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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmaker #8: Jacob Kornbluth Makes the Move to Documentaries For Economy Doc ‘Inequality For All’

Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmaker #8: Jacob Kornbluth Makes the Move to Documentaries For Economy Doc 'Inequality For All'

Jacob Kornbluth’s third film marks a dramatic change for the director from his previous two scripted releases “Haiku Tunnel” and “The Best Thief in the World.” “Inequality For All” his third feature, is his first documentary and the heavy subject matter, focusing on the widening income gap in America, shows a director unafraid to take a bold next step in his career. Now, after premiering at Sundance earlier this year, the film is continuing on the festival circuit at Tribeca.

What it’s about: “INEQUALITY FOR ALL is a kind of “Inconvenient Truth” for the Economy in which we explore widening income inequality in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.”

What else should audiences know: “I made this film because at some point it occurred to me that if people look back at us in the future, they might say that the story that defined our times was widening income inequality. It affects our economy, of course, but it also affects our democracy and our society as a whole. I didn’t want to make a movie about how it was bad to make money, I was just looking for a story that explained the anxiety that me and so many of my friends were feeling. The question I kept asking was… what kind of society do we want to live in? Can’t we do better than this?

The key to our version of this story is tone. Reich is a comedian at heart, and we try to tell our story with a light touch. Our goal was to make a film that was surprisingly approachable and entertaining given what could be a dry and serious topic. Our story has no villains: we walk the difficult line of sounding the alarm bells to a genuine crisis while not pointing fingers. The underlying message to our film is that widening economic inequality really is an issue that affects us all – even the rich would do better with a smaller slice of a growing pie than a larger piece of a shrinking economy.”

What was your biggest challenge in developing this project: “We kept telling people that we were going to make this film about the economy and economic inequality and that it was going to be incredibly entertaining and fun — a real Friday night, popcorn-at-the-theater cinematic movie – and people kept looking at us like we were out of our minds. 

I didn’t blame them one bit then, and still don’t. If someone told me they were going to make a film about the economy, I’d say that what they are describing isn’t a film and they would be crazy for trying. Figuring out how to handle that problem was our biggest challenge.”

What he hopes audiences will walk away with: “I want the Tribeca audiences to be surprised at how entertained they are by a film about widening income inequality. My wife is teaches kids and hates economics, and she likes the movie because, as she said, “I get it now”. I hope people at Tribeca feel the same way as she does.”

On films that inspired him: “Well, I wasn’t trying to match it in style, but the fact than “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH” seemed to contribute to the national discussion about climate change was a kind of inspiration to make INEQUALITY FOR ALL. It gave me hope that there might be a place for a film that took another topic that people had heard about but might not wholly understand – widening income inequality, in our case – and explained it in an accessible and easy to understand way.”

What’s next: “I’m currently working on a Showtime miniseries called YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. It’s about people living with climate change. I’m also working with my brother to finish a comedy called LOVE AND TAXES. 

Reich and I have some ideas about how to keep working together as well. We really enjoyed working together on the film and hope to keep working to get the message out however we’re able.”

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.

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