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'Citizen Koch' filmmakers, shunned by PBS, go to crowd-funding

Published July 10, 2013 10:12 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The filmmakers behind "Citizen Koch" are asking the people to do what they say their former PBS backers were afraid to do.

Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal have launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise $75,000 in 30 days so they can finish their documentary (which debuted in unfinished form at this year's Sundance Film Festival).

The movie explores corporate influence on American politics, using the 2010 Wisconsin elections – and the free spending of the right-wing industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch to install Republican Scott Walker as governor.

But the Koch brothers' influence on major PBS stations, Lessin and Deal told The New Yorker's Jane Mayer in May, led to Independent Television Service to back out of a $150,000 promise to fund the film. (The Cricket wrote about this in his column last May.)

"Just as powerful campaign spenders expect something in return from the politicians they support, so, too, do public television's high-dollar donors," Lessin said in a statement. "It's ironic that our film about the undue influence of money in politics was subject to undue influence of money in public broadcasting."