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After PBS Controversy, "Citizen Koch" Filmmakers Turn to Kickstarter

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by Anthony Kaufman
July 9, 2013 10:05 AM
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"Citizen Koch,” the documentary film about Wisconsin politics and the Citizens United decision, is turning to Kickstarter to cover the costs of music licenses, footage licenses, editing costs and other fees associated with readying the film for distribution. Problems with the film's distribution on PBS first circulated after The New Yorker published a damning story that strongly suggested that rightwing billionaire David Koch, who was a member of the Board of Directors of WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston at the time, may have had something to do with PBS pulling the plug on the film's broadcast.

Koch
"Citizen Koch" is less about David Koch than Wisconsin's Scott Walker.

Now, taking a page from their friend and colleague Michael Moore, the filmmakers are using the controversy to further generate publicity and funds for the release of their movie.

The filmmakers are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 in 30 days to replace half of the $150,000 that public television executives committed to the project but then rescinded.

“Just as powerful campaign spenders expect something in return from the politicians they support, so, too, do public television’s high-dollar donors,” said “Citizen Koch” filmmaker Tia Lessin in a statement. “It’s ironic that our film about the undue influence of money in politics was subject to undue influence of money in public broadcasting.”

I wrote about the film, which I was ambivalent about in its first Sundance cut, and the controversy before. I will be curious to see the new cut of the documentary, which I would expect to be improved upon since its January world premiere.

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