I've known Robert Greenwald for many, many years. In his "past life," he was an important Hollywood director who was involved in a number of major films. (In fact, one of his films, Sweet Heart's Dance, was filmed in Vermont and if you look closely at the DVD, which you should immediately rent from your local video store, you'll see me in it.)
In recent years, Robert has played an extraordinary role in producing films on some of the most important issues facing our country. Whether it was taking a hard look at Fox television, or the war in Iraq, or the attack on civil liberties in America, or the huge impact that Wal-Mart is having on American society, Robert is addressing issues in a way that is rarely seen in commercial or public media.
As important as the content of Robert's work is, what is equally important is the absolutely new infrastructure that he is developing in order to get a progressive perspective across to the American people. Instead of arguing with PBS for five years about whether or not they will run a film with a progressive message, he is producing DVDs, distributing them through the Internet, and having them seen at house parties and other local gatherings throughout the country. This is an extraordinary step forward not only in enabling hundreds of thousands of people to see the film, but it is also a brilliant and innovative organizing approach. If 30 people at a house party or 100 people in a church see the film together, and hold a discussion about it, there is a far better likelihood that political action will result from the viewing than if someone just watched the same program at home on T.V.
A couple of years ago in Vermont we showed Outfoxed in dozens of homes around the state and followed it up with a telephone conference call. It was extremely effective.
So thank you Robert and your staff for not only blazing new ground in terms of your content, but also for developing an extremely important new approach toward raising public consciousness and for political organizing.