Amidst the air-kissing affectation of events along Cannes’ La Croisette, a couple of things stand out in my MIPCOM memories for 2009. Attending AETN International’s party to celebrate its distribution, as well as international format and short form rights, of the film ‘The People Speak’, were co-directors Chris Moore and Dr Anthony Arnove. Dr Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’ was the original inspiration for ‘The People Speak’ which comprises dramatic performances chronicling the history of the US from celebrities including Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Marisa Tomei and Don Cheadle – woven together with archival footage and interviews. It was inspiring to meet Arnove, who, with Zinn, co-wrote ‘Voices of a People’s History of the United States’, and to hear how the people without a voice had finally been given a voice. And the format, to be developed for the UK by actor Colin Firth, made a refreshing change from half-naked wannabes eating insects, or ever more ingenious ways to propel contestants into murky water. Also inspirational, albeit in a different way, were Matt Groening and Al Jean, in Cannes to promote ‘The Simpsons’ twentieth year. I asked about their boundaries on the show, particularly with references to Fox, parent company News Corp and its proprietor Rupert Murdoch. Al Jean replied that the network, and Mr Murdoch, seemed to enjoy being mentioned in the show. “They do tend to object to anything that might upset the advertisers though,” added Groening.
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