Shadows of Liberty DocShadows of Liberty reveals the extraordinary truth behind the news media: censorship, cover-ups and corporate control. Quebec Filmmaker Jean-Philippe Tremblay takes a journey through the darker corridors of the US media, where global conglomerates call the shots. For decades, their overwhelming influence has distorted news journalism and compromised its values. In highly revealing stories, renowned journalists, activists and academics give insider accounts of a broken media system. Controversial news reports are suppressed, people are censored for speaking out, and lives are shattered as the arena for public expression is turned into a private profit zone.Tracing the story of media manipulation through the years, Shadows of Liberty poses a crucial question: why have we let a handful of powerful corporations write the news? We’re left in no doubt – media reform is urgent and freedom of the press is fundamental.

 Credits:

Jean-Philippe Tremblay
Director/ Producer / Writer

Tremblay originates from Jonquière, Québec. He studied Law and Film at Carleton University. In 1996, he made a film entitled Journey, following the story of an aspiring young filmmaker in South East Asia for one year. He was awarded an intensive apprenticeship at the S.A.W. Video Co-op. Subsequently, Jean-Philippe developed his skills as a lighting technician on four films with Distinct Features, TV shows, commercials, and music videos.  In 1998, the Canada Arts Council funded his short film entitled Rock Bottom Fill. The following year, he documented the work of an NGO – South Asian Partnership Canada – in Pakistan. In 2001, he was a Neg-Assembler for films such as Insomnia. In 2002 he developed the Journey film project in South America for six months. In 2006 he completed an MA in Film Production at the London Film School. His graduation film was selected at the 50th London Film Festival. He joined DOCFACTORY that same year and began filming his first feature documentary, Shadows Of Liberty, completed in January 2012. Jean-Philippe is currently preparing a new feature.

Dan Cantagallo
Co-writer / Co-producer

Cantagallo studied film at Harvard University and the London Film School. Dan expanded his thesis project and collaborated with his brother to make a feature documentary, No Outlet. He has worked on numerous shorts, music videos, and documentaries including the award-winning Operation Filmmaker and Benny The Bum. He works as a screenwriter and editor in Los Angeles.

OFFICIAL SELECTION

  • 2012 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
  • 2012 Hot Docs Canadian Intl. Documentary Festival
  • 2012 Sheffield Doc/Fest
  • 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival
  • 2012 Bergen International Film Festival
  • 2012 Canberra International Film Festival
  • 2012 Mexico DOCSDF

About the Shadows of Liberty

The  media  conglomerates  are  not  the  only  “industry”  whose  owners  have become monopolistic in the American economy. But media products are unique in one vital respect. They do not manufacture nuts and bolts: they manufacture a social and political world.

Ben Bagdikian, ‘The New Media Monopoly’

In 2005,  the members of  DOCFACTORY read Ben Bagdikian’s groundbreaking work, ‘The New Media Monopoly’, and were inspired to document today’s disintegrating freedoms within  the  U.S. media. The overwhelming collective power of the corporate media monopoly raises the most troubling questions about democracy.

The subject remains crucial not only for the state of the media itself, but it is critical for all issues facing the U.S. and the world today. Ultimately, the media is the place where we learn about the world.

Since  the  1980’s,  government  deregulation favouring  privatization  over  public welfare has been the overwhelming reality in the United States.

As a result, media ownership rules have been amended, giving extraordinary power to the massive media conglomerates. Now, more than ever  before,  media  ownership  rules are under severe scrutiny from the public, and millions of people have protested against more deregulation for media conglomerates.

The journey  of  making Shadows  Of  Liberty began  in 2007,  when  the  Federal Communications Commission  (FCC) held  Media  Ownership  Hearings  across  the  United States. It was an opportunity for people to express how they felt about their media. Thousands attended and spoke about how the media monopoly crisis was at the core of today’s most troubling issues. People were outraged about the corporate control producing  narrow content,  misrepresentations,  and  lies.  The issues surrounding the corporate media monopoly directly address the problems within our society.

We hope that this work will enlighten even more people towards the dangers and injustices from the corporate media  monopoly.  This film was  made  to inspire awareness, change, to support independent media, and help promote a free Internet.

The film is dedicated to Ben Bagdikian and his outstanding lifetime achievement in journalism, as well as journalists everywhere who follow his legacy.

Director’s Statement

This film attempts to present how a handful of corporations have come to control most  of  the  information  in  the  United  States,  creating  a  media  monopoly  that manipulates  our  political, economical, and  social  world. Media’s extraordinary influence and power in the world forces us to ask ourselves serious questions about the world we live in.

Through the stories of journalists revealing truths about our society, we learn about how the media monopoly operates and affects our society. This film is dedicated to these journalists, heroes of our  time, who  give their  lives and  freedoms for  our information. Presenting these voices that are not heard or given a platform is what Shadows of Liberty is about.

It is very important to this project to present news events from another perspective, that of the independent journalist. Their work highlights the injustices of corporations and governments. Their stories illustrate how differently  the mainstream media presents news events and their far‐reaching effects on society.

My  hope  is  for  more  people  to  get  a  sense  of  how  the  corporate  control  of information  in  our  democracy  came  to  be.  People everywhere respond and demonstrate against injustices, yet their voices are either not reported or taken into account. This film attempts to inspire change and accountability by championing the idea of an independent media where truth and integrity are the norm, and not the exception.

Unjust wars are being fought, governments are imposing radical power, and the imbalance between the corporate and public welfare is greater than ever. The media monopoly and its role in our democracy is one of the most important and topical issues of our time.

The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much. There’s really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read, see and hear. It’s not healthy.

Ted Turner

The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control; ‘indoctrination,’ we might say, exercised through the mass media.

Noam Chomsky

Read more at www.shadowsofliberty.org.