Welcome, visitor!   Register   Login


Post an Ad
Menu Post an Ad

Film Festival 2015: The Price We Pay

    Film Festival, Food & Entertainment    March 3, 2015

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 6-8, 2015. Filmmaker Harold Crooks will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House.

_________________________________

The Price We Pay

At first glance, it seems an unusual career path. Harold Crooks went from McGill University to a fellowship at the Delhi School of Economics before making the jump to the London Film School. In Delhi he studied under the then-head of the Planning Board of India, a mentor with decidedly socialist leanings. But, says Crooks, “it dawned on me that that was not the direction the world was heading in. So I thought I would be more useful in documentary.”

That path now makes perfect sense, with his subsequent cinematic output making a strong case for filmmakers steeped in other disciplines. As a producer, writer and director – including co-writing the narration in The Corporation and co-directing Surviving Progress, his expertise on global economics has more than proven “useful,” for Crooks aims to make documentaries “concerned with how powerful institutions impact ordinary lives.”

His new film, The Price We Pay, does just that by assembling a masterful group of former insiders to strip away the mystery and reveal the high finance tricks of global tax evasion in a clear, and infuriating, context. This populist approach to the dire topic aims to hit a nerve, as it did recently in France with unprecedented success for a documentary – showing on 40 screens in the commercial multiplexes. It won’t open in Canada until March 13th but lucky viewers can catch it early at the Salt Spring Film Festival.

“Critics appreciate the way it seems to leave audiences enraged,” says Crooks, including many who didn’t even expect to be engaged. “I think they’re quite shocked to grasp it.” Inspired by the book La Crise fiscale qui vient, by the film’s co-writer Brigitte Alepin, the film adds stirring visual metaphors to expose how “offshore” finance and the “cloud” economy are quite frankly a threat to the modern democratic state. Crooks even uses hurricane footage from the banking haven of the Cayman Islands to put an exclamation point on the fact that with it’s virtual economy, “there’s actually nothing there. It had zero effect.” His bottom line for this crash course in legalized tax inequality? “The ambition from the beginning was that it be a cinematic vision.”

That vision, while fascinating, is also bleak. Crooks clearly marks out the polarized worlds of the haves and have-nots, the impending death of the middle-class and welfare state, and the birth of a new corporate nobility over the ruins of the broken social contract. While people lose jobs to a winner-take-all digital economy led by internet commerce, national tax burdens shift onto their shoulders to compensate for the trillions in corporate profits safe in offshore tax havens. It is a recipe for disaster.

“When I began the film the idea wasn’t on the front pages and now it is,” Crooks says, offering hope for radical reform. “Even inequality wasn’t. But people are focusing now like never before.” He points out efforts for a “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions and says consciousness is growing partly due to people like Thomas Piketty, who appears in the film to push the idea that countries must join together to battle corporate dominance. “He’s sold a million and a half books about it,” Crooks says, responding to why the difference between “the spirit” and “the letter” of the law doesn’t seem to be taught in our elite business schools. “He’s shaken the foundations of orthodox teaching, showing how the system is rigged and that the status quo cannot hold our prosperity.”

Crooks invokes the old saying that “those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know.” Yet to reach the larger public, The Price We Pay finds substantial insiders who do talk. Even cynics can’t help but appreciate the raising consciousness of tax inequality and its consequences. To that end, Harold Crooks will appear in person with his film, along with friend Mark Achbar (The Corporation), at this year’s Festival to continue the conversation. After all, it is all of our business.

 

Comments May Not Be Seen by the Author

No Tags

  

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Post an Event

Community News

  • Watch: ‘Slimy’ GISS Students Win at Cana...

    by on April 17, 2019

    From its humble beginning as an educational adventure into a new style of theatre learning, The Canadian Improv Games got its start in Ottawa in 1977. Today, CIG is home to one of the largest and most geographically dispersed theatre festivals in Canada with 14 regional programs and over 100,000 alumni participants. Each year students […]

  • Changes in Ruckle Provincial Park Active...

    by on April 17, 2019

    Ruckle Park Active Farm has been in transition since 2018 June when dear Helen Ruckle died – last signatory on a life tenancy agreement between BC Parks and the Ruckle family that allowed them to live in the homes and continue to manage and operate the family farm. The loss is immeasurable, in so many […]

  • Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 201...

    by on April 17, 2019

    Response Report: Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 49 calls for assistance in March.  From January to March 2019, SSIFR has responded to 72 Fire Incidents, 71 Medical Incidents, 13 Rescues, and 10 calls for Assistance (Total 166 Calls) Operations This month firefighters attended our first of the year brush fires.  Two fast moving brush […]

  • Photos: BC Forest March Action

    by on April 10, 2019

    On Saturday April 6, 2019 Salt Spring joined 18 communities across BC taking action in support of better protection for our local and provincial forests. About 150 Island residents participated, first gathering at the Library and then marching through Ganges. Joe Akerman opened the event and spoke about the long tradition of stewardship by Coast […]

  • From Space Junk to TED Talks: Forum

    by on April 8, 2019

    Moriba Jah grew up in Venezuela and then joined the US Air Force, where he was tasked with guarding nuclear missiles in Montana. Inspired by conversations with the engineers and technicians maintaining the missiles, he began to study – a path that took him to a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Jah then worked at […]

  • New Fire Hall – To Be Or Not To Be?

    by on April 8, 2019

    Salt Spring property owners have had the opportunity to review and vote upon a number of proposals for a replacement of the Ganges Fire Hall. All have been defeated but it’s time to look a little more closely at the reasons for the proposals and the reasons for the defeat. The Ganges Fire Hall has […]

  • Fire Board Election Monday April 29, 201...

    by on April 7, 2019

    Is there a risk that foreign powers will try to influence our 2019 Fire Board Trustee election? The good news is: Absolutely not. Nobody outside of Salt Spring Island really cares how we structure and manage our fire service. But this also shows how uniquely isolated we are as an island. While the Crofton Fire […]

  • Video and Photos: New Centennial Park / ...

    by on April 7, 2019

    The new washroom at Centennial Park has been completed ahead of schedule and is now open. The washroom has a number of features making it unique to other cinderblock washrooms that the community may appreciate. There are four sinks located on the back of the washroom for vendor use and the porta potties have been […]

  • Andreas Gedeon – 2019 Fire Board E...

    by on April 7, 2019

    My wife Annebeeke and I have been calling Salt Spring our home since 2007. Our two children Emily and Wynn were born here, and we plan on continuing to raise them in this truly special part of our planet. Born in 1975 in West Germany, I grew up during the Cold War. Our emergency services […]

Pin It on Pinterest