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Deirdre V. Lyons,
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Director's commentary from the Sundance Film Festival Site
Below is the Director's note as posted to Sundance and other film festivals as part of the film's info pack. I thought that it was insightful. ----
"Pledge of Allegiance: American Torture Room" is a powerful statement against our country's recent abuse of human rights and a warning to the American people that as our nation's stake in world domination grows larger, the freedoms that we take for granted are quickly eroded in the name of the government maintaining authority. It's politics are frightening and raw. And so I tried to present these observations in a rich and uncomfortable way, bridging the film between political thriller and reality terror, as if Michael Moore had made a horror film with Quentin Tarentino and 60 minutes. The inspiration for much of the film was based on news reports, television specials and uncovered secret torture practices that I learned about over the past few years. I either had to run for office, or I had to make a film. So, like Passolini, I made a film.
The most difficult thing about the making of this movie was the saleability of the final product. We showed the first versions of the script to producers and distributors alike. A lot of big people in the industry loved it, some because of it's politics and others because it wasn't afraid to present the prison and the brainwashing in a gritty and never before seen way (the original script had far more brutal torments than the final film). Also, originally is was to be shot as secret news reel footage. But, the advisors that we had recommended this and that and the final film was altered to be a more narrative, almost genre style film. Some may even call it a horror because it is so horrible. And maybe that's what today's film market demands, an easy to identify film that can slip comfortably into a category for quick sale. But that was not my original intention and I think that this film transcends the genre that the marketplace would like to put it in.
I have to thank my wife Karen who produced this film and also the brilliant efforts of our lead actress, Lena Bookall who did a stunning job. Also, John Forgeham deserve thanks for his performance as the master brainwasher, Mr. Green. John came to us from England (he is a huge star there from his work in "Footballers Wives")and John so loved the film that he did the role for a thousandth of what he usually gets to star in a picture. In fact, so many people came to me during the production of this film asking to be a part of it because they believe in it's message.
It is the most meaningful picture that I have worked on. I hope that it goes a long way."
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