A powerful documentary rarely leaves one feeling unmotivated.
The medium of film has an uncanny ability to not only make the viewer aware of an issue, but also elicit change.
With this in mind, the Fresh Outlook Foundation aimed to bring the community of Kelowna together last weekend, with the purpose of getting inspired.
The third annual Reel Change SustainAbility Film Fest featured 12 films that all touched on different social issues.
After every film, local experts led a discussion—or, in some cases, a debate—to help viewers wrap their minds around what they had just watched.
One documentary provoked an especially interesting post-film conversation.
Narrated by Matt Damon, Inside Job exposes the story behind the global economic crisis of 2008.
A product of Academy Award nominated filmmaker Charles Ferguson, the documentary interviews financial insiders, politicians and journalists in an attempt to shine light on the sordid underbelly of top financial institutions in the United States.
Those who made their way to the Fipke Centre on Saturday to sit through the film could often be heard snickering or gasping at seemingly shocking remarks by CEOs who, the film suggested, were still making millions of dollars while millions of people were losing their money, homes and jobs.
Mike Gilmore, of BDO Dunwoody, and Susan Kasper, of Edward Jones, two of the panellists for the film, sat slightly quieter towards the front of the classroom.
“Scary stuff,” said Kasper at the conclusion of the film. “It definitely gets you enraged.”
Part of the film indicates that it is common practice for many Wall Street bankers to regularly take drugs and deal with prostitutes. Kasper saw this as an unfair generalization. “It was done, I think, very one-sidedly. I just think it’s ironic that Matt Damon works for an equally corrupt industry with prostitutes and drugs and he’s basically criticizing another,” he said.
“My point is that (the movie) colours the whole industry with the same paint.”
Gilmore also felt that the prostitution portion of the film was a “low blow.”
“I think the message in the film was very well said.
“They didn’t need to throw that in there—(the cause of the financial crisis) is aggravating enough.”
Gilmore and Kasper agreed that, overall, the film told the actual story fairly accurately.
The other panel member, Dr. Alan Illicic, works in the renewable energy industry. He said that he has done a fair amount of research on the financial industry.
He thought that the drugs and prostitutes element was not only necessary, but a “key component” to the film.
“The reason why the cocaine and prostitutes are so important is because when these banks fail and when their employees get called into testimony, the employers have blackmail against their employees and that’s critical to shut them up,” said Dr. Illicic.
Dr. Illicic said that he felt that the movie missed an important aspect of the whole problem.
“I found that there were some elements missing, specifically the fractural reserve banking system. This was completely omitted and I’m not sure why. These situations that arose are not symptoms of bad people, it is the very structure of our society that leads to this issue,” said Dr. Illicic.
“No money exists without debt attached to it.
“There’s simply not enough money to pay this interest. As a consequence, it is a structurally forced bankruptcy and foreclosure system.
“It’s like a game of musical chairs, only we’re dealing with people’s lives.”
Many left the showing of Inside Job with varied opinions of what was done in the past and what should be done in the future.
But all were thinking about it, and that was probably exactly what the Fresh Outlook Foundation was hoping to achieve.