This may possibly be the movie you never heard of and are glad you haven't. Runaway Slave was released in January, 2012, to movie theaters everywhere.
To date, it has grossed a massive $48,000 or so. It has a top-flight list of stars, including Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, Allen West, and Herman Cain, along with Rev. C.L. Bryant. The description at IMDb:
A perpetual state of welfare exists in the U.S., creating a form of modern slavery for a large percentage of African-Americans. Rev. C.L. Bryant presents an insightful and compelling look at how freedom can be restored.
Presumably this was the version of Dinesh D'Souza's 2016 for black folks. It may have failed at the box office, but it didn't fail overall, evidently. On the consolidated balance sheets for FreedomWorks released by Mother Jones yesterday, there is a recurring set-aside beginning in April and running through September for $500,000 per month. The set-aside is called "Prepaid Funding for Runaway Slave Theater Funding."
Hmmm. Well, let's see. In January, 2012, there was a big Los Angeles premiere with Matt Kibbe and Herman Cain. Free tickets were available for all!
Timing is everything
But wait. The set-asides didn't happen until April, so that wasn't it. Oh, here's a big free screening in New York with a discussion of how progressive values have enslaved black people all over again. What's the date on that? OH. November 2, 2012, the Friday before the election, and now the description and intro are markedly different:
This former NAACP chapter president says he has committed himself to helping others secure the blessings of liberty that are guaranteed by the Constitution.Rev. Bryant takes viewers on an historic journey across America that traces the footsteps of runaway slaves who escaped to freedom along routes that became known as the Underground Railroad. But in the film, he also travels a “new underground railroad” upon which blacks Conservatives are speaking out against big government policies which have established a “new plantation”.While Rev. Bryant’s compelling story helps launch the film, we soon discover he is not alone as he treks across the new Underground Railroad in America. RUNAWAY SLAVE features interviews with politicians, community leaders and everyday Americans; The documentary’s underlying theme asks the questions:What does the black community have to show for its 95% support of the Democratic Party?Would black America vote for a white Obama?Is it truly “free at last?”
That's better. At least they're honest about it here, but it raises a very serious question in my mind. This film was created by Ground Floor Video in connection with FreedomWorks Foundation and Filmcrest Entertainment. FreedomWorks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which is not to engage in political activity.
Where is the line between electioneering and "education"?
I know, I know. Citizens United was all about Hillary: The Movie, so how is this any different? In my mind, budgeting $500,000 per month for six months in advance in order to book theaters and screen this movie the week before the election is nothing, if not overt political activity and candidate endorsement, which are two activities non-profits are not supposed to engage in. Yet I don't see how you present a documentary like this, featuring one of the Republican candidates in the primary who also happens to be African-American and ask the audience to consider whether their current African-American president has done anything for them and then claim to be apolitical.
It flops like roadkill on the highway.
Rocky Mountain Pictures
Rocky Mountain Pictures first caught my attention during the distribution of Dinesh D'Souza's 2016: Obama's America. The principals are Ron Rodgers and Randy Slaughter. Rocky Mountain Pictures is based in Salt Lake City, Utah and is run by the two industry veterans. It also appears to be the distributor of choice for docudramas produced by right wing organizations. In addition to these two films, they distributed a Chuck Norris-endorsed film called Last Ounce of Courage as well as the Koch-funded dog of a movie, Atlas Shrugged.
It's hard for me to understand how that $500,000 per month to pay for free movie tickets around the country in order to ask black people what Barack Obama has done to deserve their vote after bashing progressive values is not some kind of independent expenditure that should have been reported at the time the funds were spent.
This is our new political economy. It sort of tracks on the way they trap people into buying timeshares. Give them a free weekend, then sell the heck out of it while they're captive. Give them free movie tickets to get time to bash the opposing candidate.
At least we know what to expect going forward.