Disaster Capitalism


Disaster Capitalism
Saturday 13.10.2018 at 19:00 to 21:00

Myymälä2 presents the Finnish premier of the documentary film Disaster Capitalism by Antony Loewenstein & Thor Neureiter.

The first screening will focus on disaster capitalism as an industry and will hopefully feature a discussion with Antony Loewenstein.

The second screening will focus on disaster capitalism as it works in our own lives, where do we see it and how does it support racism. This session, still tba, will feature Faith Mkwesha.

The third screening remains tba.

The event is free of charge. Facebook event here.

DISASTER CAPITALISM reveals the underbelly of the global aid and investment industry. It’s a complex web of interests that spans the earth from powerful nations and multinational corporations to tribal and village leaders. This documentary offers unique insights into a multi-billion dollar world by investigating how aid dollars are spent. Best-selling journalist and author Antony Loewenstein joins award-winning filmmaker Thor Neureiter on a six-year investigation into this world and the ramifications of disaster capitalism in Afghanistan, Haiti and Papua New Guinea. There are ideological, economic, political and corporate connections between all three states. Told through Loewenstein’s eyes and with compelling local characters, we weave them together to show viewers the dark side of Western aid. How did we get here? How can it change and who is leading it? What role and responsibility lies with Western governments? As the long-term journey unfolds, DISASTER CAPITALISM will provide unique insight into one of the most challenging issues of our age.

Thor Neureiter, director and co-producer, is an independent documentary producer, cameraman and editor whose work is focused on contemporary issues concerning US foreign policy and domestic politics. He’s Director of Video at Columbia University in New York. In 2012, Thor’s two most recent films, “Mitt Romney and the Mormon Factor” and “Prosecute Wall Street”, aired on the Al Jazeera English program People & Power. He has worked on programming for FRONTLINE on PBS, including “Showdown with Iran,” Parts One and Two of “News War: Secrets, Sources & Spin,” “The Last Abortion Clinic,” and “The O.J. Verdict.” He has also worked extensively for HBO and began his career working for Ken Burns/Florentine Films as an Assistant Editor in 1999. His documentary “Miracle in New York: The Story of the ’69 Mets” was awarded the 2010 New York Emmy Award.

Antony Loewenstein, writer and co-producer, is an independent journalist who has written for the New York Times, BBC, the Nation, the Washington Post and many others. He’s a Guardian contributor. His latest book is Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe (Verso, 2016) and he’s the author of three best-selling books, My Israel Question, The Blogging Revolution and Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World. He is co-editor of After Zionism and Left Turn and co-writer of For God’s Sake. His books have been translated, and his journalism has been a finalist in many global awards. He appears regularly on Al Jazeera English, the BBC and ABC Australia. He’s currently working on a book about the global “war on drugs”.

Madeleine Hetherton, producer, is an experienced award-winning director and producer working across a wide range of television documentary and top rating factual programs and series. In 2013, she completed producing and directing the ratings success documentary The Surgery Ship (SBS) which follows stories aboard the world’s largest civilian hospital ship as it roams the coast of West Africa. Her long form documentary work includes directing the documentary series Making Babies (SBS) reviewed as ‘fascinating and moving’ (The Age), Beats Across Borders (ABC /Cirque du Soleil) and Love In Our Own Time. Her filmmaking has taken her around the world shooting in challenging locations including diamond diving in Africa, wildlife trafficking in Burma and the remote outback of Australia. Her work has been nominated and won numerous awards including Australian Director’s Guild for Best Directing and Best Contemporary Documentary by the Association of International Broadcasters and best documentary at Sarasota Film Festival.

Producer Rebecca Barry’s driving passion is to facilitate stories, share these with an audience in a creative way and get people thinking. She was director and producer of the feature documentary, I am a Girl, which was launched in cinemas in 2013 to sell-out sessions, and was nominated for four AACTA Awards including Best Direction in a Documentary, as well as a nomination for Best Direction in a Documentary Feature at the Australian Directors Guild Awards. Rebecca was a producer of The Surgery Ship (SBS & National Geographic), Call Me Dad (ABC), Psychics in the Suburbs (ABC) and controversial human rights film The Opposition, and an Impact Producer on feature documentary, Embrace.





I’ve long believed that journalism and documentary film-making should help the public feel greater empathy for the forgotten and silenced in our world. These individuals may be in China, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or South Sudan but the underlying belief remains the same; listen to the people that most in the media ignore. My work over the last 15 years, from Israel/ Palestine to the drug war, has always been about trying to realise this goal.
When I started working on the book and film of Disaster Capitalism, 7 years ago, I imagined visiting Afghanistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and beyond while investigating how there had become a massive, global industry in making money from the world’s misery. Who was making this money and why? How could they get away with it? How was the multi-billion dollar aid industry part of this problem? I wasn’t against aid, then or now, but had spent too many years in developing countries and seen the negative effects of this supposedly benign money.

I started looking for compelling characters to tell this story. Locals who were challenging this broken system. Men and women who rarely received mainstream media attention. As a writer (and presenter in the film), I knew most readers and viewers would never visit these nations and therefore needed a way in to help them understand why they mattered and why their tax dollars, in aid money, was often misspent or mismanaged. I wanted the film to transport viewers into a world they’d often read about in the news but rarely seen in such intimacy and intensity. More than a brief news story, the film aims to reveal the reality of a planet that’s increasingly available to the highest bidder.

With the Trump administration coming into power in Washington, and its stated aim to cut the US aid budget, the film has taken on a new urgency. What should aid be spent on? Who should be engaged? Why is it often failing? Who knows the answers to fix it?

I want viewers to feel empowered after watching the film. The situation isn’t hopeless. They can demand their politicians are more accountable over the aid budget. They will see a country like Afghanistan as more than just a violent war zone. Viewers will see that characters like Javed in Afghanistan, Ruth in Haiti and Theo in Papua New Guinea are the kind of voices that our governments and media should listen to far more than failed leaders and embedded journalists.
There are no easy answers to how our world can be more equitable but too few people are even asking the right questions. As a writer and journalist, Disaster Capitalism is part of an important conversation that doesn’t accept that displacement, war and exploitation are natural states of the world. There is a better way and I hope our film can contribute to this vital discussion.