Filmmaker puts American debt in Sundance spotlight

Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:31am EST
 
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By Mary Milliken

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - "I.O.U.S.A." may not be the sexiest film at the Sundance Film Festival, but it could be the most timely as the documentary about deepening U.S. debt problems debuted in a week of tumbling financial markets and heightened fears of recession.

Director Patrick Creadon, who made The New York Times crossword puzzle fun on film in his documentary "Wordplay," calls "I.O.U.S.A." a primer for ordinary Americans on the financial state of an economy saddled by a rapidly growing federal debt.

"It is a scary story made more scary by the fact that most people in America don't understand what the problems are," Creadon told Reuters. "We think our country is in a lot of trouble."

If Americans don't stop spending beyond their means, Creadon says the country faces an economic disaster of epic proportions in which the government cannot honor its obligations, like bond payments and Social Security benefits.

"I.O.U.S.A.," based on the book "Empire of Debt," may be to the U.S. economy what "An Inconvenient Truth" was to the environment. The Oscar-winning documentary premiered two years ago at Sundance, the top venue for independent film and documentaries.

In "An Inconvenient Truth," former Vice President Al Gore offered his touring slideshow on global warming and made a compelling case for people to push their politicians to pass legislation to help clean the environment.

Similarly, "I.O.U.S.A." teaches its lessons on America's perilous economic future by featuring the "fiscal wake-up tour" spearheaded by U.S. Comptroller General David Walker on a speaking tour in dozens of cities.

DEBT CAN BE FUNNY?   Continued...

 
<p>Concord Coalition executive director Bob Bixby (L) and Comptroller General of the U.S. Dave Walker are pictured in the documentary film " I.O.U.S.A." from director Patrick Creadon, in this undated publicity photograph. REUTERS/Agoura Entertainment/Handout</p>