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by Peter Knegt
May 5, 2011 10:09 AM
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Lies, Goons and Eco-Destruction: New Doc Shows Life Under Donald Trump

"You've Been Trumped." Photo courtesy Hot Docs.

Need another reason to hate Donald Trump? Welcome to the documentary "You've Been Trumped."

[This feature orignally ran during HotDocs 2011, where the film world premiered. It comes out in select theaters this Friday.]

"Could you please now make a documentary about why Donald Trump should not be the President of the United States?" an audience member pleaded after the film's screening during Hot Docs, where the film world premiered.

"I think we've already made that film," producer Richard Phinney replied.

Indeed they did. If there was any remaining question of Trump's moral ambiguity, "You've Been Trumped," which made its world premiere Tuesday night, destroys it. A David & Goliath tale without the happy ending, "Trumped" details what happens when Donald Trump decides to build a hotel and golf course just north of Aberdeen, Scotland (the same setting of Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero," the 1983 film that the doc eerily mirrors).

Trump's project has the potential to force people from their homes against their will and destroy the ecosystem surrounding the UK's last natural sand dunes. No matter; Trump forges ahead with little regard for any of it. His motives are significantly aided by the Scottish government (who vetoed the local government's rejection of Trump's plans) and the local police, who act more like Trump's goons than protectors of their constituency.

It's all captured by director Anthony Baxter and Phinney, both of whom spent a year with the folks most directly affected by Trump's plans. The story's main protagonists -- and Trump's antagonists -- are Michael Forbes, a farmer whose land borders Trump's development, and his mother, Molly. Trump's problem with Forbes? He doesn't want people staying on the Trump golf course to have their view sullied by the sight of Forbes' working farm.

Trump publicly bullies Forbes on multiple occasions. "I look at Mr. Forbes," Trump says in the film. "And it's about time someone spoke out. For people to have to look at that virtual slum is a disgrace. He is not a respected man among the people he lives with. He is a pig."

By all appearances, Forbes is actually a good-natured, humble man repeatedly shocked by the actions of Trump & Co., as when his water is shut off for over a week after Trump's contractors accidentally destroy his well system. When he tries to report the issue, police -- who grow increasingly hostile toward anti-Trump sentiment throughout the film -- refuse to do anything.

Baxter and Phinney's attachment to Forbes and his community eventually turns "Trumped" into a team effort. Using their own cameras, Forbes and his friends shoot footage of Trump's workers slowly destroying the land. And when Baxter and Phinney try to investigate why Forbes' requests to restore his water supply are ignored, things turn ugly. In a downright violent altercation, the police arrest Baxter with vague reasoning after he questions the water issue. While he was released later that day and the charges were eventually dropped, the conflict made clear whose side the police were on.

As for Trump himself, Baxter and Phinney do an excellent job capturing his hypocrisy with their limited to the man. (He refused to be interviewed directly for the film.) At one press conference, they capture him boasting: "This project has received tremendous support from environmental groups. This is actually the greatest thing I've ever done for the environment."

Finished just 10 days before its world premiere at Hot Docs, "Trumped" went into production with absolutely no budget and became a reality in large part via crowdsourcing.

"We are so grateful to those people," Baxter said. "We had no support from broadcasters and the Edinburgh International Film Festival -- which is funded by the Scottish government -- refused to show it. Sometimes in life when you're a filmmaker or a journalist you feel very, very passionately that a story needs to be told and documented. That's our job. Otherwise, these kinds of situations will go completely unreported or they'll be reported in a very one-sided way."

Trump has yet to publicly acknowledge the film. The filmmakers are bracing for when he does.

"A year ago when I pitched it, someone said to me, 'I hope you got a good lawyer,'" Baxter said at the film's Q&A. "I said 'Oh no, I haven't, but that shouldn't stop me from making the film.' These people have this sense of bullying us as filmmakers so that we can't hold them accountable. You've got to make these films despite those fears."

Trump's development of the golf course continues to this day. Phinney said at the Q&A that Molly Forbes did try and file legal action against Trump's project, but Trump sued to ensure she wouldn't get legal aid. He won.

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10 Comments

  • Phil | June 13, 2011 1:14 AMReply

    "These political films bashing potential political candidates should be investigated by the Campaign financing committee of Congress"

    Not when they're made my concerned residents of ANOTHER COUNTRY who are having their neighbourhood destroyed. My family are from Aberdeen and I used to play on those sand-dunes when I was a child. I'm disgusted by this, its not some political ploy dumbass.

  • MAX | June 3, 2011 6:34 AMReply

    I hate Trump And ive always hated Trump because of how he got a big name for firing people on his stupid show. getting rejected in the way he lets people go is heartbreaking not good entertainment for a blue collar man.

  • Tom | May 8, 2011 6:17 AMReply

    American needs your help! Let's end Trump's Hate once and for all.

    Follow #DumpTrump or @DumpDTrump on Twitter.
    On Facebook, join "Dump The Donald - Boycott Donald Trump" http://www.facebook.com/DumpTheDonald.

    Boycott NBC and Trump's Sponsors until the hateful clown is off the air.

  • ParkerRhuel | May 8, 2011 4:09 AMReply

    These political films bashing potential political candidates should be investigated by the Campaign financing committee of Congress. You cannot read, listen, or see anything that comes out of Hollywood that is not pro-Democrat and bashing any and every Republican. An average citizen in front of his house like Joe the Plumber has his tax records vetted and on the news every day ripping him apart yet no one will discuss or tell Americans how the heck Obama gets adopted by a step-father Lolo Soetoro, takes on his name, has his citizenship revoked when he enters Indonesia, enters school under the name Barry Soetoro and somehow comes back to America and is again Barack Obama after being adopted....and no one thinks that strange. Yeah, they loved the Donald when he gave to Democratic politicians and bashed Bush but running for President means he has to contest their messiah...oh the horrors! In all his life he has never been known to be racist so by that standard every Republican is racist, that's idiotic! btw:I for one would not put my life on the line to say he was NOT born in Hawaii but how can you not doubt something is fishy when his administration keeps putting out lame excuses for proof. First there is the COLB and the newspaper announcements (which only prove a registered birth and could have been registered by the grandmother when the mother was in Kenya)
    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol06_Ch0321-0344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0017_0008.htm
    Now look at all the MSM dancing over the long form birth certificate without even vetting it...no one...and even an elementary kid with knowledge of Adobe could prove fake. What is up with that? Is someone in his administration trying to sabatoge his re-election? I mean it is the government of the US able to produce undeniable fraudelent documents if they wanted to...so why an obvious fakery:
    http://youtube/7s9StxsFllY
    http://www.youtube.com/user/orangegold1
    http://youtube/QNJfdKClbH4
    http://youtube/m2L5a_KS6iw
    ..

  • Steve | May 8, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    This is the REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP AT ITS FINEST. Trump was born on third base with a golden spoon in his mouth and is a premier FAILURE just like all the WEALTHY REPUBLICAN SPOILED CHILDREN. He has many more BANKRUPTCIES THAN SUCCESSES. YOU'RE FIRED.

  • Henry | May 8, 2011 1:14 AMReply

    Mr. Trump, you are little league guy!

    Only big mouth that doesn't do the trick, it takes brains, you are not even funny and it requires sharp mind which you don’t have, except in your own fantasy world!

    By the way, I am predicting, you are quitting….Probably only smart move from your, Mr. Trump!

  • Dump Trump | May 7, 2011 2:54 AMReply

    join campaign to fire the donald.
    http://www.facebook.com/DumpTrumpNow

  • elocutionist | May 6, 2011 4:35 AMReply

    Trump's Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Trump:
    10. I have a good relationship with The Blacks, The Google, and The Internets.
    9. I will declare my hairstyle a national state of emergency
    8. I will have a new White House designed and built (oh, the "made in Taiwan" label on the back is just a tax dodge, it was made here, honestly)
    7. I will appoint as White House janitor a man named Bill Cosby
    6. My tie is worth more than the lifetime salary of the Indonesian girl who made it
    5. My yearly shoe shine bill is more than the GDP of certain countries
    4. My campaign has been outsourced to Uzbekistan; I'm looking for evidence it exists... get back to ya on that
    3. I just soiled my Trump made-in-China jockey shorts: Boo friggin' hoo! [#whining]
    2. The best part of my latest book: Chapter 11 [#bankrupt #losing]
    1. I've announced my V.P. running mate: MY HAIR

  • elocutionist | May 6, 2011 4:31 AMReply

    Trump's Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Trump:
    10. I have a good relationship with The Blacks, The Google, and The Internets.
    9. I will declare my hairstyle a national state of emergency
    8. I will have a new White House designed and built (oh, the "made in Taiwan" tag on the back is just a tax dodge, it was made here, honestly)
    7. I will appoint as White House janitor a man named Bill Cosby
    6. My tie is worth more than the lifetime salary of the Indonesian girl who made it
    5. My yearly shoe shine bill is more than the GDP of certain countries
    4. My campaign has been outsourced to Uzbekistan; I'm looking for evidence it exists... get back to ya on that
    3. I just soiled my Trump made-in-China jockey shorts: Boo friggin' hoo! [#whining]
    2. The best part of my latest book: Chapter 11 [#bankrupt #losing]
    1. I've announced my V.P. running mate: MY HAIR

  • marilari | May 5, 2011 12:54 PMReply

    Disgusting. I always found this man to be a repulsive person, but I didn't realize how deep his indecency was. He is an vile human being, a sociopathic narcissist and a pathological liar, who doesn't care what/whom he damages, because he lies about it and believes his own lies.

    After his crazy behavior, people are uniting and releasing from their fears of him as a mafioso-type Don, and all are seeing him for what he is. And talking about it!

    Bravo about this film. It's about time people told the truth about him.