A panel of conservative filmmakers moderated by Larry Greenfield and featuring Lisa Shreve, Gloria Greenfield, and Michael Pack delivered a fascinating presentation at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2021 Restoration Weekend, held from Nov. 11th-14th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
The speakers addressed the need for conservatives to push back against the tide of leftist tyranny and censorship in the entertainment field.
Don’t miss this important presentation in the video below. A transcript follows.
Larry Greenfield: Arts and media, the tyranny of the left. Anyone who has spent time on college campuses, not to mention a K-through-12 public school or private school these days, or in Hollywood or Broadway, or at any elite or blue community, knows all about the tyranny of the left. Our First Amendment asserts that democracy requires the exchange of ideas, and favors the speaker for the widest range of political opinions and thought. The left’s assault on all things constitutional includes its attempt to change America into Europe where the law seeks to the listener from being offended.
Are you with me? Our founders knew it would be robust and difficult to be an American citizen, and you would be confronted with ideas with which you did not agree. That’s part of being an American, but Europe wants to coddle and protect the listeners’ feelings. That’s not the American way. This leftist strategy uses social pressure, bullying, doxing, censorship, and cancel culture to enforce group-think and avoid democratic debate.
Lisa Shreve is an experienced TV producer and award-winning film editor, including her recent big documentary Miracle on 42nd Street about the Manhattan Plaza, the socialist paradise in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. She was a producer and editor of the important documentary Clarence Thomas, in His Own Words. We wanted to hear her story of being conservative in New York City media circles.
Gloria Greenfield is a prominent writer, producer and director of many documentaries, including The Fight of Our Lives: Defeating the Ideological War Against the West. She will be speaking to us on resisting the censorship regime, a clarion call.
Finally, it is a privilege for me to also introduce Michael Pack, who has a storied career in media and politics, and has served as president of the Claremont Institute. He variously worked and held increasingly important leadership positions at the U.S. Information Agency, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Council on the Humanities, and upon appointment by President Trump, the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Through his video production company, he has produced some of the most successful and wonderful documentaries, including on Rodney King, Newt Gingrich, the Iraq War, U.S. camper-culture wars, U.S. nuclear power, Hollywood, God and the Inner City, Clarence Thomas, and my personal favorites, Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton and Rediscovering George Washington.
We begin with Lisa. Thank you.
Lisa Shreve: Hi, everybody. So great to see so many of you hanging in here. Can you hear me? Okay, great. Such an enthusiastic, fantastic crowd this weekend, I’m really inspired. I’m a filmmaker and a Conservative of the liberal who’s-been-mugged type, but I’ve always worked behind the scenes on films. And I’ve not been a public political speaker ever before right now. Yes, the time has come.
While preparing to speak here, I spoke with my friend and colleague Faith Jones, who edited — she was the editor who created Clarence Thomas in His Own Words, and I was associate producer and consulting editor. Between us, she and I have about 70 years — I can’t believe that — of documentary experience in the liberal media. And we are the only two Conservatives either of us has ever encountered in our careers, some moderates, some people who were not communist. But I seriously don’t remember another one who is as Conservative as she and I are.
We talked about our experiences and I sort of interviewed her. It seemed a little embarrassing and whiny. We had our problems, but it seemed whiny to put our problems that we’ve had in our careers in the same category with Andy [Ngo] or Michael Pack, or any number of other people. But for what it’s worth, I’m recounting the view from my years as a Conservative working under the radar, undercover in the trenches of the liberal media.
I’ve not been canceled, but I’ve witnessed our civilization and our culture being very effectively canceled day-by-day, bit-by-bit, by the media leftist totalitarians. We’re calling them the tyranny of the left, yes. I started working at the news magazine show, ABC News 2020 in 1980 as an assistant film editor. And within a couple of years, I was an editor there. It was a new show then, a very creative group of people and they taught me everything about filmmaking. And I really like some of them, but very quickly, my eyes were opened to how complete the liberal tyranny was at ABC News, and everywhere else in the film business, as it turned out later.
I was raised in a liberal Democrat family and I was a liberal by default. When I was at NYU Film School, I moved into a loft on the Bowery with Mallory Danaher, who is now David’s longest-serving board member. And we were in the middle of the wild ’70s New York Lower East Side art scene, surrounded by the farthest-left people on earth. Nothing will turn you right faster than that. Mallory and I had some very bad experiences with such groups as the Black Panthers, the Living Theater who crashed in our loft and regularly cleaned out the fridge while talking disdainfully about people who care about money.
Mallory had a little girl and we were both waitressing to make ends meet, and she was acting and I was doing a little freelancing and this and that. But none of these entitled socialists ever contributed a penny for food. We knew the Warhol crowd, we knew drag queens, junkies and other outlaws. We also made a movie with Mallory’s sister, the feminist author, Kate Millett, and an all-women film crew. Working with these radical feminists was anything but an experience in sisterhood; it was more like hell on earth. Every experience with these various radicals was nightmarish.
We frequently witnessed violence among these people of one sort or another. And in the case of the adventure with the Black Panthers, I was actually assaulted for the only — first and only time in my life. And as guests in my parents’ home, they attempted to rob it; that’s a movie in itself. Mallory and I were living in the rotten reality that Marxist thinking brings about on earth.
So after a few years of serving hard time among the farthest-left of the left, we were both ripe for a major change in direction. And I thought I had entered a sane environment at last, working at a real uptown job with journalists on a prominent national show. I was very excited, but I quickly found out that at ABC News, people had really bad reactions to any questioning of the liberal narrative. I have one memory of a very respected news producer, who sort of lunged at me aggressively at a cocktail party because I said something like very mild like “Don’t you think maybe parents have a right to know if their 13-year-old daughter is having an abortion?” He went nuts.
These people were cleaner and dressed better than the Panthers and these downtown crowd. But in essence, it was the same nasty crew and soon, I was telling anyone who would listen, that the people who produce all the news are some of the most corrupt on earth and they’re all Marxists. I later went freelance and I found out it was exactly the same in all networks, all cable channels, all production companies. All were on the far left. And realizing that all the news and political information the innocent American public was getting was filtered through this leftist worldview. It really awakened me. Talk about woke; I woke up and turned to the right from working at ABC News.
I quickly learned to be [subverse] as I made a career of being a stealth Conservative. I usually made practical, non-ideological excuses for — in the editing room — for changing or getting rid of sequences in a show without revealing my stance. In the same way, I often got things include that added a dimension other than the liberal view. And these were really small victories, but I rather enjoyed the undercover aspect of it, it was kind of fun. I actually started to keep a media bias notebook where I wrote down some of the editing room incidents that stood out in my mind and I knew one day there would be a purpose for this thing, and here I am.
I didn’t start writing it down till the ’90s; I probably have more memories if I think about it. But the first one, I found a story I wanted to produce for 20/20 on death education in public schools, death education in public schools. Teachers were teaching kids of all ages about death, dying, burial, etc., in a new-agey kind of way. These classes often included getting the kids to write their own obituaries, visiting graveyards and funeral homes, watching a body being embalmed, stuff these public school teachers had no business taking on and no skills or training to deal with the effects of.
I found and filmed a woman, who as a high school girl, had tried to kill herself after a teacher in a death education class told her “When you die, you get to have all the knowledge that God has.” Well, she was 16 years old, she loved learning. She had a painful family situation. So suicide seemed like a really good plan at the time. Fortunately, a family member caught on and she was stopped.
But the leadership of 20/20 and the others working on this story were very gung-ho about it, and they agreed that this stuff taught in the schools was damaging and wrong, until they found out that this woman we interviewed was an evangelical Christian, and that many people who were opposed to death education were evangelicals. All of a sudden, the support for my story disappeared. The people working for me kind of stopped doing much, and it barely got finished and it made air in a truncated form.
On another job on a film for Easter Seals, the producer interviewed an old Virginia miner who had lost his legs in a mining accident many years earlier. He constantly talked about his Christian faith being the reason for his happy life, despite losing his legs at a young age. The other filmmakers on Easter Seals, the client wanted all of that out. This man’s entire remarkable life was all about his faith in Christ, but any mention of Christianity was suppressed in a film for Easter Seals. I told them that if I were this man, I would sue them for misrepresentation. It was unbelievable.
The same story with another film for the Peter Drucker Foundation about a volunteer church group in St. Louis who bought and renovated houses for homeless people. The producers stated they did not want any scenes in church, or anyone talking about religion in this film about a church group that won the Peter Drucker award. So I could go on and on with these stories, and colleagues’ raucous laughter in my editing room when anyone in a news story talked about God or prayer. It was hysterically funny.
One of my notes quotes a documentary producer as saying that, quote, “Talking about faith in specifically Christian ways constitutes proselytizing or being oppressive. And this was regarding a battered — a show about a battered women’s shelter for Discovery Channel, where the women were mostly Dominican Catholics and talked — prayed a lot and talked about their faith. Not allowed. So that’s all about suppression of Christianity.
The other major theme in my notes is the suppression of femininity and also masculinity by default. I did a lot of work for Linda Ellerbee’s production company, if you remember her, a wonderful journalist in some ways, but she just had her bias. I worked on a film for Lifetime Cable about the lives of working mothers. And the daughter of one of the mothers in the film said she grew up wanting her mother home, spending time with her, and that her mother was never there for her. We were told to take it out. And Linda also made us take out a woman who did not want to work and only wanted to be home with her kids. Not allowed to say that.
Ellerbee’s company did biographies of women for Lifetime called Intimate Portraits. I edited a profile of Eileen Ford, the Ford Modeling Agency. The first cut we did ended with Eileen saying that the most important thing in her life was her family, that she created the Ford models’ empire for them, and that without family, it all means nothing. And Linda said “She’s full of BS, she loved her career.” And we had to dig through her interview and find little bits and put together stuff to add on where Eileen said, “I love my career. I had fun working,” that kind of stuff. So Linda took it upon herself to disbelieve and suppress Eileen Ford’s word about her own life.
She did it with a few of these other profiles. Too many of these women said their families were number one with them, and it just wasn’t allowed. She called these women liars for stating how they see their own lives. I have a friend who produced animated children’s shows and worked for PBS Children’s Television Workshop, the maker of Sesame Street. My friend told me about big fights to have the animated girl characters wear a dress. She managed to get a pink hair bow through on one girl, but no dresses were allowed. The Cartoon Network said they didn’t want stereotyped girls, meaning no feminine girls.
Until I was preparing — am I doing okay on time?
Larry Greenfield: (Inaudible).
Lisa Shreve: Okay. Until I was preparing to speak on this panel and looked over my old media bias notebook, which I hadn’t seen in years, I didn’t realize that all these cases I noted involved the suppression of religion and/or the nuclear family, the two pillars of Western civilization. Each of these stories seemed small, but over time, the cumulate drip-drip effect is gargantuan, and the harm has been incalculable. It’s another woke moment for me to look back at these stories and remember that this is intentional evil for Marxists tearing down the beautiful culture we’ve built up over centuries is the prerequisite to building their so-called utopia.
And my examples are from the past, but the pace has picked up drastically, I don’t have to tell this group. And you can see the ruin around us. Then and now, in both entertainment and news, the American media’s main purpose is to sabotage and cancel Western civilization. And I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job, a spectacular job. So I wanted to bring this up-to-date to the present and talk about Clarence Thomas, Created Equal.
So I’m out of time. So I’ll let Michael Pack do that, and maybe I’ll add in to the Q&A.
Larry Greenfield: Thank you, perfect.
Lisa Shreve: Thank you. Thanks so much.
Larry Greenfield: Perfect.
Gloria Greenfield: I am a proud out Conservative and when somebody says they’re going to try to cancel me, I say “Bring it on.” The production and distribution of the documentary can be conceptualized as an intervention into a policy process. The documentary works within related-issue networks by being linked to activists and policymakers at all levels. The deeper and broader the linkages, the greater opportunity for political impact, that networks can use a documentary to mobilize their own and other groups, to mobilize the individual citizens and ultimately, to change policy.
And here’s an example. My current documentary film project, Civilization in the Danger Zone, will feature senior leadership from Hillsdale College, the National Association of Scholars, the (indiscernible) Fund, the Center of the American Experiment, the Alexander Hamilton Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Kohelet Policy Forum, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Middle East Forum, along with senior fellows from the Manhattan Institute, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Heritage Foundation, the Claremont Institute, the Gatestone Institute, and the Hoover Institution. That’s how we can conservatives make documentary films.
Now, we Conservative documentary filmmakers do have some challenges that we’re facing, but they are not challenges that we can’t overcome. The primary challenge that we’re facing right now is that it relates to censorship. I want to go back to like late 2013, when internal optical drives in MacBook Pros no longer included — were no longer included. By 2020, it became very difficult to find any personal computers with in internal optical drives. Now, we weren’t paying a lot of attention to that because, hey, high tech is great, and we had streaming and streaming started to really explode. In 2016, Amazon launched its Amazon Prime Direct. And it was really the savior for independent documentary filmmakers, actually for all independent filmmakers.
But let’s jump up to where we are today. Today, all of us are facing censorship by the big tech, Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta, which we more commonly refer to as Facebook. This past February, Amazon announced that it will stop accepting documentaries and short films. It has also been dropping long-running documentary titles from their service, with stakeholders receiving no warnings or context for the decision. Now, as of today, Doc Emet Productions’ documentaries, Dinesh D’Souza’s documentaries, as well as No Safe Spaces and Never Again Is Now, were all still on Amazon Video, Prime Video, but they’ve taken it off of free for Prime members.
Now, we can continue to sit and tremble, and pray that our films will stay on Amazon Prime as well as on Google Play and YouTube movies and voodoo, etc., or we can understand that when we have conversations about the importance of building our own institutions, of building institutions to replace the decadent universities, that we need to build some institutions that support the marketplace of ideas. And that’s what my call is; my call is that we need to stay focused on what our goals are. And while we stay focused on what our goals are, we have to modify our strategies accordingly.
We need to build and support independent institutions that protect those marketplace of ideas, including streaming platforms and film festivals and more and more media. And Conservative filmmakers need to find ways to collaborate.
And I would like to conclude my remarks by expressing my deepest appreciation to the Freedom Center and in particular, to Michael Finch and David Horowitz for being incredible role models on what true leadership looks like. Thank you.
Larry Greenfield: Thank you. Perfect.
Michael Pack: Well, I guess I’m technically the last speaker, right? So that’s a big honor. So I too want to express my thanks to David and Michael and Larry for putting this event together. It’s sort of an honor to be the last speaker, but I don’t know if I can live up to all the speakers that have gone before, but it was an inspiring weekend for me and I’m sure for all of you.
I concur with my previous speakers and I want to sort of give that a little bit more depth. I too am in the documentary world, and I think I want to speak about what I call the storytelling media. That would be documentaries and small feature films, historical political films. And as we all know, the left completely controls that space. They’re telling all the stories about America. They tell the stories about the revolution; they tell the stories about the Cold War, recent history, Covid. And this is a dangerous place to be.
Shelly said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” — by poets, meaning storytellers, and that was true then, it’s true now. We all know Andrew Breitbart also put the same idea saying that “Politics is downstream from culture,” and that is quite true. We cannot simply seed the culture.
But so I think I’d like to look back and see how we got to where we were. I agree we need to build institutions, but let’s see why we are where we are. We all know that the left is engaged in a long march for the institutions starting in the 1960s. They’ve started with the university, but they included Hollywood, the media, the news, culture, the permanent bureaucracy, high tech now. And it’s been a remarkably successful march.
But they were serious about it for all this time, this last 50 years, and we have not been serious. They have spent their time, energy and money working on this. So I estimate that over these years, they spent something like tens of billions on the media I just talked about. If you include Soros Foundations and all their ancillary groups, if you include Ford and Rockefeller, MacArthur, the federal — leverage money from the federal government through PBS, it’s tens of billions a year.
PBS on public broadcasting alone — where, as Larry pointed out, I worked — is a $2.5 billion a year business, 2.5 billion, and that’s just public broadcasting. So they’ve been pouring tens of billions into this. We generously, I’d say, spend tens of millions, maybe. So that’s a gap 3 orders of magnitude, a gap of billions and billions over decades, over decades. We cannot be surprised at the situation that we’re in.
So they have, over that time, not only produced huge amounts of films and television, but they have built all the institutions that support them, some of which Gloria mentioned.
They have built up distribution companies and publicity companies and funding entities and bigger production companies that can fund smaller production companies and talent agencies and publicity firms focused on film. And the list goes — and marketing and publicity and educational outreach, and a whole sort of panoply of supporting organizations, including — Gloria mentioned this too and I think it’s quite significant — film schools all across the country.
There are like 4,000 universities. Everyone has a film school and they are really pumping out tens of thousands a year of left-leaning inspired young people who want to make films. And maybe 1% or 2% of them have talent, but that’s a sorting process. We have no sorting process. In my entire life, I have never met a single Conservative documentary film professor or film professor of any sort, not one.
And so the situation is worse than it is in literature departments and history departments and political science or law. There’s not really one. Where I live in Washington, D.C., the closest university, American University, has an environmental film department, which only produces films with a certain attitude about environmental issues and the same thing with their social media department. They’re all woke films about social problems.
So, you know what? So it has left a situation now where this is where we are. And this is where I think I will differ from some of the earlier speakers. Look, I myself think we are at a turning point and I’m very encouraged by what happened in Virginia. And I agree that if everyone makes these efforts that we’re called to want to make, that we will make huge progress in 2022 and perhaps take the White House again, let’s hope, in 2024. So I hope for that, I believe in that.
But that will not fix these other institutions that are not susceptible for — of political change. That will not fix the university; that will not fix the news media; and that will not fix our media. So we — in my time of watching this, I’ve seen the Conservatives always think the next election will fix these cultural problems and it never does, and it won’t this time either.
I served under Donald Trump, as Larry Greenfield mentioned, and there was — we all made a huge effort to create change and it was very hard. And I’m encouraged that next time, we will all continue that process and do better, but we could not — I could not even fix the Voice of America, which I was in charge of, and that’s a government agency. You cannot fix the culture through this political process.
So we have to mirror what they have done on the left and this is a constant theme of David Horowitz in the Center. I first met David and Peter Collier at the Second Thoughts conference in the mid-’80s in New York, a turning point in my life and a great event. But even then in the ’80s, there were a lot of speakers talking about these cultural problems, that was the ’80s, and very eloquently and virtually in these same terms.
But we have to face that we have actually failed to make those changes that are called to — that we’ve been called — that were called for then. It’s hard to do, and so now in the world of documentaries, there’s a renaissance of documentary filmmaking now. There’s more documentaries and non-fiction television on the air on cable, on streaming, than ever before, from Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Hulu. They all have documentaries and series from true crime to politics, to whatever. All of them universally are on the left.
So we have to rise up and create — I think Gloria is right — alternative institutions, and we have to start making films and television. I have found at these conferences that people are very good — and I now am falling into this myself — about complaining about the culture and analyzing why it’s bad. But they are reluctant to actually make films and television. On the left, they’re not so reluctant; they love the media. I will give them that, and they love the arts, and they encourage them and make them. So we simply have not done that and there is really a dearth of Conservative filmmakers. Other than those of us on this panel, there are not that many others, there are so few.
Just to give you an example of how bad that is, when I was at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and I was giving out grants, and part of my mission was to give grants to Conservative filmmakers. I gave Peter Collier, who we all know is long — sadly now deceased, but is a vital part of the Center and a partner of David’s. I gave Peter Collier a grant to do a film on anti-Semitism on college campuses. This was about 10 years ago, the subject of the last panel. And he had total power over that grant, he and a partner. They selected a filmmaker to work with that lived in San Francisco and they ended up making a film about Islamophobia on college campuses.
And Peter ended up taking his name off that film but I — and I hate to (indiscernible) this up, I love Peter, but it all went wrong. They couldn’t find somebody to make that film. There was just a dearth, and we simply can’t let that go on. So I am pleased that my wife Gina and I, we have a film company, Manifold Productions. And as Lisa and I and Gina all worked on the Clarence Thomas film and many other great films, and we have now some funds to expand our production company, and that’s great, and to help train the next generation of Conservative filmmakers, which I think is really important.
We have to find young people who want to do this work that can be trained in the discipline that Lisa, Gloria and I and Gina have. And so I call upon you to help in that process, as you’ve helped in others. We are looking for people, we need to train them, a lot of them are not well trained. And a lot of so-called Conservative videos and documentaries are not good. When I was at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, funding these things, PBS would say, “Well, maybe you can fund them, but unless they’re the standard, our quality level, we won’t put them on the air.” And they were right, absolutely right. And so many Conservative films, made even by friends of mine, do not meet their quality level, are not even as good as Frontline, let alone Academy or Oscar-winning documentaries. We need to up our game in every possible way.
And I also think we need to make films and television that reach the middle. We have always tried to do that. Our films are on PBS; we try to reach liberals as well as conservatives. I think it’s useful to make films that inspire the base. That’s perfectly fine, but we need to reach the middle, the people who are not getting the truth about American history, about recent history, about what the founding of the country is on.
We need to try to reach the middle and that’s why the situation is dangerous right now. Amazon and Netflix, they’re not just preaching to their base, they are reaching the middle. We need distribution companies and films that can reach the middle, the base too, but the middle. When we have done that, I think it can be done. I think it’ll take — I don’t think it’ll be fast. We have to believe that we can put in the effort and engage in our own long march and invest the time, energy and money. And it takes a lot of money to sort of — to compete with these things. It is not a simple thing to compete with Netflix.
So I think it’s wrong to underestimate the difficulties, but I actually think it can be done. And so in this sense, I do want to echo what everybody says. We are engaged in a fight. The culture, the creational culture of media is part of that. I think we need to begin now. We need to up our game and we need to be really serious about this kind of work, as the left is. Thank you.
Larry Greenfield: Thank you. I imagine you must take some joy in seeing the losses on DirectTV and all of the cable companies that are putting out dreck that nobody wants to watch, that they promote the hell out of, but nobody watches. If you go to Rotten Tomatoes, you see a really interesting situation where the user or the people who are watching it give 70, 80, 90 point results. And the critics, who are all leftist, give it zero, like Dinesh and others.
But it’d be interesting to hear your comment just on the understanding that they’re putting out dreck, crap, nobody wants to watch. The media is suffering losses, and yet they keep doing it, and they seem to be getting further and further away from making money. So it’s a very strange paradigm.
Male Speaker: It’s an Interesting question. Michael Medved spoke long ago, Hollywood versus America, tried to explore that there is a big market in the United States for entertainment and information from the middle, from the mainstream, from the traditional America, or even just interested in hearing a variety of points of view. Everybody has to be Conservative to listen to Conservative ideas. Do you guys agree that there is a market and a demand that isn’t being served?
Gloria Greenfield: I think that there’s a huge market; there’s a huge market internationally. I have to say my last film — all of my films are on many of the digital platforms. My last film was placed in 68 English-speaking territories around the world, just by Amazon. And it’s viewership just continues to grow and that’s because there’s a demand for it. If there’s a demand for high production value, truth of documentaries that don’t — aren’t dumbed down, that are really —
I feel like when Doc Emet Productions makes our documentaries, it’s like taking a university, a great university, putting it on film and sending it out there, so that people can really get the context to understand what the hell is going on in the world today.
Male Speaker: Christian film, you see their growth and how well they’re doing. They’re doing gangbuster business and some of their —
Male Speaker: Yes, do you watch Christian filmmaking? Do you watch Christian movies, Christian-based theme movies? Sam Sorbo was going to be with us, she and Kevin; she couldn’t make it because she’s filming. Maybe she’ll be with us at the next weekend. These are beautiful filmmakers and lovely people. And so out of Hollywood and Nashville have arisen religious-themed and America-themed, good comment.
Male Speaker: I want to comment on that just — so my name is not on the program, that’s true. I’m sort of a stealth speaker, I guess. I agree that there’s an audience. We, too, for our Clarence Thomas film, got that same thing on Rotten Tomatoes where we got something like 90% negative by the critics, and 95% positive by the people. So there is unquestionably an audience. At least half the country obviously voted for Trump and it’s not just them. I think in the middle of the country, I think there are a lot of people that want to hear positive stories about this country that are patriotic.
So there is a huge audience, but I think it’s wrong to underestimate the success of the other side. I do not think they’re losing, I think we are losing. They are putting out all the films, so they can have plenty of films that don’t make money. And anyway, the Hollywood is buoyed by the huge blockbusters, the huge action films, Marvel films, that they’re selling to China. And that is where their money comes. They can afford to make — and they’ve always had this attitude that they can afford to make a film that loses money on say the Chicago 7 or 8, whatever it was. What do they care because other monies are streaming in. And it’s not as if Amazon, Netflix, Disney, Hulu are hurting.
So I believe there’s an audience and all that proves that there’s an audience, but it isn’t the — it’s wrong to think that we’re winning or even close to winning. It’s just that they have put this huge effort into it for 60 years. It cannot be turned around and 1 or 2 films will not do it either. We have to have a lot of films, films and television convinced by the many — the frequency in which you see these stories and messages.
I believe we can win an asymmetric warfare with the left on this because we have — our stories are stories that resonate with people, are in touch with human nature, that echo values that run deep in the American character. I think people would want to see them for all the reasons Michael Medved cited lo those many years ago. So I think so we don’t have to have as many films; we don’t have to have as much money. We don’t have to have the number of distribution services, but we have to have way more than we have now and that takes a serious building process.
We have to invest at least — if they’re spending tens of billions, we have to — and we want to catch up, we have to start spending billions. Now, I’m not saying the people in this room should fork over billions of dollars before the weekend is over, but we need — there are plenty even within a 50-mile radius of where we sit now, of Republican billionaires. Why are they not active like the Democratic billionaires?
There are many, many, many tech billionaires who then say, “Oh, I made 10 billion or 50 billion in tech. I’m going to take a half a billion or a billion and start a production company. If it makes money, great; if it doesn’t, so what? I’ll be promoting global warming or racial equity, or whatever ideas I care about.” Well, why are there no people — the number of people on our side that do that are tiny. And they’re all wanting to — want to treat — they want to make sure it’s as good an investment as any other investment, and it is not. It’s a different kind of investment. And we need to convince them.
I would say, if I had to have a call to action, it would not be for you guys to invest, but for you to find those people that have the resources, and have the will to not just invest now, but engage in this battle over the long haul.
Male Speaker: An example of that might be the forthcoming long-awaited biopic on Ronald W. Reagan.
Male Speaker: That’s right, that’s a good example.
Male Speaker: And hopefully, we’ll get that community involved with us, maybe at our next conference. I can’t wait for that. That’s all about the rainbow, the double rainbow and Ronald Reagan. Yes?
Male Speaker: Yes, I wonder what are you seeing, or do you know anybody that’s trying to do movies about freedom fighters in oppressed countries, freedom fighters in China, freedom fighters in Venezuela, the Ladies in White in Cuba, people who are fighting the regime in Iran? And has anybody talked about the possibility of a branded freedom network, which produces documentaries about heroes that fought for freedom, both here in this country and abroad?
And it seems to me like that might be a way to get somebody interested in doing what you’re talking about, which is a Netflix that talks about freedom, not Conservative, but just talks about freedom. Has anybody been thought about that idea?
Gloria Greenfield: Are you offering to fund it?
Male Speaker: Well, I’d love to find people who would like to fund it because you could probably produce the movies.
Michael Pack: But I think so we have a slate of films in development and not surprisingly, one of them is about Cuban freedom fighters. We want to do a profile of people in Cuba that are struggling to overturn the regime over the next year or so; follow a group of young freedom fighters. And when I was in government, I was in charge of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, TV and Radio Marti, so I know these people. I’m actually — [Jean] and I are meeting with some of our partners on that later, so I do want to do that.
And I actually think that film will have not that hard of time finding a distribution because I actually do feel on that issue, I think you’re quite right, that that’s sort of in the center, and we’ll see what — I’m even hopeful — PBS has aired every one of our films over many decades and they were enthusiastic actually about the Clarence Thomas film. Some things we’re working on maybe would be hard. I actually think the Cuba one, they’ll be fine with so — and other people have done films on freedom fighters too. I think the point of it is, so I think that’s a great subject, an important subject.
However, I think a network shouldn’t be narrow casting to one particular subject. We need something — the power of Netflix and Amazon is they claim to have everything for everybody, and this is why it’s a challenge. There are Conservatives trying to set up streaming companies. There’s News Max, Right Around the Corner, Daily Wire, but it’s very hard to be — but to be a Netflix or an Amazon, you have to set — people are thinking I’m going to subscribe, I have to. Every night, is there going to be something there that I could check in history and politics and entertainment, not just one thing.
So I think that your subject matter you point to would be a crucial component of any film of any service that actually tried to be patriotic and pro-American and reflect our values. I think that’s a very good line of subject matter. If we had such a streaming service, we could label that as one of the categories of programs. And there actually have been films on that subject that have been pretty good over the last couple of decades.
Female Speaker: And there’s been — the movie Defiance sort of fits into that about freedom fighters, a great movie.
Male Speaker: I do have a resource for you.
Male Speaker: I haven’t seen that.
Male Speaker: The Freedom Festival, every year — it’s usually in Las Vegas — is magnificent; 3,000 of our fellow Americans show up every year to the Freedom Festival. By the way, it’s an interesting mix of libertarians and sort of social conservatives, and they’re all friendly to each other. It’s wild, it’s all about freedom. And they do have a film festival that’s part of their conference called the Anthem Film Festival. And I think you’ll find a rich history and listing of all their documentaries there.
Gloria Greenfield: Can I just add something to that?
Male Speaker: Yes.
Gloria Greenfield: So I’m a Conservative, I’m a Conservative filmmaker, but Anthem Film Festival is one of the few festivals out there that you have a shot of getting your film in. And my last film played at the 2019 Anthem Film Festival and won the Best Libertarian Values, even though it was a Conservative film, yes.
Male Speaker: Yes, sir.
Male Speaker: I always like to flip the narrative and make it about them. Now this might be a little naive, but what about a film on the documentization of America? All that that you mentioned, all of you, those little sound bites, the video clips that were changed, I found that to be extremely significant. We all know Godfather? What about — and that those pieces are all already on the cutting room floor. Take those and make the movie about how those documentaries have all now changed America, make it about them. And it seems to me, if I knew that, I’d say, “Wow, I didn’t know they did that, wow.”
Male Speaker: Somebody did make a documentary about the history of Hollywood, the change in Hollywood in the ’60s and the ’70s. That would be quite a fascinating —
Male Speaker: Right. So the ’60s backstory of Larry’s story, how Hollywood changed in the ’60s, ’70s, is usually a story of celebration. These wonderful filmmakers, they broke the studio system; they had a lot of cocaine and they had a hugely fun time and they were terrific. It would be good to take a different kind of look at that period, absolutely.
Male Speaker: Well, that was just an idea, and if anybody wants to pick it up, I am willing to start funding it.
Male Speaker: Thank you. So do you know who the most decorated director in the history of Hollywood is?
Audience Member: John Ford.
Male Speaker: John Ford. Thank you for that. Thank you. Bless you. John Ford is the greatest director that America ever produced. Hollywood wrote him out of their history, their celebrations, their kind of recognition. He’s the most decorated, he’s the most patriotic. Do yourself a favor over the holidays, enjoy some John Ford movies.
Larry Greenfield: With that, I want to express personal appreciation to the board of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, to the sponsors of this incredible weekend, to our panel. Who audits the ruling class, the IRS, the DOJ, Maxine Waters, Antifa, the cultural left? We do. God bless you. And God bless America. Thank you.
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