Focuses on the human cost of the Iraq War to contrast corporate-controlled media coverage with independent media.
Directed by Tonje Hessen Schei
Produced by Ground Productions
A film by Tonje Hessen Schei and David Bee
Editor - David Bee
Associate Producers - Annabel Wong and Lowan Stewart
Production Consultant - Lee Lew-Lee
Music - Shining, Sara Thomsen
Independent Intervention is an award-winning documentary about United States media coverage of the conflict in Iraq. Focusing on the human costs of war, it contrasts corporate-controlled media coverage of the invasion of Iraq with independent media reports of the brutal realities on the ground.
"Shows the absolutely critical importance of the independent media." Howard Zinn
Through discussions with media experts including Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Dahr Jamail, Danny Schechter, David Barsamian, Kalle Lasn, Norman Solomon, and James Zogby, the film investigates important issues and systems that govern today's information flow, and shows how these systems of control reveal themselves during times of political turmoil and war.
Independent Intervention also includes commentary by Howard Zinn, Arundhati Roy, Bill Moyers, Michael Moore, and Jeremy Scahill.
WARNING: This film shows images from war.
Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-627-6
"It shows the absolutely critical importance of the independent media, which, in a culture dominated by corporate wealth, gives us hope for democracy."
Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus of History, Boston University
"A damning critique of the mainstream news media's gung-ho coverage of the Iraq invasion."
Joseph Gelmis, Film Critic Emeritus, Newsday
"Tonje Hessen Schei's documentary Independent Intervention is the single most staggering doc yet made about the unholy matrimony of the military-industrial complex and the media. Using corporate newsreels, interviews with journalists, and footage from unembedded correspondents, the film relentlessly stabs its audience with egregious facts about the war in Iraq that have been avoided by mainstream reports. It offers us the sort of unsanitized news that the corporate media have worked so hard to ensure we'd rather ignore. Both painful and empowering, this is a film everyone needs to see."
Sara Schieron, The San Francisco Bay Guardian
"This taut, well-paced documentary, edited by David Bee, explores how the corporate-controlled mass media in our country censor information, at the cost of the democratic process...Schei advances an impassioned clarion call for truth in media about the Iraq Invasion...INDEPENDENT INTERVENTION is a valiant and tenacious treatise by a talented filmmaker in the tradition of Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald. When people see it, it may well contribute to turning the tide and stopping the slaughter in Iraq."
Joan Widdifield, Movie Magazine International
"A well crafted exposé of the effects of media conglomeration on the style, topicality and quality of news...Independent Intervention explores how the merger of showbiz and 'newsbiz' has had a damning impact on the way news is covered...its wider message - that of the need for an independent media - would be of interest to both liberals and conservatives."
"Independent Intervention: Breaking Silence proves effective revealing the large corporate interests of agenda setting through the news media. The documentary demonstrates how the mainstream media: tends to sanitize war; celebrates military prowess; downplays the cost of collateral damage; and fashions stories rich with eye numbing graphics and hard pulsing sound tracks. This so-called 'militainment' displays how a story is 'showcased' is as important as the story itself...This feature calls for a re-democratized press, one that is truly fair and balanced - essential responsibilities journalists have a duty to uphold and the people have a right to demand."
Steve Shlisky, Professor of Media Studies, Laney College
"The main charge here is that the corporate-controlled media 'sanitized' the war, using flashy graphics and music to sell the war in its early days. Presenting several examples, particularly from Fox News, the documentary contends that the mainstream media acted more like the administration's cheerleader squad than sober journalists reporting a war...Independent Intervention raises important issues."
"The chapter describing the intimidation of independent journalists by American forces is particularly interesting...The footage of suffering and death is disturbing and it provokes questions about whether this is a senseless war and, ultimately, what responsibility mainstream American media has had in its promotion...I recommend the film as it quite convincingly conveys that there is another story to the second Iraq war and that independent media has a role to play."
K. Johan Oberg, University of Minnesota, Educational Media Reviews Online
"A hallmark of American society has been mass media that is free from government interference. The producers of this intriguing documentary question that status as they hypothesize that the Federal government, as well as big-moneyed private enterprise, pressure news organizations to misrepresent our Iraq quagmire...[The film] poses a question that should be constantly on our minds: To what degree does mass media attempt to shape public opinion rather than honestly and completely report the facts?...This title will find multiple uses in a variety of curricular settings as well as for independent study."
Dwain Thomas, formerly Lake Park High School, School Library Journal
"Makes a strong case that American media were overly jingoistic in the opening days of the Iraq War and have since tacitly supported it...Recommended for academic libraries supporting journalism and communications programs."
Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon University Library, Library Journal
"This film is an attempt to shatter illusions. It is a wake up call and an acknowledgment that we have a right to know and see, and further that we have a duty to seek out the truth. It's a confirmation that antiwar sentiment is not deviant and that we're not alone, and a reminder that the world is watching us...I would recommend this film for students of journalism or film and media studies or political science majors, as well as any American citizen who considers herself to be well-informed on the situation in Iraq."
Independent Intervention website
Independent Intervention trailer (QuickTime)
Awards and Festivals
Roy W. Dean Finishing Award
Bronze Audience Award, Amnesty International Canada Traveling Film Festival
National Women's Studies Association Film/Video Series
Through Women's Eyes, UNIFEM's International Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival
Moondance International Film Festival
Amnesty International Film Festival, Sweden
Global Peace Film Festival
Longbaugh Film Festival
Hearts & Minds Film Festival
Argus Human Rights Festival
World Community Film Festival
Mid Valley Film Festival, Salem, OR
Global Justice Film Festival
Middle Eastern Studies
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