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Laura Poitras Whitney Biennial Surveillance Teach-In Handouts
Poitras-The Program http://nyti.ms/OxyaoB Smallman Law PLLC no longer represents Praxis Films and Laura Poitras. Her#documentary #THEOATH inexplicably failed to refer to ongoing#AlQaedainYemen notwitstanding journalistic evidence of such conduct. Only Laura Poitras herself can explain her conduct and her laudautory credentials as a accurate recorder of documentary history cry out for explanation of her role in Yemen.
Coverage of 20 April 2012 event and Laura Poitras Whitney Biennial Surveillance Teach-In Handouts.
Laura Poitras Jacob Appelbaum William Binney Whitney Biennial 2012 Surveillance
False Sense of Security Tor Yemen Misleading Narrative The Oath
The Law in These Parts
Laura Poitras, Jacob Appelbaum and William Binney presented a ”Surveillance Teach-In” at the Whitney Biennial on April 20, 2012. Two handouts were distributed at the fervid event, including a purported list of “[p]ossible domestic NSA interception points.”
Poitras and Appelbaum are working together on the third part of her trilogy about the Post-9/11 United States, which appears to focus on concerns about loss of privacy through widespread covert interception of voluntary electronic communications. Appelbaum implored the audience to use Tor and other methods to avoid surveillance, but appeared to acknowledge that reliance upon such tools might create a false sense of security from data mining. Appelbaum also repeatedly expressed outrage during his extensive remarks at U.S. efforts to thwart the influence of AQAP through drone attacks on Anwar al-Awaki:
Poitras produced and directed THE OATH, which at the time of its release seemed to present a complex, nuanced view of a former Al-Qaeda operative, Abu Jandal, in Yemen. http://www.pbs.org/pov/oath/filmmaker_statement.php. Subsequent events, however, suggest that Poitras presented an unfortunately misleading narrative that apparently missed the actual story of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penisula (AQAP) activities in Yemen. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11483095.
Poitras was also executive producer of THE LAW IN THESE PARTS. http://www.thelawfilm.com/eng
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Undisclosed Personal Relationship Between Film Critic John Anderson and Participant Media Documentary Executive Diane Weyermann Raises Ethical Issues for Film Reviews
Transparency Intl News Service Investigation
For Immediate Release: 1 May 2012
Documentary Film Industry Hot Docs Mogul Award Film Reviews
Film Critic Ethics Hot Docs Anti-Corruption
Diane Weyermann John Anderson
Diane Hope Weyermann Toronto International Film Festival TIFF TIFF12
John Patrick Anderson Documentaries Participant Media State 194
Salam Fayyad Press Conference September 11, 2012 Elise Pearlstein George Soros
Jeff Skoll M.F.A. Resume enhancement Columbia College Chicago
Beverly Hills Waiting for Superman Davis Guggenheim
Undisclosed Personal Relationship Between Film Critic John Anderson and Participant Media Documentary Executive Diane Weyermann Raises Ethical Issues for Film Reviews
Film critic John Patrick Anderson, last year’s chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, has been writing rave reviews in Variety and other major publications of his former live-in lover’s controversial documentary films for more than six years without disclosing their personal relationship. Most major publications, including the NY Times and the Washington Post, have ethical guidelines prohibiting such conduct. Anderson’s lover was Diane Hope Weyermann, who is Exec. V.P. of Documentary Films for Participant Media, a Beverly Hills film company owned by billionaire Jeff Skoll. Weyermann, a recently elected member of Motion Picture Academy, has acknowledged that she is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for overseeing the slate of documentaries that Participant produces and favorable film reviews by major critics are often crucial to box office success for docs. It is unknown whether Participant Media was informed by Weyermann of her sexual relationship with Anderson or whether her management is aware of any financial or other benefit Anderson is allegedly bestowing on Weyermann and Participant or receiving from Weyermann by reviewing her films without disclosing their close personal relationship.
In addition to the ethical questions about Anderson’s reviews of Weyermann’s films, it has also been learned that throughout Weyermann’s career, she has repeatedly mingled her personal life and professional work relationships. This includes three marriages and divorces and at least three subsequently undisclosed romantic relationship since 2000. In addition to film critic John Anderson, informed sources have disclosed that Weyermann also had romantic relationships with Israeli film director Dan Setton, whose film about the Palestinian peace process, State 194, scheduled for film festival release in 2012, is co-financed by Participant Productions and produced by Weyermann, and most recently with former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson’s lawyer, David B. Smallman. Smallman had helped recruit Plame for Weyermann’s 2010 film “Countdown to Zero.” Their affair ended in November 2011 after, among other things, Smallman declined to provide funds Weyermann had sought for a down payment on a $900,000 house in Venice.
It has also been learned through public records that Weyermann never obtained an M.F.A. from the Columbia College Chicago Film school, but only attended for more than five years, between 1987 and 1992. Claims appearing in the press and elsewhere suggest that Weyermann was aware of the false enhancement of her resume and either supported it or omitted to correct the erroneous information.
Diane Weyermann, Exec. V.P Participant Media
John Anderson, Film Critic
While precise figure are kept private, Participant spends heavily on its activist documentary films and is a for-profit entertainment company that seeks box office returns on its investments. As recognized by ethical rules of major news organizations and film critic organizations, failure to disclose personal bias to filmgoers who are evaluating their entertainment choices is generally prohibited without disclosure because biased reviews can have the effect of unfairly promoting ticket sales – in essence, providing deceptive or misleading information to consumers. In this instance, for a period of approximately seven years, documentary film audiences have been deceived based upon the hidden personal relationship between commissioning editor/Executive Producer Weyermann and film critic Anderson. For example, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle guidelines expressly prohibit “reviewing films in which you, or someone you know well, has a creative or financial interest without disclosing that information in the review.” <http://www.kcfcc.org/guidelines.html>
In 2005 Anderson shared the same Hollywood Hills home of Weyermann, 2411 El Contento Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Anderson also dedicated his book on Edward Yang to her: Preface and Acknowledgments: “On a more highly personal note, I’d like to thank my daughters, Kellye, Maureen, and Sophie, for their love, and Diane Weyermann for everything she granted me.” <http://books.google.com/books?id=oQ-5EwgDUmQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=john+anderson+yang&hl=en&sa=X&ei=IXyVT42oHaKqiQK_u6naDw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=john%20anderson%20yang&f=false>
In 2006 Anderson was arrested and convicted for “willfully and unlawfully driving and taking a vehicle.” (Note: not Weyermann’s.) Accordingly to Weyermann, a similar incident had occurred with her own car and Mr. Anderson, but she had declined to press charges. Anderson’s sentencing included taking eleven anger management classes. Weyermann and Anderson continued a relationship through 2009, when Anderson punched producer Jeff Dowd while having breakfast with Weyermann at the Sundance Film Festival. <http://edendale.typepad.com/weblog/2009/01/dowd-on-todays-fight-the-necessity-to-stop-an-illinformed-review-trumps-anything-else.html> According to Weyermann, Anderson has subsequently sought to renew his personal relationship with Weyermann.
Undisclosed Bias and Potential Effects
Weyermann is scheduled to receive the 2012 Hot Doc Mogul Award at a luncheon in her honor on May 1 in Toronto. http://www.hotdocs.ca/index.php/conference/industry_events_schedule/doc_mogul_award/ It is is unknown whether the Hot Docs Board of Directors presenting the award to Weyermann considered the issue of bias and the possibility of financial corruption arising from Anderson’s uniformly laudatory reviews of Weyermann’s social action documentaries without disclosure of their close personal relationship. Weyermann has acknowledged meeting with Anderson prior to his positive review of her documentary “Last Call at the Oasis” and an email message obtained by TNS shows that Weyermann subsequently obtained from Anderson a highly favorable review of her film “Last Call at the Oasis:”
Date: Sat, 10 Sep 2011 16:29:22 +0000
Got a great review (John…) this morning.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Examples of Anderson’s reviews, none of which disclose his close personal relationship with Weyermann include: “Chicago 10” (NY Times) 11/26/06), “Food Inc.” (Variety, 9/11/08), “Waiting for Superman,” (Variety, 1/23/10; Newsday, Guggenheim interview, 10/14/10), “Casino Jack”) (NY times 4/23/10) “Standard Operating Procedure,” (NY Times, 4/20/08), “Countdown to Zero,” (Variety, 1/25/10), “Last Call at the Oasis,” (Variety, 9/10/11) and “Finding North.” (Variety, 1/24/12) (retitled “A Seat at the Table”).
In contrast to Anderson’s reviews, which primarily avoid or ignore negative comments, reviews by other film critics refer to paid interviews, reenactments, and other factual distortions, overstatements due to the activist nature of the films, or factual inaccuracies For example, other reviewers provide more balanced commentary: “Finding North” (Hollywood Reporter, 2/1/12; http://www.cine-vue.com/2012/04/sundance-london-2012-finding-north.html (Cine Vue), “Waiting for Superman” (Village Voice http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-09-22/film/ignoring-the-inconvenient-truths-in-waiting-for-superman/, “Standard Operating Procedure” (NY Times 4/25/08) <http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/movies/25stan.html?pagewanted=all>.
NY Times’ Reporter Michael Cieply Questions Weyermann’s Ethics
At last year’s Toronto Film Festival, NY Times journalist Michael Cieply wrote a story that suggested Weyermann had herself crossed an ethical line by using the press to amplify her social action messages. (NY Times, Sept. 13, 2011) In response Weyermann accused Cieply of being intellectually dishonest and intentionally distorting the meaning of what she said.
However, it was not the first time that Weyermann’s approach to documentary filmmaking at Participant had been questioned: Cieply also wrote about her use of paid interviews in Errol Morris’s documentary “Standard Operating Procedure,” an approach that is anathema in journalism circles but which Weyermann defended: “It’s not all that uncommon, it’s just something most people don’t talk about,” said Weyermann. (NY Times, 4/26/08)
Weyermann has stated that she does not consider herself to be a “mogul,” and frequently makes films championing social justice issues, Weyermann has been described in the New York Times as the “Queen of Sundance, where she oversaw the Soros/Sundance documentary film fund and dispensed millions of dollars to documentary filmmakers worldwide during her tenure there. Weyermann herself lives an extravagant life style and spent more than $1 million on a real estate buying spree after starting work for Participant Media in 2004. Public records reveal that Weyermann purchased a Hollywood Hills home in November 2004 for $842,500 (mortgage $542,000). The house was recently sold at loss $137,000 loss on March 2012 for $705,000. In December 2004, Weyermann purchased a vacation home on Amelia Island, Florida for $266,000 (mortgage $159,600.) <http://www.trulia.com/homes/California/Los_Angeles/sold/4063787-2411-El-Contento-Dr-Los-Angeles-CA-90068> http://www.nassauclerk.com/publicrecords/oncoreweb/showdetails.aspx?id=573283&rn=4&pi=0&ref=search Based upon these transactions, Weyermann apparently owed her mortgage banks during 2011 $701,000 out of $1,108,500 for the 2004 purchases of her Hollywood Hills and Amelia Island houses. With the sale at a $137,000 loss of her Hollywood Hills property in March 2012, the estimated equity that Weyermann would have arising from her post-Patricipant Media real estate buying spree in 2004 would have decreased in value from approximately $407,500 in 2011 to $270,000 as of March 2012.
Family and Eductional Background
Diane Hope Weyermann was born on September 23, 1955. Raised in St. Louis, Mo., Wilimette, Ill, Chicago, and Raleigh, North Carolina, Weyermann’s father, Andrew, was a parish and pastor evangelical minister. Weyermann became fluent in German when she traveled there to attend school during a pastoral assignment. After Andrew Weyermann’s first wife died, he remarried. When he died on September 6, 2003, he apparently left his estate to his current wife, effectively disinheriting his four children.
Undergraduate Education: Weyermann attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in Public Affairs and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree on May 8, 1977. Weyermann then obtained a J.D. degree from St. Louis University in 1981, but was not admitted to the Illinois Bar until 1983. She apparently failed to register with the bar authorities and subsequently “retired” from practice after approximately four years. Weyermann then attended Chicago Columbia College film school from 1987 to 1992, but never graduated (see below).
Three Marriages and Divorces and Mixing of Personal Life with Employment Responsibilities
According to public records and other informed sources, Weyermann, who was married and divorced three times and had at least three post-marital relationships since her last divorce in 2000, has historically mixed her personal life with aspects of her employment responsibilities.
Weyermann’s first marriage was to Thomas E. Kennedy, III, a lawyer with whom she worked for the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. (Missouri Public Record: Thomas E. Kennedy III filed for dissolution of marriage against Diane Hope Weyermann in St. Louis City (Missouri) Circuit Court (22d Circuit on May 19, 1987, case no. 22873-01703. The dissolution of marriage petition was filed without children having been born of the marriage on December 14, 1987; the judgment of dissolution was granted.)
Accordingly to published report and confirmed by Weyermann, during the 1990s, while still attending film school, she traveled to Russia to direct and produce a film titled “Moscow Women – Echoes of Yaroslavna.” Accepted for showing at the IDFA documentary film festival in Amsterdam, the film failed to win any awards there.
In 1994, Weyermann was hired by George Soros at the Open Society Institute to be director of its Culture and the Arts Program in New York, where she worked for seven years. http://www.soros.org/resources/events/documentary_20060618/filmcatalog_20061012.pdf. <http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/default.asp?page_id=2&cat_id=17> During part of that time, Weyermann was married to Philip Bein, lived in New Jersey, and changed her name to Diane Weyermann Bein. The marriage ended on October 1, 1998. (New Jersey Public Record Source: Philip L. Bein filed a divorce action in Family Court in Monmouth County, New Jersey against Diane Hope Weyermann on July 7, 1998. The final judgment of divorce was granted on October 1, 1998. The docket number is FM1300005599A.)
Subsequently, Weyermann married Dranzen Pantic, who was co-founder and Program Director of the Center for Advanced Media in Prague, established in 1998 by the Open Society Institute at the same time that Weyermann was traveling overseas with Pantic on behalf of OSI. http://bitnik.org/pipermail/nettime/1998-March/014056.html or http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9809/msg00150.html (New York Public Records:
Drazen Pantic was granted a divorce from Dianne Weyermann in New York County, New York on 6/5/2000. The uncontested matrimonial action was filed on 5/1/2000. The case number is 306291/2000.)
After seven years working for Soros, Weyermann moved with the Soros documentary fund in 2001 to the Sundance Institute, which one commentator asserts provided cover for OSI’s politically motivated funding of international documentaries. <http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=9685> Approximately four years later, in April 2004, Weyermann departed the not-for-profit world to her present position as Exec. V.P., Documentary Films at Participant Media. <http://www.documentary.org/magazine/new-doc-leader-participant-diane-weyermann>
Three Romantic Relationships Related to Participant Media Work Obligations After 2000
As noted above, in addition to Weyermann’s post-martial sexual relationship with film critic John Patrick Anderson, Weyermann, according to knowledgeable sources, also had a romantic affair with Israeli film director Dan Setton. <http://www.participantmedia.com/films/coming_soon/state_194.php> It is unknown whether Weyermann has disclosed her personal relationship with Setton to Participant Media for any conflict of interest purposes. <http://www.highlight.co.il/upload/hanna%20filmography.pdf>
Also accordingly to knowledgeable sources, Weyermann had a recent romantic relationship with Valerie Plame Wilson’s lawyer, David B. Smallman, which began in March 2011 at the True/False Documentary Film Festival. Smallman had helped recruit Plame for Weyermann’s 2010 film “Countdown to Zero,” and also represented documentary filmmakers that worked with Weyermann. Their affair ended acrimoniously in November 2011 after, among other things, Smallman declined to provide funds Weyermann had sought for a down payment on a $900,000 house in Venice.
Claimed M.F.A. from Film School Never Awarded
Weyermann appears to have either ignored misrepresentations or allowed others to misrepresent her film school record. Numerous announcements and stories assert that Weyermann has an M.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago film school (e.g. Anthony Kaufman, “The Gatekeepers,” Daily Variety, January 14, 2004). but the school confirmed that she attended for five+ years without obtaining a degree (from 2/16/1987 to 5/30/1992, under the name “Dianne Weyermann”).
Name On School’s Records: DIANNE WEYERMANN
Date Awarded…………: N/A
Degree Title…………: No Degree — Enrollment Only
Official Name of School.: COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO
Major Course(s) of Study: FILM & VIDEO
Dates of Attendance…..: 02/16/1987 to 05/30/1992
Numerous published sources show that Weyermann knew or should have known about claims regarding the non-existent M.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago that she, in fact, never received:
1. “The gatekeepers.” Daily Variety, January 14, 2004.
2.“Diane Weyermann, director of documentary filmmaking programs, Sundance Institute.” Daily Variety, July 29, 2005.
3.“Action! Columbia College remakes its film school.” The Chicago Tribune, April 4, 2010.