Interview by Melissa Hanson (Dial M for Melissa)
In this David and Goliath tale for the 21st Century, a group of proud Scottish homeowners take on Donald Trump, as the tycoon prepares to destroy one of Britain's last stretches of coastal wilderness by building a luxury golf resort. As the locals make their last stand in the face of security harassment, legal threats and the cutting off of water and electricity supplies, director Anthony Baxter is thrown in jail as he seeks out the truth.
The previous claim to fame of the small town in Scotland was a film from 1983, Local Hero, starring Burt Lancaster, about a tycoon who intends to build an refinery, yet after meeting the people, has a change of heart. Twenty-two years later, life imitates art as Donald Trump announces his intention to build a golf course in the small town, however he is not swayed by anyone and the series of events that follow are both heart-breaking and disturbing case of corporate business.
I interviewed the director, Anthony Baxter, about his film and the impact it's had on his life and those of the small community.
Being a resident of Montrose, a town nearby, Baxter became familiar with the story and was concerned as the local news only seemed to be reporting the job creation and not the environmental impact on the land that was protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest - the highest accolade the United Kingdom can bestow to an environmentally sensitive site. Also not included in the news coverage were any interviews with the local residents and their concerns over the development.
Over the course of the next few years, Baxter documented the events surrounding the development focusing on the local residents and how their lives were effected. In this time, several shocking occurrences take place, including the director being arrested and put in prison after questioning why the water of the local residents is shut off.
Baxter explains that the reason the film is told without narration, is that the filmmaking team was not able to secure any interviews with any member of the Trump team or the Scottish government. Instead, footage of press conferences and visits to the site by Trump are the only windows into why and how this took place. At one point, Baxter uses the iconic phone booth from Local Hero to try to speak with a member of the Trump organization. This was part theatrics and part practicality, as it's "difficult to get a mobile phone signal."
In conjunction of the landscape, the score is beautiful, having been chosen by the director, with the song in the end credits been written for the film by Jon Thor Birgisson performed by Jonsi.
- WINNER: Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Social Justice Award, Hamptons Intâ€™l Film Festival
- WINNER: Special Jury Prize, Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival
- WINNER: Best Film, Edindocs Film Festival, Edinburgh
- WINNER: Green Award, Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival
- WINNER: Best Environmental Film, Sedona International Film Festival
- WINNER: Best Feature Film, San Francisco Green Film Festival
- WINNER: Jury Award, Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, California
- WINNER: Best Documentary, Denver Film Festival
Opened August 3, 2012 at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.
You've Been Trumped
In Theaters August 3, 2012
Directed by: Anthony Baxter
Written by: Anthony Baxter
Plot: In this David and Goliath story for the 21st century, a group of proud Scottish homeowners take on celebrity tycoon Donald Trump as he buys up one of Scotland's last wilderness areas to build a golf resort.
Melissa Hanson, Cinemit Content Editor, also known as Dial M For Melissa, has been a Cinemit member since 8/29/10, is a member of the Women Film Critic's Circle and also writes for MoviePass.
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