‘The New Corporation’ Director on How Companies Contribute to Spread of Disease – and Pandemics (Video)

TIFF2020: “I think its a really important and often ignored part of the narrative of the pandemic,” director tells TheWrap’s Brian Welk

Does corporate influence have an effect on the spread of diseases like COVID-19? Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott, the filmmakers behind 2003’s “The Corporation,” are back with a sequel, “The New Corporation,” in which they draw the connection between how corporations have reacted to the environment and how they have contributed to the spread of disease.

“If we link corporate capitalism to the destruction of nature, which we can and do, then without question we can also link corporate capitalism to emerging diseases and there is ample evidence that this is the case,” Abbott told TheWrap’s Brian Welk during an interview for the remote Toronto Film Festival along with writer and co-director Joel Bakan.

Abbott provides an example about deforestation and how that puts human civilization in danger. “For example, if a forest is cut down and bats populated this forest, the bats have to go somewhere,” she said. “So they may be driven closer to human civilization and have human contact they didn’t otherwise have.”

“Without question, we actually even include a headline in the film ‘Halt the destruction of nature or face more pandemics,’” Abbott added. “I think its a really important and often ignored part of the narrative of the pandemic.”

2003’s “The Corporation” examined an institution within society. “The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary sequel” examines a world now fully remade in the corporation’s image, perilously close to losing democracy. The sequel traces the devastating consequences, connecting the dots between then and now, and inspire with stories of resistance and change from around the world.

“The New Corporation” reveals how the corporate takeover of society is being justified by the sly rebranding of corporations as socially conscious entities. From gatherings of corporate elites in Davos, to climate change and spiraling inequality; the rise of ultra-right leaders, to COVID-19 and racial injustice, the film looks at corporations’ power. The film was produced by Trish Dolman and Betsy Carson, with Bakan as executive producer.

Watch the full interview above.


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