Published September 09, 2012
The Occupy Wall Street movement’s dark underbelly is on full display in an explosive new documentary set for release later this month.
"Occupy Unmasked," produced by the non-profit group Citizens United and the late Andrew Breitbart, in one of his last projects before his death last March, examines the movement and its possible links to organized labor and leftist groups. Its premiere in theaters on Sept. 21 follows the release of the documentary "2016: Obama's America," providing more cinematic fodder for the president’s critics ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
FoxNews.com was given an advanced screening of the 70-plus minute film in which Breitbart presents the case against the Occupy Movement, suggesting it was not a spontaneous event that sprouted up in downtown Manhattan, but a methodically planned uprising carefully organized by unions, left-wing activists and even members of the mainstream media.
“Whenever we screened this, the people’s reaction was the same. They had no idea what was behind this movement,” said Stephen Bannon, Director of 'Occupy Unmasked'. “This was not done spontaneously. This was community organized,” Breitbart intones as the film opens; citing emails he said show the powerful Service Employees International Union played a big role in the effort.
Bannon told FoxNews.com Breitbart instinctively grasped that strings were being pulled as the movement began nearly a year ago, even as it was portrayed as an organic rebellion of disaffected young people angry at a system they believed was rigged against them.
“Andrew was on this from the beginning. He got it immediately,” Bannon said. “I didn’t buy it at first, but he saw where it was going in advance and predicted everything that happened. I made the film, but this was Andrew’s vision.”
A spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street declined to comment on the film or the charges made in it.
The film argues that the goal of Occupy Wall Street, which spread to dozens of cities around the country, with people camping in public places and demanding "economic justice," was to overthrow the current political system. Breitbart attempts to implicate President Obama as helping to foment the rage and alienation that others fashioned into a full-blown political force. While the film's attempt to link the movement to the Obama administration is inconclusive, the president did praise Occupy Wall Street during its early days.
“The protesters are giving voice to a more, broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” Obama said last fall.
Viewers who became familiar with the movement as its bedraggled members stubbornly commandeered public squares and occasionally clashed with police have been surprised to learn of the planning and purpose behind it, said Bannon.
“Whenever we screened this, the people’s reaction was the same. They had no idea what was behind this movement,” Bannon said. “Even Mark Cuban was shocked when he saw the film.”
Cuban, the software billionaire and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, was apparently so impressed with the documentary that he signed on to handle distribution rights through Magnet, a division of his studio Magnolia Pictures. It's a departure for Cuban, who has attended Obama fundraisers and whose studio has released liberal-friendly documentaries like as “Redacted” and “Casino Jack and the United States of Money.”
“This film is controversial, and that’s exactly the reason we want to ensure it can find its audience prior to the November elections,” Cuban said in a statement earlier this month. “I look forward to our partnership with Citizens United Productions and to getting this film out to the masses.”
Dana Vladimir, a spokesperson for Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures said to FoxNews.com, “We are going to give this film the same effort we do for all our releases,” adding that the limited release could be expanded to more cities if there is a strong interest.
Jeff Marschner, a spokesperson for Citizens United which produced the film added, “by Magnet Releasing, they are focused by choice most heavily on VOD [Video On Demand] in order to reach the greatest number of people. VOD is much better from a reach and financial perspective.”
Bannon reiterates what Breitbart felt about the Occupy Movement being an attempt by the far left to the counter the Tea Party movement.
“They tried, but this was a failed attempt at a centrist-left movement,” Bannon said. “If the left had succeeded it would have been good. They wanted it to happen, but it didn’t.”
The Occupy movement was marred by violence and civil unrest as time went on, as protests popped up in major cities across the U.S. and even Europe, which Bannon says led to a lot of “middle-class” supporters abandoning an active role in the movement.
“It’s an inherently violent movement. It turned people off,” Bannon said, adding that Occupy is still in its infancy and could still influence the political landscape.
“The Occupy movement is far from over. We are approaching a European-type financial crisis. we are coming to a radical austerity and then you are going to see it taken to the streets and it’s not going to be pretty.”
Occupy Unmasked will be in a limited release on Sept. 21 in Denver, Dallas, Orange County California, and Phoenix.