Vaxxed: Controversy at the Tribeca Film Festival
Controversy precedes this years Tribeca Film Festival, which is not unusual for an event that presents challenging and topical films, many dealing with pressing issues. Originally slated for screening at the Festival, Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastropheis a documentary challenging the possible connection between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) and the exponential rise in autism cases.
Robert DeNiro, one of the founding fathers of the Festival, and himself the father of an autistic child, at first welcomed the film hoping to add to the critical discussion about what causes autism. Almost as quickly the film was pulled from the Festival with an explanation that on second thought it doesn’t “further the discussion I had hoped for.”
For whatever reason this happened, and many surmise pressure from Big Pharm or the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), De Niro at least had considered it at one time. There were many other films that never made it that far, however this last minute de-selection only helped raise the awareness of Vaxxed, a film deserving public attention.
Media interest grew and the film was instead picked up by the progressive Cinema Libre distribution house and started theatrical release in New York at the Angelika Theater to sold out audiences and soon to move across the country at a theater near you. The prime mover of the vaccine/autism debate and director of this new film that raises the possible connection, is Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist who has been vilified in the media and now considered to be one of the most despised doctors in the world.
The prime mover of the vaccine/autism debate and director of this new film that raises the possible connection, is Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist who has been vilified in the media and now considered to be one of the most despised doctors in the world.
For at least this reason, and to overcome the tragic failure of the media to address his charges seriously, Wakefield himself, with the assistance of producer Del Bigtree, producer of TVs award winning series, The Doctors, took the initiative and put together this extremely probing and informative cinematic statement. Making a compelling and moving documentary in an oversaturated field of issue-oriented attempts at filmmaking is not an easy task. It’s certainly emotional enough to see parents and their autistic children struggling to survive in a world that all of a sudden went all wrong.
In addition to all the threats healthy people face, these families face the breakdown of communication, violent, emotional and detached behavior that will last and often worsen the rest of their lives. What’s most frightening is that this disease that used to affect 1 in 15,000 children, is now attacking at least 1 in 500 and rising at an increasing rate! If the trend continues the world will have an entirely new and growing segment of society, adults totally unable to function on their own without medication and assistance from the state.
Wakefield and the film itself is not anti-vaccine. Wakefield clarifies that he never stated that MMR caused autism, but that more research is needed, and separate vaccines should be made available, to answer any questions about the possible link. The movie raises many alarming questions about the CDC and its connection to the pharmaceutical industry.
Senior scientist at CDC, and whistleblower, William Thompson is the source of many shocking revelations exposing the CDC’s attempt to coverup critical data showing the higher levels of autism in the African American community, and to mislead the public about the possible connection between MMR and autism. Many parents are interviewed giving unquestionable evidence that their child's behavior changed drastically after taking the MMR inoculation administered between 12-18 months old.
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Rather than investigate claims, it was covered up and Wakefield was made the scapegoat, accused of scaring people out of taking vaccines. His demand to provide the most decisive statistics between vaxxed and nonvaxxed children has gone ignored.
The film also points out that by legally forcing more and more inoculations corporations stand to make billions and the profit motive cannot be ignored. Creating monopolies of certain drugs forces an increase in costs, and lobbying for laws to protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits, are just a couple of the many political controls these giant companies enjoy.
The film ends with four requests from the producer, that people consider demanding the following:
- That Congress subpoena Dr. William Thompson and investigate the CDC fraud.
- That Congress repeal the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and hold manufacturers liable for injury caused by their vaccines.
- That the single measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines be made available immediately.
- That all vaccines be classified as pharmaceutical drugs and tested accordingly.
Vaxxed will screened at the Manhattan Film Festival the same day it was originally scheduled for Tribeca, and is scheduled to play in California and then other theaters across the country.
In the meantime, there are many exciting titles in Tribeca’s lineup which runs from April 14th-24th.
Betting on Zero which examines Wall Street corruption; Do Not Resist about the militarized police forces across America; and The Return dealing with ex-prisoners reabsorption into society, are just a few of the many challenging films to be screened this year in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival.