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PRICELE$$ is a filmmaker's personal journey across America to answer a burning question: why are some of our government's most basic policies, like food and energy, so out-of-date...and can anything be done about it? Sharing the suspicion of fellow-citizens, including a class of young civics students, that campaign money is involved, the filmmakers set out on a spellbinding and at times hilarious ride from rural America to the halls of Congress to find out more, because democracy is a precious resource. In fact, it's PRICELE$$.
Habitat Media’s new documentary shines a light on the corridors in our nation’s capitol to reveal how campaign money from deep-pocket special interests can influence both, our electoral process and national policies like food and energy. In addition to time spent with seasoned lawmakers, lobbyists, and a few dauntless citizen watchdogs, the filmmakers visit farmers and an unusual group of Iraq War veterans. They also visit a classroom full of amazingly savvy civics students whose unfiltered comments provide comic relief. PRICELE$$ also takes a behind-the-scenes look at Arizona’s road-test of an electoral reform that some observers believe could free Congress from time-consuming fundraising and the corrosive influence of special interests and their lobbyists. Narrated by filmmaker Steve Cowan, PRICELE$$ was made on location in Washington D.C., New York, Florida, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Arizona, California and Oregon.
Our non-partisan film is meant for the many citizens we’ve met coast-to-coast who deeply love their country but who say they don’t feel represented—people too busy making a living or raising their families to watch what goes on in our nation’s capitol. People who read headlines and watch the blizzard of political TV ads, and suspect something is not right, but who don’t know exactly where the problem is or whether it can be fixed. How can it be that year after year, despite clear signs of some serious dangers inherent with our national farm (food) and energy policies, that Congress continues to direct the lion’s share of subsidies to old technologies that involve serious, long-term impacts? We have attempted to provide a non-partisan look at the root of this dysfunction—business-as-usual campaign finance in Washington D.C. where high-stake donors and lobbyists have daily access to powerful members of Congress who are caught in a desperate campaign fundraising treadmill. I hope that our film also helps viewers see that this seemingly overwhelming problem can be fixed when our nation finds a better way of electing our leaders. We looked at just one of many possible solutions to the problem that would be feasible if only the political will were present.Habitat Media has produced several award-winning documentaries including primetime PBS Specials like Empty Oceans Empty Nets and Farming the Seas; films that communicate the importance of citizen participation and show viewers exactly what they can do to help solve a seemingly overwhelming problem. Our films have screened before U.S. Congressional Committees, the United Nations, White House staff, and in federal judges' chambers. Short versions are ongoing exhibits at marine aquaria and natural history museums. They are also educational resources used by hundreds of high schools and colleges.
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