Wal-Mart spurs documentary war

Retail chain giant fights fire with fire

Robert Greenwald’s new take-down documentary on Wal-Mart, to be screened for international distribs at the upcoming American Film Market, is raising the ire of the giant retail chain, which spread word Wednesday of another new docu extolling Wal-Mart’s virtues.

“Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Drives Some People C-r-a-z-y,” directed and produced by Atlanta brothers Ron and Robert Galloway, will be released on DVD in mid-November, around the same time that Greenwald’s “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” comes out on DVD.

Ron Galloway told Daily Variety that Wal-Mart didn’t finance the doc, and that he and his brother personally footed the film’s $85,000 budget. He said the only help the chain provided was to give them access to stores and associates.

Yet Wal-Mart made sure on Wednesday to include the release announcing the Galloways’ docu in a press packet of materials denouncing Greenwald’s film as propaganda.

New film by Greenwald, who also produced and directed “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” and “Uncovered: The Iraq War” through his Brave New Films, focuses on unsavory business practices by Wal-Mart.

The Galloways’ film takes the opposite view, examining “the pathology” behind the escalating attacks on the company and showing how the world’s largest retail chain has improved the lives of workers and communities.

Also on Wednesday, international sales rep Lightning Entertainment said it would handle overseas sales on Greenwald’s film at AFM, which runs Nov. 2-9 in Santa Monica. Announcement was made by Greenwald and Lightning Entertainment co-president Richard Guardian. (Overseas, Wal-Mart has operations in 14 countries.)

Domestically, the Disinformation Co. inked an exclusive acquisition agreement for DVD rights to Greenwald’s “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”

The Galloways’ film is being released by Hannover House. Film will preem Nov. 10 in Bentonville, Ark. — where Wal-Mart is headquartered.

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