Briton takes on the documentary world - and Donald Trump

Fri Aug 3, 2012 3:24pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British filmmaker Anthony Baxter learned the hard way what it would take to make his debut feature documentary: Getting arrested, re-mortgaging his house for funding and personally phoning cinema houses to screen his film.

Those might seem like familiar hardships to documentary makers. But add to that mix taking on U.S. business magnate Donald Trump over a proposed $1.5 billion golf and hotel resort in Scotland, and Baxter hesitates when asked whether he would do it once more.

"It has been very difficult, I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again," the former BBC television producer said in an interview. "But I do think it is so important that we hold people in power to account as journalists and filmmakers."

Baxter's "You've Been Trumped" opened in select U.S. cinemas on Friday, more than three years after he picked up his camera when the Scottish parliament overruled a local council in Aberdeenshire to let Trump build two 18-hole golf courses and a 450-room luxury hotel on 1,400 hectares (3,460 acres) of coastal land.

The film portrays Trump as a cartoonish celebrity tycoon pitted against hardy local residents whose lives and homes are disrupted by the project. It also aims to examine the economic benefits of thousands of jobs promised by Trump versus the environmental impact on rare sand dunes in the Menie Estate, which Trump bought in 2005.

"It is a case of being wooed by a ludicrous projection of jobs, the celebrity of Donald Trump and wanting to believe this was going to bring all this prosperity and not safeguarding the land, which is so rare and important to Scotland," Baxter said.

"The locals in the film are doing the job the politicians should have been doing. They were standing by the environment."

The Trump Organization said the film was a "gross misrepresentation of the facts."   Continued...

Businessman Donald Trump plays in the pro-am before the AT&T National PGA Tour golf tournament in Bethesda, Maryland, June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst