Neon made the announcement Thursday, a day after revelations from journalist Bob Woodward that President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed U.S. coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous and repeatedly downplayed it publicly. The distributor said “Totally Under Control” has been filming for the past four months.
“With an extraordinary team of collaborators, I was compelled to mount this production when I saw the scale of incompetence and political corruption by the Trump Administration in the face of a global pandemic,” Gibney said. “Now we know that by Feb. 7, Trump knew that COVID was, in his words, ‘a deadly virus.’ But instead of working to protect the American people by containing the virus, the current administration was willfully blind to the growing contagion (‘it’s like a miracle; it will disappear,’ said Trump) in hopes that voters wouldn’t notice any problems until after the 2020 election.”
He continued, “While the current administration tries to frame the situation as an unavoidable crisis, it is really closer to a crime of negligence. Weirdly enough, I don’t see this as a political film; it’s a film about incompetence and corruption that is totally out of control.”
Gibney directed and produced “Totally Under Control” with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger.
Executive producers are Stacey Offman, Richard Perello of Jigsaw Productions, longtime Gibney/Jigsaw collaborators Alison Ellwood and Maiken Baird, Jeffrey Lurie and Marie Therese Guirgis of Play/Action Pictures, Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann of Participant, Tom Quinn, Dan O’Meara and Jeff Deutchman of Neon and Andrew Morrison, Mark Lampert and Michael Sacks of Yellow Bear Films.
Gibney’s credits include “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks,” “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” and “Academy Award Winner Taxi to the Dark Side.” Gibney is represented by UTA.
Neon is best known for handling North American distribution on Best Picture winner “Parasite.” Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for Neon with Nick Shumaker from UTA Independent Film Group and Jackie Eckhouse from Sloss Eckhouse LLP on behalf of the filmmakers. Altitude is handling foreign sales.