All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Children of I.F. Stone
TYPE: Documentary Feature
STATUS: In Distribution
Independent journalists expose government lies and corporate deception, inspired by the legendary investigative journalist I.F. Stone.
Investigative journalists are increasingly abandoning the mainstream media to work at alternative web-based sites. Many are inspired by a little-known American journalist whose groundbreaking reporting filled a tiny 4-page newsletter bearing his name, I.F. Stone’s Weekly. For independent, investigative journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill (of The Intercept), and filmmakers like Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11), I.F Stone is a revered figure. Greenwald has been the lead reporter on the revelations of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Scahill wrote “Dirty Wars” – the book and Oscar-nominated film on secret assassinations by the U.S. government. Our cameras will follow these journalists and media producers as they uncover government secrets – just as I.F. Stone did decades ago.
Stone was ahead of the pack with his exposes of FBI law-breaking and the lies of the Johnson and Nixon administrations during the Vietnam war. This film will show how Stone’s work is inspiring a “new wave” of independent, investigative and adversarial journalists and filmmakers.
This all started with my being inspired years ago by I. F. Stone, when I was a teenaged would-be investigative journalist. In 2013 I became energized and inspired all over again, as I delved into a book called “The Best of I. F. Stone”. Then Myra MacPherson’s excellent biography of Stone, “All Governments Lie” reinforced my interest. As I continued to explore, I found many other journalists and filmmakers equally inspired, some of them on the cutting edge of independent, adversarial reporting about government deception.
It struck me as a great story. A secret guru was inspiring today’s new wave of investigative journalists—a man most of the public had never heard of. And those new independent journalists were fighting the same kind of David and Goliath battle Izzy Stone did decades ago—a battle for nothing less than truth and justice, in a world where the Stone quote “All governments lie” was never more apt.
It was obvious to me that a film documentary had to be made.
This is not a story set in the U.S.A. or Canada; it’s a global story. Journalists like Naomi Klein tackle truths such as the impact of corporate globalization that resonate around the world.
I want to tell the story of these passionate independent journalists, past and present, to bring the public into their worlds, and to tell the story of this band of “muckrakers” from my own perspective. As a former investigative producer on the CBC program "the fifth estate" and on ABC's "20/20", I know how difficult it can be to uncover deception and reveal truths.
Stylistically and visually, I am inspired by two recent documentaries:
Citizenfour, directed by Laura Poitras, won the Oscar this year for best documentary, and features Glenn Greenwald, a prominent participant in our film who has been profoundly influenced by I. F. Stone (Greenwald recently “binge-read” hundreds of back copies of I. F. Stone’s Weekly).
Dirty Wars, directed by Richard Rowley, received an Oscar nomination for best documentary last year. It features journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has co-founded (with Greenwald) the online journalism website called The Intercept, where we’ve been given unprecedented behind-the-scenes access.
Both of these recent films, Citizenfour and Dirty Wars, have a stylistic tension reflecting the essence of their stories, which ultimately deal with government deception. Both films achieve their effects with edgy, dramatic but tastefully understated visual styles and soundtrack music. The focus and content of All Governments Lie will be different, but we are all in the same arena. Tension and drama are built-in to the subject. Government lies cost lives—and there is nothing more urgently dramatic than that.
Our filmmaking team has assembled an impressive level of research and expertise to tackle this ambitious topic, which is fraught with controversy. We have optioned Myra MacPherson’s definitive book on I. F. Stone and she is providing advice. We have support and guidance from many leading investigative journalists today, and have enlisted Jeff Cohen of Ithaca College, a leading expert on independent media and investigative journalism. We also have a small but dedicated research staff. Peter Raymont, the film’s Executive Producer, brings with him a wide body of knowledge and experience from his many tough, hard-hitting political documentaries.
All Governments Lie is a timely documentary for today’s digital-savvy viewers who increasingly seek information from independent media, and are distrustful of large, corporate media outlets. This film will take seemingly unconnected events and journalistic heroes stretching over many decades and link them together to tell an important story that will resonate with audiences around the world.
I want to inspire others with the story of I. F. Stone’s courageous, decades-long battle against government lies, and with the more recent stories of independent journalists who are fearlessly following in Stone’s footsteps. They are the antidote and alternative to the mainstream media conglomerates that are increasingly showing their blind spots and weaknesses—and losing the public’s trust. All Governments Lie is not, however, only about independent journalism, politics and democracy. Perhaps even more importantly, it is a film about humanity and values. I want viewers to walk away remembering what I. F. Stone was trying to do:
To write the truth as I see it; to defend the weak against the strong; to fight for justice; and to seek, as best I can, to bring healing perspectives to bear on the terrible hates and fears of mankind, in the hope of someday bringing about one world, in which men will enjoy the differences of the human garden instead of killing each other over them.
– I.F. Stone
This is a message that needs to be heard. All Governments Lie tells a story that needs to be told.
Fred Peabody - Director/Writer
Fred Peabody is an Emmy-winning journalist and filmmaker whose credits include seven years as a producer-director on the acclaimed CBC investigative program “the fifth estate”. After working in New York and Los Angeles for years, he now lives in Vancouver. In 2003 he was Supervising Producer on “Perfect Illusions”, a PBS documentary about eating disorders in young women. His film on the childhood exploitation of the Dionne quintuplets was nominated for an Emmy in 1998, and he won an Emmy in 1989 for a film about wild horses rescued from starvation and abuse.
Peter Raymont - Producer/Executive Producer
Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, journalist and writer Peter Raymont has produced and directed more than 100 documentary films and series during his 43 year career. Raymont's films are informed with a passion for human rights and social justice, and are regularly broadcast on TV networks worldwide. Many of Raymont’s films expose flaws and weaknesses in the mainstream news media. His documentary feature, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire won the 2005 Sundance Festival Audience Award for World Cinema Documentaries, and the 2007 Emmy Award for Best Documentary. Raymont's 2007 documentary feature A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, was short-listed for an Academy award.
Jeff Cohen - Executive Producer
Jeff Cohen is founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College in New York. He is the former Senior Producer of the Phil Donahue show at MSNBC. Cohen has been a consultant and/or interviewee on many award-winning documentaries, including Shadows of Liberty, War Made Easy and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism. He is the founder of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, a leading U.S. media watchdog group.
John Westheuser - Director of Photography
John Westheuser is an accomplished Cinematographer specializing in dynamic, character-driven storytelling. In addition to his extensive track record as a documentary DP, John is also recognized for his expertise as a shooter/director in non-scripted series production. His work includes Shake Hands with the Devil, Life with Murder and Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows.
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