Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff created the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 for what many believe was a response to the attack on 9-11. The film festival calls lower Manhattan it’s home. The Festival’s bread and butter are documentaries and shorts. The attendees are a star-studded list of who’s who in Hollywood. It is a $600 million a year business which is said to pull in roughly 3 million attendees.
The Film Festival is often denoted on the trailers of movies soon to be released as an indicator of the film’s perceived value. Tribeca, in other words, carries a significant amount of value to filmmakers who make it past the festival regarding continuance. However, this year has been a different experience for the film festival’s usually unblemished proceedings. The artsy venture is suffering from the results of making a difficult social choice and allowing a new movie, Andrew Wakefield’s Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Conspiracy, to premiere at its festival.
This, my friends, is a huge deal. An anti-vaccination movie being promoted by one of the largest, most glamorous film festivals in the world is not a small deal. Wakefield’s film accuses the CDC of covering up essential damaging information regarding vaccines. It is said to feature famous pediatricians as experts (here).
“The most vitriolic debate in medical history takes a dramatic turn when senior-scientist-turned-whistleblower Dr. William Thompson of the Centers for Disease Control turns over secret documents, data and internal emails confirming what millions of devastated parents and ‘discredited’ doctors have long-suspected.”
Tribeca defends it’s stance
Tribeca was interrogated by the LA Times over the matter. And why shouldn’t they have been? The media, the Times included, all too often is a mouthpiece for Government agenda and high-paying pharmaceutical advertisers. The fact is, the CDC did cover up an event. That’s just fact: “This is not theory.” That’s right; it isn’t a theory, so why treat it as fraud?
“Tribeca, as most film festivals, are about dialogue and discussion,” a Tribeca spokesman told Zeitchik. “Over the years we have presented many films from opposing sides of an issue. We are a forum, not a judge,” a Tribeca spokesperson told the LA Times after interrogation over the matter.
Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s “Blackfish, was allowed media space at Tribeca. The film depicted the harsh conditions inside of which Orca whales are imprisoned. The film took flack from large supporters of the Goliath Seaworld, but Tribeca didn’t back down. And they aren’t backing down now, which is the right move. Tribeca is a presentation of art, not a judge and jury of socio-political issues. That distinction is important if we want to live in a free society as opposed to the confines of government approved communications. We are heading exactly for the latter.
People are saying “lives are at stake” over this film. I tend to agree. The CDC did cover up activity; that’s the fact. And that endangers us all. That’s too much power. We are fortunate enough to live in a society that allows art to regulate and check the mighty powers; we should embrace that, not attempt to knock it down. Wakefield’s film is important, even if you don’t agree with it. And Tribeca’s allowance of the film is even more extraordinary. Our freedom is at stake here. Yesterday, the LA Times wrote a scathing article over the Tribeca’s acceptance of the film. I ask you, how is choosing sides, particularly the side of censorship, the proper place for a major media outlet? It is only the place of the media outlet that’s incentivized financially to do so. Pharmaceutical ad revenue provides a final last stand for profit in a dying model. Desperation has set in. It is important to recognize that despair before it accidentally tricks you into thinking it is legitimate journalism. Remember; the LA Times wouldn’t even exist in a world of censorship.