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Joe Berlinger

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director's Note

“Teaching people financial literacy so they can take control of their destiny is a great goal, so I was happy to sign on to participate in the WE THE ECONOMY series in general, and to be doing this portrait of Wall Street specifically. In making this short film about Wall Street, it was important to me to strike the right balance between recognizing people's justifiable anger over the misdeeds of some on Wall Street and acknowledging the crucial role Wall Street plays in helping Main Street grow and thrive. We all need to better understand and engage with Wall Street. That does not mean I condone the greed and excess that led to the 2008 financial crisis. But I also believe that people will be better off if they understand and engage with Wall Street instead of fearing and avoiding it.

With the American economy improving and the stock market at record highs, the events of 2008 may seem like a distant memory to many, although it was just six years ago. We all watched in horror as the U.S. and then the world faced a financial calamity that wreaked havoc on Main Street and beyond. It was observing that crisis that made me realize just how inextricably Wall Street and Main Street are linked, even for people who don't own stocks and bonds. So for this film, I wanted to attempt to de-mystify Wall Street and encourage people to learn more by taking the discourse surrounding Wall Street out of the hands of propagandists and politicians and offer in its place a view of what Wall Street really is: an integral part of the U.S. economy that impacts all of our daily lives.

On a personal note, some may be surprised to find out that I am a "closet" stock market junkie, but it was a real thrill to film behind the scenes at the New York Stock Exchange and meet the people who work there every day. And it was a pleasure getting to interview some of the financial journalists and other financial players I have admired over the years who have a true knack for speaking about these complicated financial topics in ways we can all understand.”

Short Biography

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker JOE BERLINGER has been a leading voice in nonfiction film and television for two decades. His films include the landmark documentaries “Brother’s Keeper,” “Paradise Lost,” and “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” a film that redefined the rockumentary genre. “Crude” won 22 human rights, environmental and film festival awards and recently triggered a high-profile First Amendment battle with oil giant Chevron. Berlinger’s “Under African Skies” was nominated for three primetime Emmy awards after its 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special. For Netflix and the newly created Business Week Films Berlinger directed and produced “Hank: 5 Years from the Brink.” Most recently, he finished “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” a feature-length documentary produced by CNN Films that was released by Magnolia in June 2014 following its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Six of Berlinger’s documentary features have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and he has received multiple awards from the Directors Guild of America, the National Board of Review and the Independent Spirit Awards. In addition to his feature documentary work, Berlinger, a two-time Emmy and Peabody winner (and five additional Emmy nominations), has created many hours of television as both a producer and director, including the Emmy-winning History Channel series “10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America” and the Emmy-nominated “Gray Matter.” He has directed and produced five seasons of the critically acclaimed Sundance Channel series “Iconoclasts” and directed/executive-produced the first two seasons of the Emmy-nominated “Master Class,” for the Oprah Winfrey Network. His numerous HBO productions include “Addiction,” “Judgement Day,” and “Virtual Corpse,” and he has created series for VH1 and Court TV. Most recently, he finished directing and executive producing “The System with Joe Berlinger,” an eight-part series examining systemic problems within the American justice system for Al Jazeera America that also features Berlinger as the on-camera host. Berlinger’s multiple Emmy-winning “Paradise Lost” series for HBO helped spawn a worldwide movement to free "The West Memphis Three" from wrongful murder convictions, ultimately resulting in a death sentence and two life-without-parole sentences being vacated, allowing the men to finally be released from prison on August 19, 2011. The latest film in the trilogy, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” was nominated for an Oscar in 2012 and was nominated for two primetime Emmy awards. Joe Berlinger is a member of the DGA, the WGA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the National Board of Review.

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