Next up, US Documentary Competition title HOT COFFEE, Susan Saladoff’s searing indictment of the influence of corporate America on our civil justice system.
Sundance Program Description:
For many Americans, the famous McDonald’s coffee case has become emblematic of the frivolous lawsuits that clog our courts and stall our justice system. Or is that exactly what McDonald’s wants us to think? Enter intrepid filmmaker Susan Saladoff. Using the now-infamous legal battle over a spilled cup of coffee as a springboard into investigating our civil-justice system, Saladoff exposes the way corporations have spent millions distorting this case to promote tort reform. Big business has brewed an insidious concoction of manipulation and lies to protect its interests, and media lapdogs have stirred the cup.
Following four people whose lives have been devastated by their inability to access the courts, this searing documentary unearths the sad truth that most of our beliefs about the civil-justice system have been shaped or bought by corporate America. Informative, entertaining, and a stirring call to action, HOT COFFEE will make your blood boil.
Saladoff has spent twenty-five years practicing law, stopping in 2009 to devote her time to HOT COFFEE. While she has made short documentaries, this project marks her feature debut. Working with her are two seasoned Producers: Carly Hugo of NYC-based The Group Entertainment, comes to Sundance with two films in Competition this year – in addition to HOT COFFEE, she also produced Vera Farmiga’s HIGHER GROUND – and has had three previous narratives at the festival – PETER AND VANDY (Co-Producer), BASS ACKWARDS, and LOGGERHEADS (Associate Producer); while Alan Oxman’s credits were noted last week in my profile of his other 2011 Sundance title, PAGE ONE.
Why You Should Watch:
Saladoff applies her extensive legal background on what has become, at least in the public consciousness, a joke (perhaps most famously spoofed on SEINFELD) to rigorously debunk the dismissive myths concerning the case, and to examine why they’ve been allowed to propagate around it in the first place, pointing to abuses of the legal system and the disenfranchisement of ordinary people.
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also has a website, including a mailing list sign-up, and a Facebook page to keep you updated on future screenings and other plans.
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