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by Indiewire
July 24, 2006 7:13 AM
2 Comments
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indieWIRE INTERVIEW: Aaron Russo, director of "America: Freedom to Fascism"

Director Aaron Russo's doc "America: Freedom to Fascism" takes on the IRS, the Federal Reserve and other organizations that the film claims "have abridged the freedoms of Americans via money creation, voter fraud, the national identity card (which becomes law in May, 2008)." Through interviews, the film connects the dots on an alleged systematic erosion of civil liberties in America. Russo is probably best known for serving as producer of the 1979 film, "The Rose," directed by Mark Rydell and starring Bette Midler. In this short correspondence with iW, Russo touches on a "rumor" that eventually prompted him to make this film. Cinema Libre will open the doc in limited release beginning Friday, July 28th.

Aaron Russo responded to indieWIRE's email questionnaire, his answers to our questions are published below.

Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

63 years-old. Making movies, was a manager [and was born in] Brooklyn, New York. I grew up on Long Island in Lawrence [and now live in] Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

What were the circumstances that lead you to become a filmmaker?

I wanted to build a career for Bette Midler and get her into movies.

What other creative outlets have you explored?

I was Bette Midler's manager. I was running a nightclub and managed people and put on big shows.

Did you go to film school?

No. I learned filmmaking by making "The Rose." The critical part of filmmaking is the ability to develop screenplays. It is ultimately all about the screenplay. Learning how to develop material is critical... weaving together character, story so they make sense.

Where did the initial idea for your film come from?

From me. For years I heard there was no law that requires Americans to pay income tax. I thought it was an interesting rumor and where there is smoke there's fire. I wanted to find out for certain since I've been hearing about it for so long and I knew the IRS would not answer the question.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in either developing the project or making and securing distribution for the movie?

I had no problem making the movie since I did it on my own, it was difficult and challenging to do the research. The distribution was the biggest problem since all the studios were afraid to distribute the film. They were afraid of being audited by the IRS. That was the biggest problem I encountered, and raising the money for the marketing.

What are your biggest creative influences and/or favorite films?

"One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest," "Spartacus," [and] any movie that shows a mans' struggle against authority and/or mans' struggle to be free.

What is your definition of "independent film"?

A film that carries the thought and inspiration of the filmmaker or filmmakers without outside interference.

How do you define success as a filmmaker?

Two things. First is the accomplishment of capturing what you are trying to say on film. Second is to have an audience feel the same way you do about the film.

TAGS: Interviews

2 Comments

  • lovepeacehappi | July 25, 2006 12:15 PMReply

    RE: America Freedom To Fascism! I was able to view the pre-screening of Aaron Russo's new film coming out in select theatres this weekend and also others next weekend. It is such a WAKE UP CALL TO AMERICA & OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD! You'll have a hard time trying to deny all these facts and interviews that we're so privileged to see before our very own eyes! Too many innocent people are paying a price for lies and deceit! Hopefully Americans will now be knowledgeable when they're on a jury and will see that these everyday Americans are NOT CRIMINALS but many have spent endless hours of research and sacrifice and have had the COURAGE to stand up for the OBVIOUS TRUTH that we need to pass on for our children. This is also a thread that leads to TOO MUCH DECEPTION FROM GOVERNMENT TO IGNORE! I thank Aaron Russo for making this movie and for his courage plus his absolute excellence in the production of it truly deserves the standing ovations this film received at Cannes Film Festival and other places! I am so THRILLED TO SEE SUCH CLEAR EVIDENCE ON THE BIG SCREEN REVEALING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RUMOR! It's done so well that you will literally be on the edge of your seat! Of course when it's over THE SHOCK MAY BE NUMBING AT FIRST! A good closing anthem could have been THE BEATLES SONG, "YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION?! WE ALL WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD!" I just wish EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN WOULD SEE THIS MOVIE, IRS AGENTS AND ALL AUTHORITY FIGURES INCLUDED! It's not fair to have opinions, stands and the power to ruin peoples lives, without taking 1 hour and 45 minutes to see the facts when they're laid out on a silver platter for you to make informed conclusions! Please go see this movie and spread the word after, which would be very hard to keep to yourself, I'm sure!! I also recommend taking a fresh look at The Declaration Of Independence along with The Bill Of Rights, which weren't written for poetic entertainment but you will see have a valid reason for their existence! (They aren't long or hard to understand!) I would actually like to dare people to go see this movie?! It's not at all a farce or a personal vendetta! You'll see well documented, clear evidence, that you may want to see again, after the initial shock, because you will be able to understand it so well you might want to remember it more effectively! God bless and save America, I pray. Godspeed, Love, Peace & Happiness 2U & Yours! =)

  • lovepeacehappi | July 25, 2006 12:13 PMReply

    RE: America Freedom To Fascism! I was able to view the pre-screening of Aaron Russo's new film coming out in select theatres this weekend and also others next weekend. It is such a WAKE UP CALL TO AMERICA & OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD! You'll have a hard time trying to deny all these facts and interviews that we're so privileged to see before our very own eyes! Too many innocent people are paying a price for lies and deceit! Hopefully Americans will now be knowledgeable when they're on a jury and will see that these everyday Americans are NOT CRIMINALS but many have spent endless hours of research and sacrifice and have had the COURAGE to stand up for the OBVIOUS TRUTH that we need to pass on for our children. This is also a thread that leads to TOO MUCH DECEPTION FROM GOVERNMENT TO IGNORE! I thank Aaron Russo for making this movie and for his courage plus his absolute excellence in the production of it truly deserves the standing ovations this film received at Cannes Film Festival and other places! I am so THRILLED TO SEE SUCH CLEAR EVIDENCE ON THE BIG SCREEN REVEALING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RUMOR! It's done so well that you will literally be on the edge of your seat! Of course when it's over THE SHOCK MAY BE NUMBING AT FIRST! A good closing anthem could have been THE BEATLES SONG, "YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION?! WE ALL WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD!" I just wish EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN WOULD SEE THIS MOVIE, IRS AGENTS AND ALL AUTHORITY FIGURES INCLUDED! It's not fair to have opinions, stands and the power to ruin peoples lives, without taking 1 hour and 45 minutes to see the facts when they're laid out on a silver platter for you to make informed conclusions! Please go see this movie and spread the word after, which would be very hard to keep to yourself, I'm sure!! I also recommend taking a fresh look at The Declaration Of Independence along with The Bill Of Rights, which weren't written for poetic entertainment but you will see have a valid reason for their existence! (They aren't long or hard to understand!) I would actually like to dare people to go see this movie?! It's not at all a farce or a personal vendetta! You'll see well documented, clear evidence, that you may want to see again, after the initial shock, because you will be able to understand it so well you might want to remember it more effectively! God bless and save America, I pray. Godspeed, Love, Peace & Happiness 2U & Yours! =)