James Scurlock’s Maxed Out, an expose documentary on the American debt industry that showed yeserday at South by Southwest,
anger and saddens and calls to action all at once,” says HE columnist Moises Chiullan. “It follows the trail of the debt business through the lives of a broad range of Americans, but the killer testimony comes from Harvard’s Dr. Elizabeth Warren when she expounds upon the grave seriousness of new debt legislation and the fact that low income consumers who are almost completely incapable of repaying are precisely the debtors that credit companies want. Warren says she was told by a high-ranking executive in the finance industry that bankruptcy filers are their best targets for two reasons: (1) they have a taste for credit, and (2) they can’t file for bankruptcy again. The friendliness betweek the Bush II administration and the debt industry is profound, and explored fully in the debt legislation recently passed in addition to Bush’s appointment of Larry Thompson, a former President of Providian Financial (the Enron of creditors), as the nation’s debt czar. Shortly after his appointment, Thompson was under investigation by the Justice Department. Maxed Out is going to be one of the most talked-about films of the festival, I’m sure. A friend says it won’t be acquired because its target is influential people with money. I respectfully disagree. People from both sides of the aisle will be all over it once it’s out and viewable.”