By Adam Frazier
An attorney stops paying his mortgage and heads to Las Vegas in a Winnebago, with some unemployed friends joining him to help blow stacks of cash partying and gambling.
While this may sound like a pitch for The Hangover Part III, director Sean Fahey’s film isn’t a fictional narrative. Bailout is a finalist for Best Documentary at the Charlotte Film Festival.
Bailout examines the various frauds committed by major banks on the American middle class. Executive producer and lead writer John Titus, a native of North Carolina, wanted to showcase the film in the shadow of Bank of America’s headquarters.
“If there’s a bank responsible for more illegal foreclosures than B of A, I’ve never heard of it,” said Titus. “The only thing propping up the biggest welfare baby in Dixieland is a completely corrupt political process.”
Titus, a patent lawyer whose father was involved in this state's Republican politics, explained that he made the movie largely to combat the myths surrounding the financial crisis. “The line from both political parties was that the crash in 2008 wasn’t foreseeable and that the big banks just had to be bailed out,” he says. “Both notions are totally ridiculous but are gospel among the talking heads.
“I needed an outlet," he continued. "The media has tried to ignore or explain away the widespread criminality by banks that’s destroying this country, to put it bluntly. And both political parties condone it.”
On their way to Las Vegas, Titus and his friends interviewed victims of the foreclosure crisis, as well as financial experts. The documentary features several recognizable figures, including philosopher Noam Chomsky, author and Occupy Wall Street champion Chris Hedges, and MSNBC show host Dylan Ratigan.
(The Charlotte Film Festival will be held March 5-27. Bailout screens at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, at Epicentre Theaters at Mez, 210 East Trade Street. Tickets, which are $10 and include complimentary parking for 3 hours, can be purchased at the festival’s website here. Go here for the film's website.)