Why does a small-budget movie like Brian De Palma's “Redacted” matter? Because of the ripple effects. The media have reported the film as "a ferocious argument against the engagement in Iraq for what it is doing to everyone involved.” Meaning the media are taking these deeply anti-war, anti-military storylines as De Palma intended, as a serious discussion of the day-to-day “realities” of Iraq.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (shown right, image via Pat Dollard) financially backed “Redacted,” which debuted Friday in Italy at the Venice Film Festival (blogged here), and his studio Magnolia Pictures is distributing the movie (h/t NB'er Acumen).
Political controversial movies are nothing new to Cuban, is also financing the latest version of the 9/11 “Truther” pseudo-documentary “Loose Change" (see bottom for correction*) but the billionaire is using “Redacted” to forge a groundbreaking method of movie distribution by promoting same day availability of theater movies on Pay Per View--at the expense of the boots on the ground.
Former Hollywood agent turned embedded documentarian Pat Dollard dove into Mark Cuban's role as distributor and came up with some inside information (emphasis mine throughout):
Cuban’s company Magnolia Pictures will be bringing this propganda campaign to a theater near you this winter. According to a source close to Cuban, the decision for Magnolia to develop, finance and distribute the film was personally made by Çuban. Cuban has a full producer credit on the film, and DePalma shot it on HiDef video at Cuban’s request, in order for it to qualify as fodder for Cuban’s hi-def cable channel. So far neither he or DePalma have explained how they can be “bringing the truth of the Iraq war to the American people”, as Louie DePalma (sic) has said, when neither of them have ever been to Iraq, filmed any of “Redacted” in Iraq, or spent one minute with any soldier in Iraq. Clearly they are only bringing you their imagined propagandists’ reality of Iraq. Both had the opportunity to go, both declined.
Ah, yes, but the've read the “truth” on the Internet.
It's all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it's not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment.
I doubt the sites he visited had information from impartial sources with first hand knowledge like Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio or even, gasp!, some of the soldiers themselves. Why bother reading those bloggers when Counterpunch, Prison Planet or Democratic Underground are ready and willing to keep De Palma “informed” about the American Genghis Khans in Iraq.
Cuban's involvement gave “Redacted” more reach and power. With Cuban and Magnolia Pictures, it will find a ready audience in the international market. The foreign media loved it in Venice. Watch De Palma's three-minute standing ovation on YouTube to see just how much. Cuban plans to release “Redacted” through his HDNET Films, where it will find a home on Pay Per View two to three days before the theater release.
The move is supposed to break barriers and carve out a new way to release movies. According to Variety, the goal is for “Redacted” to push Cuban's Ultra HD Video on Demand into common use:
The importance of this strategy can't be overstated, [Cuban] said. All of his clients, he continued, have stressed to him "that the ability to watch movies while they are in theaters is at the top of the requests in their research" from consumers. "Because we are the only studio to own a national theater," he added, "we are in a unique position to do this." Cuban owns Landmark Cinemas.
So, “Redacted” wasn't just a movie De Palma made to “stop the war,” it's an important part of Cuban's business plans. What better way to promote his new Pay Per View distribution feature than to use a highly controversial movie to draw attention?
Obviously, Cuban and De Palma had the right to put out this movie, but bloggers have the right to expose the movie as a hit job masquerading as what De Palma called “the reality of what is happening in Iraq”-meaning a bigoted US military habitually raping and killing civilians. “Redacted” was designed to outrage people and that outrage is something those soldiers' enemies will exploit.
*UPDATED with correction 09/06/07 (05:15): With media interest swirling, Magnolia's Mark Cuban said, "We are having discussions about distributing the existing video with Charlie's [Charlie Sheen] involvement as a narrator, not in making a new feature." At that time, the media reported were they were "in talks" for a deal, which turned into a certainty in much of the media. I don't know what, if anything, came of the talks, but Cuban recently stated, "I didn't finance it" about "Loose Change" on Blog Maverick, his personal blog.
I don't know whether talks just did not result in a deal or if Cuban played a game of semantics about his involvement. Either way, according to Cuban, he "didn't finance" "Loose Change."
Contact Lynn at tvisgoodforyou2 at yahoo dot com