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PRESS LIBRARY

Does 'free speech' mean 'dark money?': The Reid Report, MSNBC, June 4, 2014

Creators of the documentary, “Citizen Koch,” Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, join Joy Reid to discuss how big money political donations have exploded since the Citizens United decision.


Addicted to Koch? New documentary traces influence of Koch brothers' money in GOP: Power Players, ABC/Yahoo News, June 4, 2014

A new documentary makes the controversial case that a political cocktail of big corporate money and racially charged sentiments has helped fuel the rise of the tea party. And squarely behind that movement, the film argues, are the Koch brothers.


‘Citizen Koch’ movie review, by Michael O-Sullivan: The Washington Post, June 19, 2014

If you have a shred of idealism left, it’s hard to watch “Citizen Koch” without a mounting sense of despair and outrage over the influence that money has come to wield over modern elections. After watching the film, however, it’s reassuring to remember that sometimes — as in the case of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recent primary defeat by a poorly funded dark horse — the little guy with an empty wallet can still win.


Koch problem: Citizen attempts to unravel dark money politics, by Nick Davis: The Missoula Independent, June 26, 2014


Citizen Koch Review, By Brent Simon, Paste Magazine, June 26, 2014

The dark lessons this engrossing nonfiction film holds—of entrenched power’s rapacious appetite for more power, and the destructive and fundamentally dishonest lengths to which its brokers will go to achieve their aims—are terribly important ones.


Citizen Koch: The Tavis Smiley Radio Show, June 27, 2014

Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers behind the conservative super PAC Americans for Prosperity, are the featured players in “Citizen Koch”, a new documentary about corporate influence in politics.


Public TV Snubbed This Film to Avoid Offending a Billionaire Donor, By Daniel Schulman, Mother Jones, July 17, 2014.

The author of "Sons of Wichita" catches up with the makers of "Citizen Koch."


KGO ABC Radio, San Francisco, Tim Sika, President of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle review of “Citizen Koch”, May 26, 2014

“…Citizen Koch is just as powerful [as Trouble the Water] and in some ways more incendiary and dangerous because it’s a virtual expose of what’s become of US politics and the influence of big big money on election campaigns …the movie just takes a hold of your throat and doesn’t let go for its 85 minute running time… It’s a raging, angry, rip-roaring, filled-with-righteous-fury-and-indignation indictment of big money in the U.S. political process, and so far, the best documentary of the year…maybe this documentary will finally get people again to take to the streets and just say “enough of this nonsense already, I’ve had it.”


KALW FM, Your Call: Citizens United and Citizen Koch (San Francisco NPR Affiliate), April 24, 2014

On today’s Your Call, it’s our Friday media roundtable. This week we’ll have a conversation with Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, directors of Citizen Koch, a documentary about money, power, and democracy. The film looks at how Citizens United drastically changed how the country’s elections are fought and paid for. The filmmakers financed the film through Kickstarter after the Independent Television Service withdrew funding. How are Koch Brothers influencing the media and politics in the US? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.


Beating the Koch brothers The Good Fight, Episode #21,  May 5, 2014

The fight behind Citizen Koch, the documentary that the Koch brothers crushed... almost. Normally, when you make a movie, you don't have to worry that your film's villain will mess with you in real life. Darth Vader didn't threaten the distribution deal for Star Wars. But for Citizen Koch, a documentary about money in politics after Citizens United, that's exactly what happened. Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal join us today to share their story, the story of their film—and how they're fighting back.


'Citizen Koch' documentary on Wisconsin protests to open in June, April 3, 2014

More than a year after it played at the Wisconsin Film Festival, the documentary “Citizen Koch” will return to Madison theaters. The documentary, which looks at the effect of so-called “dark money” contributions in politics, and especially on politics in Wisconsin, will open in New York in June 6. Its distributor, Variance Films, said the film will travel to several cities from there, including opening in Madison sometime in June.


We Refuse to Be Silenced
By Carl Deal & Tia Lessin 07/16/2013 12:18 pm
Huffington Post
In our documentary film, Citizen Koch, we look at the unlimited campaign spending unleashed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizen's United ruling. The title is intended as a metaphor for American politics today and the outsized influence wealthy individuals and corporate interests have in our democracy. But it seems that the billionaire industrialist and conservative activist David Koch is a fan neither of metaphors nor of critical scrutiny. And it seems that the financial power he wields is more ambitious than simply turning elections.


AFL-CIO, Wary of Koch Money, Presses Tribune to Shelve Newspaper Sale
BY Leon Lazaroff | 06/28/13 - 08:32 AM EDT
The Street
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Brandon Rees, who helps oversee the AFL-CIO's pension fund investments, is trying to convince Tribune (TRBAA) to shelve any sale of its eight daily newspapers, which include The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune.


David Koch’s Chilling Effect on Public Television
By William D. Cohan Jun 9, 2013 6:00 PM ET
Bloomberg.com
In recent days, we have discovered that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups, the Justice Department went after journalists at the Associated Press and Fox News, and the National Security Agency has been aggregating records of our phone calls and online activities. Taken together, this behavior has all the hallmarks of a paranoid, totalitarian regime, regardless of whether President Barack Obama’s administration takes legal comfort by claiming cover under the overreaching Patriot Act.


"Citizen Koch" Filmmakers on Political and Media Funding
Friday, May 31, 2013
The Brian Leheer Show
A recent New Yorker piece chronicles how funding for the new film "Citizen Koch" was halted because of pressure applied on PBS from philanthropist and conservative businessman David Koch. Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, whose last film, "Trouble the Water", was nominated for an Oscar, discuss their documentary investigation into conservative efforts to dismantle organized labor in Wisconsin -- and the controversy over the Koch-tied funding withheld from their project.


How the Kochs Are Buying Silence -- Without Spending a Dime
Posted: 05/31/2013 9:52 am By Micheal B. Keegan
The Huffington Post
We already knew of the Kochs' efforts to buy Tribune Company, the parent of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other major newspapers. Then, last week, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer took a thoughtful, in-depth look at the machinations that led New York's PBS station, WNET, to pull from the air a documentary critical of David Koch, one of the station's biggest funders. The story raises plenty of questions about the extent to which the public owns public media and the role of money in the arts and culture (see anything at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater lately?). But it also provides a rare intimate look at what happens when big money begets massive influence, often without a dime changing hands.


Did Public Television Commit Self-Censorship to Appease Billionaire Funder David Koch?
Thursday, May 30, 2013 by Juan Gonzalez
Democracy Now
Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal say plans for their new documentary to air on public television have been quashed after billionaire Republican David Koch complained about the PBS broadcast of another film critical of him, "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream," by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Gibney. Lessin and Deal were in talks to broadcast their film, "Citizen Koch," on PBS until their agreement with the Independent Television Service fell through. The New Yorker reports the dropping of "Citizen Koch" may have been influenced by Koch’s response to Gibney’s film, which aired on PBS stations, including WNET in New York late last year. "Citizen Koch" tells the story of the landmark Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court that opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions from corporations. It focuses on the role of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity in backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has pushed to slash union rights while at the same time supporting tax breaks for large corporations. The controversy over Koch’s influence on PBS comes as rallies were held in 12 cities Wednesday to protest the possible sale of the Tribune newspaper chain, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, to Koch Industries, run by David Koch and his brother Charles.


‘Citizen Koch’ Filmmaker Joins Protest of Kochs’ Purchase of Tribune Co.
By Ira Teinowitz on May 29, 2013 @ 12:20 pm
The Wrap
Documentary filmmaker Tia Lessin is going on the offensive against any attempts by the Charles and David Koch to buy the Tribune Co. newspapers, weeks after some PBS stations plans to air her controversial “Citizen Koch” documentary about the Koch brothers drew controversy.


Colbert Report: "Citizen Koch"
Wednesday May 22, 2013
The Colbert Report
PBS drops a documentary called "Citizen Koch" because they feared the reaction of billionaire sponsor David Koch. 


David Koch, Freedom of the Press, and WNET Public Television
Written by Ruth McCambridge 
Created on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:48
Non-Profit Quarterly
The Public Broadcasting Systems (PBS) guidelines state that member stations are responsible for “shielding the creative and editorial processes from political pressure or improper influence from funders or other sources.” In this New Yorker article, “A Word From Our Sponsor,” Jane Mayer details the situation that arose with WNET in New York, which was faced with filmmaker Alex Gibney’s Gates-funded documentary, “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream.” The film focuses on 740 Park Avenue, the iconic home to concentrated wealth, and profiles some of its residents.


The Intersection Of Political Influence And Journalism
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 10:06 a.m.
The Diane Rehm Show
In recent years, federal funding for public broadcasting has fallen to record lows. Many broadcasters have turned to wealthy donors to fill the gap. In 2006, billionaire industrialist David Koch joined the board of WNET, New York’s PBS affiliate. Last fall, the station aired a documentary titled, “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream,” which contrasted ultra-rich residents of the Upper East Side with their Bronx counterparts. In an article for The New Yorker magazine out this week, investigative journalist Jane Mayer chronicles the fate of that movie and another documentary produced for PBS. Diane talks with Mayer about the questions her article raises about the influence of big money on public media outlets.


PBS Killed Wisconsin Uprising Documentary "Citizen Koch" To Appease Koch Brothers
Posted by Brendan Fischer on May 20, 2013
PR Watch
"Citizen Koch," a documentary about money in politics focused on the Wisconsin uprising, was shunned by PBS for fear of offending billionaire industrialist David Koch, who has given $23 million to public television, according to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker. The dispute highlights the increasing role of private money in "public" television and raises even further concerns about the Kochs potentially purchasing eight major daily newspapers.


A Word from Our Sponsor: Public television’s attempts to placate David Koch.
by Jane Mayer May 20, 2013
The New Yorker
Last fall, Alex Gibney, a documentary filmmaker who won an Academy Award in 2008 for an exposé of torture at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, completed a film called “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream.” It was scheduled to air on PBS on November 12th. The movie had been produced independently, in part with support from the Gates Foundation. “Park Avenue” is a pointed exploration of the growing economic inequality in America and a meditation on the often self-justifying mind-set of “the one per cent.” As a narrative device, Gibney focusses on one of the most expensive apartment buildings in Manhattan—740 Park Avenue—portraying it as an emblem of concentrated wealth and contrasting the lives of its inhabitants with those of poor people living at the other end of Park Avenue, in the Bronx.


2013 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in U.S. and World Competitions,
November 28, 2012
Park City, UT — Sundance Institute announced today the films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions and the out-of-competition of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, January 17-27 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute said, “Every great film starts with an idea, and it is a testament to artists that they continually find new ideas, new stories, new points of view and new ways of sharing them, year after year. We look forward to hearing from these artists not just through their words and images onscreen but also through the larger dialogue they create with audiences at our Festival and beyond.”


Wisconsin Capitol-Times: Film, Book Tell Of Wisconsin Uprising


Wisconsin Capitol-Times: Madison's 'political animals' onscreen in 'Citizen Koch'


ION Cinema: Corporations are People: Lessin and Deal Question Why


Check out the Park Record


See us in What Not to Doc


PRESS RELEASES:

7-12-2013 PRESS RELEASE "Citizen Koch Kickstarter Surpasses Goal in Just Three Days" http://www.citizenkoch.com/kspressrelease2

7-9-2013 PRESS RELEASE FOR THE NEW KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN HERE! http://www.citizenkoch.com/kickstarter_release