Cinema Libre Acquires ‘Economic Hit Man’

Controversial bestseller details systematic attempts to keep countries indebted to U.S.

The Los Angeles-based production and distribution company Cinema Libre, which is currently releasing Oliver Stone’s controversial documentary “South of the Border,” has acquired the film rights to John Perkins’ bestselling book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.”

Cinema Libre has raised $25 million in financing overseas, and according to a press release announcing the acquisition, will secure the remainder of the film’s budget from “a major American studio.”  The company plans to announce a writer and director this month, and to go into production in mid-2011 for a May 2012 release. 

Confessions of an Economic Hit ManPerkins book, which has sold about a million copies worldwide, tells of “highly paid professionals” who use “fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex and murder” to cheat countries around the world and keep them “under the control of the U.S. government, World Bank, and other U.S.-dominated aid agencies that in fact were loan sharks.”

“John’s book reads like a thriller but it is the first book to explain how the multi-national corporations played a shell-game to indebt third-world countries,” said Philippe Diaz, the chairman of Cinema Libre Studio, who will produce the film.

The book is not without controversy.  Author Howard Zinn has referred to it as “A sweeping, bold assault on the tyranny of corporate globalization, full of drama and adventure, with devastating stories of greed run wild,” while Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby called Perkins “a frothing conspiracy theorist” and “a vainglorious peddler of nonsense.” 

The U.S. State Department went so far as to release a report disputing his contention that the National Security Agency was involved with his hiring at the consulting company Chas. T. Main; the NSA, it said, “is a cryptological (code-making and code-breaking) organization, not an economic organization.”

In 2008, Greek writer/director Stelios Koul made a documentary about Perkins entitled “Diary of an Economic Hit Man.”

Cinema Libre specializes in politically-charged films.  In addition to the Stone documentary, its releases include the documentaries “Uncovered: The War on Iraq,” “The End of Poverty?” and “Fuel.”