I’ve been following the story of how fence-erecting, wind farm-blocking real estate tycoon Donald Trump (AKA the worst neighbor in the entire United Kingdom) has managed to supremely piss off homeowners and environmentalists alike with the development of a $2 billion luxury golf course development on the fog-swept, ecologically sensitive northeast coast of Scotland. And it’s not a pretty one.
Now a lauded, low-budget documentary film that chronicles this epic — and epically frustrating — tale of NIMBY warfare is getting a huge premiere right in the Donald’s own backyard: New York.
Having screened to critical and audience acclaim at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Canada’s Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival, and the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival where it picked up the Green Award, Anthony’s Baxter’s “You’ve Been Trumped,” a 95-minute film that the Organization dubbed “a failure,” will be premiering at the 2011 Hamptons International Film Festival on Oct. 15.
I’m not usually one for documentary films (especially when it involves spending an hour and a half with a character as cartoonishly nefarious as Trump) but from what I’ve seen of “You’ve Been Trumped” (the most recent trailer is embedded below), this self-financed film looks gripping, beautiful, and worthy of all the accolades that it has received. Plus, one of my favorite musicians, Jónsi frontman of Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós, did the music. Even Perez Hilton has something to say about the film: “Considering how controversial Donald Trump is right now, we wouldn't be surprised to see this in theaters at all! (Wouldn't you) go see a documentary that shows the world how Donald REALLY does business?”
A synopsis of this “eye-opening David and Goliath story for the 21st century:”
The billionaire property developer Donald Trump has bought up hundreds of acres on the northeast coast of Scotland, best known to movie-lovers as the setting for the 1983 classic film "Local Hero." And like the American oil tycoon played by Burt Lancaster, he needs to buy out a few more locals to make the deal come true. In a land swimming with golf courses, Trump is going to build two more — alongside a 450-room hotel and 1,500 luxury homes. The trouble is, the land he purchased occupies one of Europe’s most environmentally sensitive stretches of coast, described by one leading scientist as Scotland’s Amazon rain forest. And the local residents don't want it destroyed.
After the Scottish government overturns its own environmental laws to give Trump the green light, the stage is set for an extraordinary summer of discontent, as the bulldozers spring into action. Water and power is cut off, land disputes erupt, and some residents have thousands of tons of earth piled up next to their homes. Complaints go ignored by the police, who instead arrest the film's director, Anthony Baxter. Local exasperation comes to a surreal head as the now 'Dr' Trump scoops up an honorary doctorate from a local university, even as his tractors turn wild, untouched dunes into fairways.
Told entirely without narration, "You've Been Trumped" captures the cultural chasm between the glamorous, jet setting and media savvy Donald Trump and a deeply rooted Scottish community, whose local dialect demands a liberal use of subtitles. What begins as an often amusing clash of world-views grows increasingly bitter and disturbing.
Funny, inspiring and heartbreaking in turns, "You’ve Been Trumped" is an environmental parable for our celebrity driven times.