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The Great Global Assembly Line: film shoot for Planet USA

Downtown Santa Cruz was used to illustrate global economics in a satirical scene for the upcoming film "Planet USA." Fat cats and corporate swine moved sweatshop operations from Mexico to China, pursuing profits, assisted by Profit Man and Greed Girl and American military.

Large wads of oversized $100 bills sprinkled the streets of Santa Cruz on Saturday, March 6th, as corporate pigs celebrated their profits. With a curious public audience looking on, an independent film crew converged on downtown Santa Cruz to film the latest installment in the docudrama Planet USA. Part satirical theatre, part educational film, Planet USA examines the disastrous global effects of current American economic, cultural, and military imperialism.

Filming on the Planet USA project began July, 2003 when Director/Producer Marlene Winell organized 50 activists who participated in the Redwood City July 4th parade, the largest in Northern California. Under the auspices of "celebrating American contributions to world culture," the group utilized humor, satire and street theater in creating a float to "celebrate" Americas military, economic, and cultural domination around the globe.

Video: Download the Trailer of Planet USA
"The Great Global Assembly Line" takes to the streets in a scene for Planet USA
Corporate pig.jpg

Large wads of oversized $100 bills sprinkled the streets of Santa Cruz on Saturday, March 6th, as corporate pigs celebrated their profits. With a curious public audience looking on, an independent film crew converged on downtown Santa Cruz to film the latest installment in the docudrama Planet USA. Part satirical theatre, part educational film, Planet USA examines the disastrous global effects of current American economic, cultural, and military imperialism.
The Great Global Assembly Line, photo by Bob Fitch.jpg


Saturdays shoot focused primarily on enacting the global assembly line, referring to the way goods are manufactured and distributed in todays world. The action showed how transnational corporations use deplorable sweatshop conditions to get rich while poor countries stay poor. The cast included caricatures of President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, fat cats and corporate swine. A group of well-dressed Corporate Buddies of Bush toasted the benefits of free trade. All were enthusiastic with singing American Imperial, to the tune of American the Beautiful.
Joe,Jane,Marla,Ron, by Bob Fitch.jpg


To demonstrate profit by outsourcing production to places such as Burma, Mexico and China, the actors formed a line with sweatshop workers at one end, capitalists in the middle, and a Wal-mart type American store at the other end with consumer-mad shoppers. The workers sat at sewing machines making clothes and toys, passed them to the fat-cat middlemen, who sold the goods to the store. Eager shoppers handed over lots of money, unable to see the workers suffering at the other end of the line much like American consumers are ignorant of global working conditions. The money was pocketed by the capitalists up the line and workers literally paid peanuts for their labor.
Profit Man and Greed Girl.jpg

Superheroes Greed Girl and Profit Man were on hand to gleefully explain the joys of capitalism and sing Money Makes the World Go Around. When the Mexican workers tried to organize a union for better wages and conditions, the capitalists looked around for a better deal, tempted by people across the street waving flags from other countries. With the help of Profit Man who makes the world safe for capitalism, and a clever accountant, they settled on China and suddenly hauled the entire operation across the road and set up again, this time with even cheaper wages and fewer environmental protections, leaving the original workers unemployed. This illustrated the race to the bottom currently practiced by TNCs (transnational corporations). Backing up this free trade, American military personnel patrolled the globe, aka downtown Santa Cruz.
To compliment the action, the Planet USA cast and crew passed out informational handouts to raise awareness of basic issues, provide specific examples of current corporate practices, and offer ideas for responsible consumerism.
Fourth of July float.jpg

Filming on the Planet USA project began July, 2003 when Director/Producer Marlene Winell organized 50 activists who participated in the Redwood City July 4th parade, the largest in Northern California. Under the auspices of "celebrating American contributions to world culture," the group utilized humor, satire and street theater in creating a float to "celebrate" Americas military, economic, and cultural domination around the globe.
American icons.jpg

The most recent shoot again demonstrates the emphasis that Winell and her group place on using entertainment to get peoples attention. We try to use humor to make people aware of important issues that are difficult to deal with, says Winell. If we can inspire people to learn more on their own and direct them to some resources, then we have accomplished our objective. The film has the same goal.
Aside from street theater, other elements of the film include footage showing living conditions in Thailand and Cambodia, interviews with sweatshop workers, comments from foreigners expressing grave concerns about U.S. foreign policy, images of Americanization around the world, archival footage highlighting military conquests, and expert interviews addressing key aspects of corporate imperialism such as "globalization" and the "race to the bottom." Participants discuss what real patriotism means and the many ways Americans can be more active in making the U.S. a more responsible member of the global community.

For more information on Planet U.S.A. please visit the films website at www.planetusafilm.com or contact Marlene Winell at envisionproductions (at) earthlink.net. Support for this project is very welcome.
 
 


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