is a book my brother gave me years ago about wealth addition, and I think that would be an accurate description. There is never enough money; they keep using millions to make billions, to buy up democracy.
Read the rest here.