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April 11, 2013, 12:00 AM | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Carl Deal and Tia Lessin were surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case. The case changed the way that elections were financed through corporate and union funding.
While they were in the midst of making another film at the time, their surprise ultimately led them to make “Citizen Koch,” a documentary film that examines the electoral system by focusing on the stories of three Wisconsin state employees who are all lifelong Republicans.
“We met state workers—staunch, life-long Republicans—who had concluded that Walker’s radical policies would undercut their families’ modest standard of living and dishonor their life-long commitment to public service,” say Deal and Lessin.
Deal and Lessin have been nominated for an Academy-Award® for Best Documentary; the two also won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. They have worked on projects with director Michael Moore.
The process of making “Citizen Koch” began in 2011, when Deal and Lessin went to Wisconsin to begin filming. Wisconsin at the time was a place where a major political drama was unfolding, as the state’s governor, Scott Walker was attempting to weaken the power of state unions. Walker’s policies, the state unions, and the struggle between them got the nation’s attention.
“Following this story also gave us a chance to make sense of why so many working class Republicans support an agenda promoted by America’s wealthiest,” they say. “We have long wondered what it would take to change that dynamic, and in Wisconsin, we found out.”
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