EXCLUSIVE: PBS is looking to crack the case on corruption, money and elected officials. PBS announced today that they have acquired the North American distribution rights to Kimberly Reed’s documentary Dark Money which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film, which won the Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award, follows a Montana-based reporter’s investigation of one of the greatest present threats to American democracy—the influence of corrupt money on our elected officials. A century ago, secret money swamped Montana’s legislature, but citizens rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision — which allows unlimited, anonymous money to pour into elections nationwide — Montana is once again fighting to preserve open and honest elections.
PBS Distribution (PBSd) is set to release the film which will also be released by a POV broadcast on PBS in the fall — just in time for the 2018 midterm elections. PBSd will handle all home entertainment, digital, educational/non-theatrical and Canadian rights.
“In this era, it is crucial that we give a platform to stories that shine a light on the impact of political forces outside the traditional corridors of power,” said Marie Nelson, Vice President of News and Independent Film for PBS. “Dark Money deftly examines the way that money in politics can affect our political process from the ground up, and we are deeply committed to getting this film seen by the widest possible audience as Americans head back to the polls this November.”
Said the filmmakers: “Poll after poll says that Americans are concerned about the impact of money in politics, regardless of which party they belong to, if they belong to a party at all. The problem is that most Americans also believe that there’s nothing that can be done. What happened in Montana is in many ways a playbook for other states to follow. We’re thrilled to be working with PBS to bring Dark Money to all Americans with the message that we can only achieve the ideal of being ‘a government for the people, by the people’ if we believe, collectively, we can.”
Reed produced Dark Money alongside Katy Chevigny. Reed also wrote the film with Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, who also edited the film. Executive Producers are Michael Bloom, Adam Pincus, Nancy Stephens and Ricky Rosenthal, and David J. Cornfield and Linda A. Cornfield. The production companies that produced it were Big Sky Film Productions, Inc, Big Mouth Productions and Meerkat Media Collective.
The deal was negotiated by Emily Rothschild, Justine Nagan, and Chris White on behalf of PBS/POV and Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.