Crowdsourced Funding Crucial in Reviving Anti-Dark Money Film 'Citizen Koch'


In late May, the PBS documentary “Citizen Koch” — an exposé about Citizens United and its unscrupulous interests — was effectively censored by the mighty wealth of its targets, the Koch Brothers.  While they did not directly threaten public broadcasting, the threat of loss of Koch donations was enough to scare the station off. A day after it was screened at the Wisconsin Film Festival, $150,000 in funding was pulled from the highly acclaimed film by ITVS, an organization that provides funding, production and promotion of independent filmmaking for public television documentaries.

The film’s creators, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, turned to Kickstarter.com hoping to crowdfund (to the tune of $75,000) the needed support.  Anti-Koch sentiment was strong enough that the duo more than doubled its funding goal. They wound up with $169,522 from 3,384 supporters.

In response to the milestone, Carl Deal released a statement:

Thanks to thousands of small donors, the public will be able to see this film,” Deal said in a release. “We hope public television executives get the message that when they allow private interests to dictate their programming and funding decisions, the public will take notice and take action.

With funding now in place the question of how the film will be distributed is next on the docket.  A recent segment of “The Young Turks” discussed the status of the documentary:

The confluence of negative factors affecting American politics — corporate overrreach, money in politics, extremist interest groups such as ALEC waging war in statehouses — makes a counterpoint as needed as ever. In a release of her own, Tia Lessin wrote:

We are humbled by this tremendous support and the thousands of voices speaking out against censorship and in support of democracy.  We can’t wait to get our film — and the stories in it — out far and wide.

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