2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: MCMILLION$

MCMILLION$ | Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jeff Dolen

MCMILLION$
James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte revisit the stranger-than-fiction true crime tale of fast food and fraud.

Festival Section:
Special Events

Sundance Program Description:

In the 1990s, the McDonald’s Monopoly game was ubiquitous, with widespread marketing drawing millions into the restaurants, everyone hoping to win prizes that ranged from sandwiches to vacations to cash prizes. Less well known is the network of players who were arrested on charges of defrauding McDonald’s out of more than $24 million by manipulating the Monopoly game. An investigation set in motion by an anonymous tip reveals memorable FBI agents, strange and hilarious prizewinners, and a remarkably complex scheme that mirrored the game itself.

First-time docuseries directors James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte present a forgotten American story, whose first wave of indictments took place just days before September 11, 2001 – after which, headlines and hearts were focused elsewhere. Presented with humor and compassion, what initially seems like a victimless crime is ultimately revealed to be a conspiracy that continues to affect the lives of the people involved.

Some Background:

Directors/Executive Producers/Writers/Editors:

Supervising Producers:

  • Carly Palmour
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE DEVIL WE KNOW
    UNDER THE GUN
    FED UP

    Palmour is a Los Angeles-based producer who has worked on all of filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig’s Sundance-debuting projects.

  • Shannon Pence

    Pence has a background as a story producer/editor for reality television series.

Co-Producer:

  • Peter King

    This is King’s first Sundance project following producing credits on a number of other series.

Executive Producers:

  • Mark Wahlberg

    The Oscar-nominated Wahlberg produces out of his Unrealistic Ideas nonscriped production company.

  • Stephen Levinson

    Multiple-time Emmy-nominated Levinson is partner/CEO of Unrealistic Ideas, and is known for series including ENTOURAGE, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, and IN TREATMENT.

  • Archie Gips

    The Emmy-nominated Gips is partner/president of Unrealistic Ideas, and previously executive produced or produced reality television such as WAHLBURGERS, DUCK DYNASTY, and BRAXTON FAMILY VALUES.

Editors:

  • Jody McVeigh-Schultz & Lane Farnham

    This is the first Sundance credit for both McVeigh-Schultz and Farnham.

  • Scott Evans
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY (2019)
    TIG (2015)

  • Dan Reed
    Past Sundance Docs:

    THE DEVIL WE KNOW
    UNDER THE GUN

  • Scott Hanson

    Hanson also edited fellow 2020 Sundance title THE DISSIDENT in Documentary Premieres. He previously edited Sundance alumni fiction feature DON’T LET GO (fka RELIVE).

Why You Should Watch:
Hernandez and Lazarte have assembled an involving, surprising, often very funny, and deeply satisfying investigative series full of larger-than-life characters and jaw-dropping deception. For those who miss it in Park City, HBO will debut the series on February 3.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist Profile
Website

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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