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Documentary Production and Distribution News
In just three days, more than 1,700 small dollar donors across the country have stepped up and made their voices heard through a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to ensure the documentary film “Citizen Koch” is not silenced by the money and influence of a billionaire extremist.
The campaign surpassed the initial goal of $75,000 well before the end of the third day of a month-long campaign that will end on August 8. The initial goal represents half of the $150,000 that public television executives committed to the project but then rescinded in order to placate David Koch, who was a member of the Board of Directors of WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston.
According to Kickstarter, the average amount pledged to “Citizen Koch” is $53.31.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign here: http://kck.st/10jw96R.
Find more information on the film here: www.citizenkoch.com.
The money will be used to pay for the final sound mix, the film’s score and graphics, color correction, creating mastered elements for distribution, licensing archival footage and licensing music.
Donors comments posted on the Kickstarter campaign include:
“We are incredibly grateful for this support, and relieved to know that while David Koch may have billions of dollars on his side, we have the power of people on ours,” said Tia Lessin. “This campaign show us there’s an audience hungry to see this film; joining together to pool their resources, they are countering the big money deployed by one billionaire that effectively censored “Citizen Koch” from the public airwaves.”
“We launched this campaign with one simple goal – to connect people who believe the film should not have been suppressed from public television and ask them to help us finish it so it can be seen,” said Carl Deal.
The campaign will be active for another 26 days, during which time the filmmakers hope to ultimately be able to replace the entire $150,000 public broadcasting commission.
“This generous support has made it possible for us to use these next 26 days to go even bigger so we can launch “Citizen Koch” far and wide,” said Deal.
The film looks at the impact that unlimited campaign spending unleashed by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling had on citizen recall efforts in Wisconsin in 2012 while exposing the influence wealthy individuals and corporate interests have in our democracy.
“Citizen Koch” premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival and was on track for public broadcast until the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the public agency that funds and curates independent documentaries, withdrew its financial support as well as its television partnership for “Citizen Koch.”
What happened after the film’s premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival demonstrates that wealthy donors’ influence does not end with electoral campaigns. As Jane Mayer reported for her article in The New Yorker, “A Word From Our Sponsor: Public television’s attempts to placate David Koch,” the financial power David Koch wields impacts more than just elections. With continued funding from Koch on the line, public television executives backed out of their deal with “Citizen Koch” filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, attempting to stop the public airing of a film critical of him. This left the public without an opportunity to see “Citizen Koch” on their local stations, and saddled the production with a major funding gap.
Independent filmmaker Michael Moore, with whom “Citizen Koch” filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal have worked, said that surpassing the goal was just a start. “Let's Keep This Going,” said a post on his website. “They can hear us already, but it wouldn't hurt to give if you haven't yet, just to turn up the volume.”