Teaching Fellow Dr Matthew Alford from Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies has co-authored a book and features in a film on government manipulation of the US screen entertainment industry, both available on 27 June.
The book National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood draws on documents acquired by Tom Secker of Spyculture.com and Dr Alford under the Freedom of Information Act which show that US security has worked on over 800 films and 1,000 television shows through bodies such as the Pentagon Entertainment Liaison Office.
For the first time the book shows the political script changes on blockbusting franchises including Iron Man, Transformers and Meet the Parents.
Dr Alford says: “When we first began investigating, there was next to nothing in available scholarship to indicate that the US government had ever interfered with the political direction of movies and television shows, and to suggest this would have been dismissed as a paranoid exaggeration. This work shows that such dismissals are no longer appropriate.”
The film released the same day, The Writer with No Hands: Final Cut, examines the disappearance of a Hollywood screenwriter who vanished after completing his final screenplay.
Directed by William Westaway and featuring Dr Alford, the film’s release coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the screenwriter’s disappearance. An earlier cut of the film premiered at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto in 2014 and went on to win the Tablet of Honor at the Ammar Popular Film Festival.
The book is on sale through Amazon for an introductory price of US$3 for the remainder of June and The Writer with No Hands: Final Cut is available online which will also expire at the end of the month.