Participant Media's CEO (maker of W4S).
From: Sasha Waters <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 18, 2010 8:22:36 AM EDT
Below is from my comments post to AO Scott's article about documentaries in the NYT yesterday. Just want to make sure you know about Participant Media's CEO Jim Berk's background in for-profit ed. Guggenheim said in a recent article in Film Comment that Participant approached him with the idea and financing...and clearly, someone is spending a massive amount of money on this film's publicity.
As with so many things: follow the money. Scott's discussion of form here while interesting is a distraction from a more urgent issue, which is slickly-produced, well-financed feature-length informercials masquerading as "documentaries" and being uncritically accepted by the establishment as such. Short example:
1. Participant Media conceived of & funded "Waiting for Superman," the popular infomercial for the privitization of the multi-billion dollar public education "market."
2. Jim Berk is Participant's CEO. From his official bio: "Prior to Participant, Jim was Chairman and CEO of Gryphon Colleges Corporation, where he was responsible for the formation, platform acquisition and establishment of a private company operating FOR-PROFIT POST EDUCATION SCHOOLS." [Emphasis added]
3. Gryphon is a part of Gryhpon Investments (see link) a private equity firm with $900 million assets under management.
4. This film has nothing to do with educating children, really, nor with documentary proper. Its social function - like many other recent so-called "documentaries"("Art & Copy," funded by the advertising industry to celebrate the advertising industry comes to mind) is much more sinister.