Don’t mistake Robert Kenner’s new climate change documentary for “An Inconvenient Truth.” Kenner does tackle the issue of environmental change, but investigates it from a new politicized angle. “Merchants of Doubt” seeks to unpack the issue of corporate specialists who are hired to instill the public with skepticism in order to delay government action.
Inspired by Naomi Oreskes’s book of the same name, “Merchants of Doubt” draws a pointed comparison to the tobacco industry and the shade they pulled over consumers’ eyes for decades. Kenner sat down with International Documentary Association Executive Director Michael Lumpkin to discuss what he hopes to achieve with his film.
A common critique of documentaries of this nature is that they are simply preaching to the converted. Those who firmly believe in climate change are the people who will go out and see this film. A seasoned documentarian such as Kenner isn’t blind to this and directly acknowledges the criticism. “We’re not going to change a certain portion of those who don’t believe in this minds. I think there’s a certain group that we might hit. Let’s say there’s 50% or 40% who don’t believe that climate change is real. I think we’ll reach 10% of those people. But, I’m hoping to reach people like all of us that believe it, but don’t know what to do about it.”
“Merchants of Doubt” will be theatrically released on December 12. Check out the three clips below to hear more on Kenner’s thoughts on his interview subjects and following up “Food Inc.”
READ MORE: Telluride Review: ‘Merchants of Doubt’ Takes Lobbyists to Task and Falls Short