Inside Job: Poignant Docu, Highlight of Cannes Film Fest

From Oscar-Award nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, who made one of the most poignant docus about the Iraq War, “No End In Sight,” comes “Inside Job,” the first chronicle to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008.

The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, Inside Job” traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

Narrated by Matt Damon, “Inside Job” was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

Fergusson’s Goal

My film attempts to provide a comprehensive portrayal of an extremely important and timely subject: the worst financial crisis since the Depression, which continues to haunt us via Europe’s debt problems and global financial instability. It was a completely avoidable crisis; indeed for 40 years after the reforms following the Great Depression, the United States did not have a single financial crisis. However, the progressive deregulation of the financial sector since the 1980s gave rise to an increasingly criminal industry, whose “innovations” have produced a succession of financial crises. Each crisis has been worse than the last; and yet, due to the industry’s increasing wealth and power, each crisis has seen few people go to prison. In the case of this crisis, nobody has gone to prison, despite fraud that caused trillions of dollars in losses. I hope that the film, in less than two hours, will enable everyone to understand the fundamental nature and causes of this problem. It is also my hope that, whatever political opinions individual viewers may have, that after seeing this film we can all agree on the importance of restoring honesty and stability to our financial system, and of holding accountable those to destroyed it.

Interviewees (The Cast)

William Ackman – Managing partner, founder, and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management. He is known as an activist investor whose 2007 presentation “Who Is Holding the Bag?” was one of the first warnings about the impending crisis.

Daniel Alpert – Founding Managing Director of Westwood Capital with more than 30 years of investment banking experience, and a frequent commentator on economic policy and financial regulation. Jonathan Alpert – Licensed psychotherapist who treats a broad range of issues including career and workplace concerns. His clients include many financial executives and also a number of women who formerly were prostitutes whose clients were financial executives.

John Campbell – Department chair of Harvard University’s Department of Economics. Campbell has received various honors including President, American Finance Association, 2006; Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2000-present; Fellow, Econometric Society, 1990–present, Honorary Fellow, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, 2008.

Kristin Davis – Best known as the “Madam” to countless investment bankers, Davis was convicted of promoting prostitution and served 4 months on Riker’s Island.

Martin Feldstein – The George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research where he served as President and CEO from 1977-1982 and 1984 – 2008. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Reagan Administration. Under George W. Bush’s administration, he was appointed to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He served on the board of both AIG and AIG Financial Products from 1988 -2009.

Jerome Fons –Served as Managing Director of Credit Policy at Moody’s Investor Services, where he was also a member of the Credit Policy Committee. He is currently a consultant specializing in credit risk applications and litigation support.

Barney Frank – Democratic Representative for the state of Massachusetts who has served in the 4th congressional district since 1981. Frank became the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007 which oversees the entire financial services industry including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

Robert Gnaizda – General Counsel, Policy Director, and former President of the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley, California. A graduate of Columbia College and Yale Law School, he has been known as an advocate of social justice for over 40 years.

Michael Greenberger – Since July 2001, Michael Greenberger has been a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law where he teaches a course entitled “Futures, Options and Derivatives.” He serves as the technical advisor to the Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System. He was a partner for more than 20 years in the Washington, D.C. law firm, Shea & Gardner, where he served as lead litigation counsel before courts of law nationwide, including the United States Supreme Court. In the Clinton Administration, Greenberger was Director of Trading & Markets for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, reporting to its Chairwoman, Brooksley Born, when Born attempted to regulate derivatives.

Eric Halperin – Special Counsel for Fair Lending at the U.S. Department of Justice and former director of the Washington Office and Litigation at Center for Responsible Lending. Glenn Hubbard – Chief Economic Advisor during the Bush Administration and current Dean of the Columbia University Business School. A supply-side economist, Hubbard was instrumental in the design of the 2003 Bush Tax cuts. The design was heavily opposed by economists. Hubbard is on the board of Met Life, was previously on the board of Capmark, and has consulted to many financial services firms. He has written many articles advocating deregulation of financial services.

Simon Johnson – An expert on financial and economic crises, Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC. From March 2007 – August 2008, he was Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He is co-author of the book “13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and The Next Financial Meltdown” and a co-founder of baselinescenario.com.

Christine Lagarde – The French Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs, Industry and Employment. She has also served as France’s Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, as well as Trade Minister. She was the first woman to ever become the Economic Minister of a G8 nation.

Jeffrey Lane – CEO of Modern Bank, and former Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns Asset Management. Former VP of Lehman Brothers, a member of the Office of the Chairman, Co-Chairman of Lehman Brothers Asset Management and Alternatives Division, and Chairman and CEO of Neuberger Berman, Inc.

Andrew Lo – Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the director of MIT’s Laboratory for Financial Engineering. He is the author of “Hedge Funds: An Analytic Perspective” and co-author of “The Econometrics of Financial Markets” and “A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street.”

Lee Hsien Loong – The current Prime Minister of Singapore, a position he has held since 2004. Previously, he was the Chairman of the Monetary Reserve of Singapore and he also served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Minister of Finance.

Andri Magnason – An I
celandic filmmaker and the author of “Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation,” and producer of “Dreamland,” a documentary about Iceland’s environmental and financial problems.

David McCormick – Former Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Treasury from 2007-2009. Prior to that, he served as Deputy National Security Advisor to the President for International Economic Affairs. Before that, he had been the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, and he is currently on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College as a Distinguished Service Professor of Information Technology, Public Policy and Management at the Washington, DC campus. He graduated from West Point, served in the first Gulf War, and then became a software executive before entering government.

Lawrence McDonald – McDonald is a co-writer of “A Colossal Failure of Common Sense,” a book on the fall of Lehman Brothers. From 2004 to 2008, McDonald served as Vice President of Distressed Debt and Convertible Securities Trading at Lehman Brothers.

Harvey Miller – Called “the most prominent bankruptcy lawyer in the nation” by the New York Times, Miller is a partner at Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLC, where he created the firm’s Business Finance and Restructuring Department specializing in distressed business entities.

Frederic Mishkin – American economist and professor at Columbia Business School, Mishkin was a member of the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2008. In 2006, he was paid $124,000 by the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce to write a report praising Iceland’s financial sector.

Charles Morris – Author of “The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers and the Great Credit Crash,” which analyzes the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the economy as a whole. He was the one of the people who predicted the crisis before it happened.

Frank Partnoy – Professor of Law at the University of San Diego specializing in corporate law, corporate finance and financial market regulation. Partnoy previously worked as an investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley. He is the author of “The Match King: The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals.”

Raghuram Rajan – An economist and Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. In 2005, while serving as chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he delivered a controversial paper criticizing the financial sector entitled “Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier” which argued that disaster loomed. The paper, which proved accurate, was aggressively criticized by Larry Summers, then the president of Harvard, and currently director of the National Economic Council in the Obama Administration.

Kenneth Rogoff – Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University and the co-author of Foundations of International Macroeconomics. Rogoff has previously worked as Economic Counselor and Director of the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund and served as an economist on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Allan Sloan – Journalist who wrote for Fortune Magazine about the market, the crisis, and the wrongdoing that led to the financial crisis.

Ubini – Professor of Economics at the Stern eng – Chief Advisor to the China Banking George Soros- is a Hungarian-American currency speculator, stock investor, businessman, philanthropist, and political activist. He became known as “the man who broke the bank of England” after he made a reported $1 billion during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis. He is founder and chair of the Open Society Institute / Soros Foundation.

Eliot Spitzer – Lawyer and former politician. He served as the 54th Governor of New York (Democrat) from January 2007 until his resignation on March 17, 2008. Prior to being elected governor, Spitzer served as New York State Attorney General. While serving as attorney general, Spitzer initiated a series of major lawsuits against all of the major U.S. investment banks, alleging fraud in their handling of stock recommendations, which resulted in settlements totaling $1.4 billion.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Current Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and former Minister for Finance, Economy and Industry, France.

Scott Talbott – Top lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable. The Roundtable lobbies on behalf of 100 of the top banks, credit card companies, insurance and securities firms operating in the U.S. Its membership includes many bailed-out banks including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and PNC.

Gillian Tett – British author and award-winning journalist at the Financial Times, where she is the U.S. managing editor. She is the author of Fool’s Gold, which traced the development of the CDO market and its rthe financial cris Paul Volcker – An American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Carter and Reagan from 1979 – 1987. He currently serves as Chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board under President Obama. Martin Wolf – Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times.

Gylfi Zoega – Faculty Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Iceland.