2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: DARK MONEY

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Eric Phillips-Horst

Kimberly Reed reveals the dangerous impact of Citizens United on Montana’s politics.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Montana has spent more than a century trying to keep its politics clean. After a brazen attempt by copper magnate William A Clark to bribe his way into the United States Senate, the state prohibited corporate campaign financing in 1912. Everything changed with the US Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United ruling in 2010, which classified campaign expenditures by corporations as free speech and allowed donors to remain undisclosed. As a result, unlimited, anonymous “dark money” began to flood elections nationwide. In Montana, even conservative incumbents have found themselves facing coordinated smear campaigns to sway the electorate toward candidates more in line with corporate interests. But the citizens of Big Sky Country won’t allow democracy to be dismantled without putting up a fight.

Director Kimberly Reed returns to her native state to expose the insidious reach of corporate interests into politics and to chronicle its grassroots opposition. Profiling an intrepid investigative journalist and a crusading campaign commissioner, DARK MONEY serves as an urgent call to action to inspire campaign finance reform across the country.

Some Background:

  • Kimberly Reed

    Reed’s sophomore doc feature is her first at Sundance, and was supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Her first film, PRODIGAL SONS, debuted at Telluride, and went on to screen extensively on the fest circuit before its acquisition by First Run Features and broadcast on Sundance Channel.


  • Katy Chevigny
    Past Sundance docs:

    CAMERAPERSON (2016, consulting producer)
    TRAPPED (2016, consulting producer)
    E-TEAM (2014, director/producer)
    DEADLINE (2004, director/producer)
    NUYORICAN DREAM (2000, producer)

    Chevigny is an Emmy-winning filmmaker and co-founder of Big Mouth Productions.


  • Miriam Cutler

    This is Cutler’s second film as a producer. She is an Emmy-nominated composer who, in addition to this film, has previously scored numerous past Sundance docs, including, most recently, THE HUNTING GROUND (2015) and AMERICAN PROMISE (2013).


  • Jay Arthur Sterrenberg
    Past Sundance docs:

    TROPHY (2017)
    NARCO CULTURA (2013)

    Co-founder of the Meerkat Media Collective, Sterrenberg also cut the Academy Award-nominated short doc REDEMPTION.

Why You Should Watch:
As noted in my program description above, while focused on Montana, Reed’s eye-opening film proves all-too relevant for the country as a whole, particularly in the current political climate.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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