The documentary film Imminent Threat is hoping to increase dialogue regarding the impacts of the War on Terror and possibly foster alliances between the Progressive “Left” and Libertarian “Right.”
Imminent Threat examines Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying, the drone war, the war on journalism and other threats to civil liberties. The film also aims to show how these threats to Americans’ rights were started during the Bush administration and expanded by the Democratic establishment under President Obama.
The film was released on September 4th and is directed by Janek Ambros and executive produced by Academy award nominee James Cromwell. Ambros has previously worked on documentaries covering current events, including 2012’s “Closing Bell”, which examined the 2008 financial collapse and bank bailout through the eyes of a Wall Street broker.
Truth In Media’s Derrick Broze caught up with Ambros to discuss his film and what he hopes to achieve.
Broze: What was the biggest challenge to making this film?
Ambros: Logistically, the biggest challenge of the film was getting all the stock footage. I wanted to use archival footage as a creative asset to the film to experiment with fast cutting, mostly influenced by Sergei Eisenstein and Thelma Schoonmaker. From there, I went on to try to break conventions of editing by freeze frames, sped up shots, dropping frames, dissolves, and various editing techniques.
Content wise, the most challenging was creating a more broad approach to the War on Terror. This isn’t necessarily an investigative documentary, but more a macro look at the longest and most ambiguous War on U.S. history and the impact on civil liberties and law. For this reason, structure (similar to structure of a thesis statement or even a narrative screenplay for that matter) was absolutely key and had to convey the overall point of these issues not being left vs right, rather establishment vs non-establishment
Broze: The film looks at a possible alliance between left and right. What were the challenges in approaching that situation?
Ambros: The most challenging was to remain totally neutral in terms of ‘progressives’ and ‘libertarian.’ The film purposely has three interviewees who are unabashed progressives and three libertarians. This, once again, was essential to make the point that these two cohorts can work together because they have so much overlap in terms of civil liberties and foreign policy.
Broze: Many Americans are familiar with the topics in the film, including the failures of the United State’s foreign policy, the impact of the War on Terror, and the Surveillance State revealed by Edward Snowden. However, unlike other nations, we do not see millions Americans marching in the streets calling for reform. Do you think there is apathy towards awareness of the issues raised in your film?
Ambros: The film focuses on legalities rather than morals. It points out that the Bill of Rights is being abused – whether or not the audience cares about that is hard for me determine. However, through the use of archival, music, atmosphere, and tone, the definitely attempts to convey the importance of civil liberties, rule of law, and a more limited foreign policy. Of course, I was not attempting to make propaganda, but this movie definitely has a point of view and I’ll be the first to admit it.
Broze: If there was to be an alliance of activists and citizens on the left and
right of the political spectrum, what issues do you think would unite these
Ambros: This is the most important element of the film because this is not talked about much. Other than Ralph Nader’s book, I haven’t seen much on the idea of an alliance between progressives and libertarians on specific issues. The issues they overlap on are civil liberties and limited foreign policy. After that, there is not much they agree on and they’re extreme opposites with economics — one more fearful of government, the other more fearful of corporations.
Broze: Is there hope to reform the growing American police and surveillance
Ambros: I think if there are more people willing to put aside differences and focus on specific issues on at a time, then there could be change. But until then, we’ll have the same monotonous argument between the left and right and nothing will ever get done, not just in terms of civil liberties and foreign policy, but in terms of a plan for the U.S. to move forward and
become a genuine leader in the world for peace and prosperity.
Imminent Threat is now available on iTunes and Amazon.