The director of a documentary about the opioid crisis says that artists need to expose corruption.
At the Venice Film Festival, the story of Nan Goldin, a photographer who fought against the Sackler family's Purdue Pharma, will be shown for the first time.
The director of a film about artist Nan Goldin's fight to hold members of the Sackler family responsible for the opioid crisis, Laura Poitras, has said that the film is "a challenge to other artists" to use their power to show corruption.
The director of praised movies like Risk (about Wikileaks) and Citizenfour (about Edward Snowden) was showing his new movie, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, in competition at the Venice film festival on Saturday.
The movie looks at Goldin's life and work, and how she tried to hold the Sackler family, who owns Purdue Pharma, responsible for the opioid epidemic.
Goldin, a photographer whose work covered LGBTQ+ subcultures and the Aids crisis, started the advocacy group Pain (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) in 2017 after she got addicted to OxyContin. The group tries to get museums and other arts organizations to stop working with the Sackler family, who have been giving money to the arts for a long time.
"As a political filmmaker, I really respect what Nan has chosen to do, which is to use her power and influence in the art world to demand accountability and bring attention to the Sackler family's really bad philanthropy. Poitras said, "But they're not the only ones."
"This movie is a challenge to other artists or people in positions of power: how do they or don't they use that power? Here is a famous artist who chose to risk her position in the art world to expose its corruption, toxic philanthropy, and whitewashing of blood money and institutions.
Poitras said that the failure of the US government to deal with epidemics was "staggering," as was the system that let a family like the Sacklers and a company like Purdue Pharma "knowingly promote the drug that they knew was addictive and to do so with the most egregious profiteering."
Goldin made the connection between the opioid crisis and the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. "There are still 10 million people with Aids in the world... So many people died because of their fear of Aids, and it also killed my community. She said, "I don't want to see another community die.
Over the last 20 years, the opioid crisis has been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the US. Last year, the Metropolitan Museum in New York said that the Sackler name would no longer be shown in its galleries. It was one of many arts and education organizations that stopped accepting donations from the Sacklers.
Goldin said, "The thing I'm most proud of is that we brought down a billionaire family at a time when billionaires in America have a different justice system than the rest of us and can do whatever they want without being punished." So far, we've taken one down."