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Interview by Bree Perlman

While media outlets were saturated with AIG backlash and increasingly grim developments both here and abroad we were dancing atop the escapism-happy-place-protective clouds of films like “I love You, Man”, “Adventureland” and “Observe and Report”–guaranteed good natured chuckles in the dark without a care in the world. The same could not be said about the documentaries shown this year. Case in point: “New World Order“, a behind the scenes look at an underground movement of people who want to expose “global elitists”, whom they claim are covertly masterminding a series of destructive events to cause a mass breakdown of the world’s economy and socity.

AUSTIN DAZE: Let’s talk about “global elitists.”

LUKE MYER: That’s sort of the back bone behind the whole New World Order theory; the idea that there is a secret group of people who meet and somehow guide the world one way or another. That’s the New World Order theory proper, and there are different variations, but essentially the theory is that these people are orchestrating some sort of either, social, political or economic collapse on a massive global scale and from the ashes of that they will create a neo-feudal state where the majority of the world, something like 90%, are held at a sub-working class wages—maybe the way old kings and queens or lords did.

AD: So this is a little bit different than just your average conspiracy theorist.

ANDREW NEEL: Just because that term refers to such a broad group. Even within the New World Order group, person to person, you are going to get a slightly different take on what it all means and how it all works.

LM: The whole history, the term “New World Order”, comes from a real place. It’s a term that’s been used since after WWII and after the creation of the UN, a group of global, maybe slightly left leaning people, believed in this world nation. The UN was a stab at that, and George W. Bush used the term, and Kissinger used the term. The term exists; it’s a way for future social and economic organization of the world. Whether or not it’s what the people in our film say it is or whether it’s something else is, up for grabs. It’s for people to research and figure out on their own. What the people in this film believe that the people that use this term want to create this chaos and take control. There are very wealthy people in high places that do steer the world. Whether or not it’s unified or there is a plot there, that’s all up for debate.

AD: It’s a pretty hot topic right now and causing a lot of people to get fired up–I don’t’ know if either one of you saw the Cramer vs. John Stewart feud. Did you find it difficult to keep your feelings out of it?

AN: Not only did we avoid it in the film but we want to avoid it now–getting into any specifics about what we believe to be true or not true. We went to great lengths to not impose any judgment so now for us to come out and say either, “Yes we condone it” or “No, we don’t” is problematic for how people will interpret the film. Obviously we were sympathetic to what they are doing and how they are doing it–their voices are an important thing. It’s important that voices like that exist in a democracy; they hopefully make people think; they make us step back and think about what is going on around us. Was what was happening on Wall Street a conspiracy? It’s a textbook conspiracy. It’s a small group of people getting together and deciding on a certain logic that is going to make them a lot of money that puts a lot of other people at risk. And they did it. They pulled it off and then it fell apart. Anyone who doesn’t think conspiracy is going on all around us all the time is crazy. All that being said, it doesn’t mean that everything the people in the film are claiming is true. What it means is that people should be aware of the fact that conspiratorial behavior is human and that we shouldn’t necessarily always believe what comes out of the press office. Actually now, especially as per your note about John Stewart, and really John Stewart’s point in that argument, is that you can’t believe what mainstream media is saying. They’re not reporting properly. They didn’t report properly on the Iraq situation; they didn’t report properly on the economic situation. What can we trust them to report on?

AD: It’s interesting, the word “conspiracy”. It has such a stigmatized reputation. If you think about what has happened with the economic situation or whatever else…call it conspiracy or call it…

AN:…Motivated human behavior. It’s proven fact that people are doing things behind closed doors that are bad for the rest of us. We should be able to call that conspiracy and not feel like we have just cheapened it in some way.

AD: Tell me about how you found these subjects/

LM: There is a huge, huge pool. Some of the people in the film stand out as celebrities within the conspiracy subculture. People like Alex Jones, and Jim Tucker are people who are known by other people. We found the rest through our producer Tom Davis who has a background as an enthusiast and knew a lot of the theorists. He guided us into our subjects. He gave us a smorgasbord of people and thought about the potential of each one. We steered clear of anyone that went beyond sociopolitical conspiracy. The very term “conspiracy theorist” has become a problem for those people in the movement because it immediately relegates all of their ideas to the fringe which is an unfortunate thing.

AD: Did you have a definite story direction when you started out? Did you know what you were after?

AN: I think it’s an open film. We do nothing to support or deny their claims. We just let them say what they believe. I’m against thesis driven filmmaking. We let this be such a blank slate. With Darkon we had a pretty clear idea of what we thought we would find. We learned things along the way and some things changed along the way. This one is different. It just kind of wrote itself on the wall for us. When we were done and I looked at it, I was like oh that’s what this movie was about. The sum was greater than the parts. In the end what I thought was, this is a film about ideas; it’s a film about how we create and form ideas and constructs in our mind and how those constructs then define our lives; those constructs then define our lives forever. In the end it was an investigation of people and how their ideas have been created.

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