You've Been Trumped
In this David and Goliath story, proud Scottish homeowners take on The Donald over one of Britain's very last stretches of wilderness.
Directed by Anthony Baxter
Produced by Richard Phinney
Writer: Richard Phinney, Anthony Baxter
Editor: William Rice
Music: jónsi and Sigur Rós
Original Music: Jonny Pilcher
Cinematography: Anthony Baxter
A Montrose Pictures Production
In this David and Goliath story for the 21st century, a group of proud Scottish homeowners take on a celebrity tycoon. At stake is one of Britain's very last stretches of wilderness.
"Show[s] how rushed and badly conceived development disrupts lives and destroys important landscapes, even in the heart of the developed world." Federico Cheever, Professor of Law, University of Denver
American billionaire Donald Trump has bought up hundreds of acres on the northeast coast of Scotland, best known to movie-lovers as the setting for the 1983 classic film LOCAL HERO. And like the American oil tycoon played by Burt Lancaster, he needs to buy out a few more locals to make the deal come true. In a land swimming with golf courses, Trump is going to build two more - alongside a 450-room hotel and 1,500 luxury homes. The trouble is, the land he has purchased occupies one of Europe's most environmentally sensitive stretches of coast, described by one leading scientist as Scotland's Amazon rain forest. And the handful of local residents don't want it destroyed.
After the Scottish Government overturns its own environmental laws to give Trump the green light, the stage is set for an extraordinary summer of discontent, as the bulldozers spring into action. Water and power is cut off, land disputes erupt, and some residents have thousands of tonnes of earth piled up next to their homes. Complaints go ignored by the police, who instead arrest the film's director, Anthony Baxter. Local exasperation comes to a surreal head as the now "Dr." Trump scoops up an honorary doctorate from a local university, even as his tractors turn wild, untouched dunes into fairways.
Told entirely without narration, YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED captures the cultural chasm between the glamorous, jet-setting and media savvy Donald Trump and a deeply rooted Scottish community. What begins as an often amusing clash of world views grows increasingly bitter and disturbing. For the tycoon, the golf course is just another deal, with a possible billion dollar payoff. For the residents, it represents the destruction of a globally unique landscape that has been the backdrop for their lives.
Funny, inspiring and heartbreaking in turns, YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED is both an entertaining, can't-believe-it's-true tale and an environmental parable for our celebrity driven times. A moving score features music from jónsi, the internationally acclaimed musician and frontman of Sigur Rós. The film also offers a rare and revealing glimpse of the unfiltered Donald Trump, as he considers standing as a candidate for President of the United States.
Grade Level: Grades 9-12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2012
Copyright Date: 2012
DVD ISBN: 1-93777-240-3
"Here in the U.S., Donald Trump is known as a cartoonish buffoon--But he's no laughing matter in Scotland where he buys off the government and destroys a pristine and fragile coastal sand dune to build the world's biggest golf course. This moving documentary follows the efforts of the ordinary folk to preserve a fishing and farming community that, supposedly, stands in the way. You've Been Trumped is essential viewing for developing an understanding of the issues surrounding unchecked development, its impact on environmental sustainability, the unholy alliance of big money and public policy, and the consequence of excessive inequality that has divided our modern world between the 99% 'have-nots' and the one per-centers who've got it all but still want more."
L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Levy
Economics Institute of Bard College, Author, Money and Credit in Capitalistic Economies and Understanding Modern Money
"Thoroughly illuminates the grandiosity of Trump, the subservience of political officials (including the police) to one with money, and the determination of the local inhabitants to resist on their own. Filmmaker Anthony Baxter shows how one of the 1% really feels about 'ordinary' people. While not yet resolved, Trump's arrogance and sense of entitlement seem to work against him and his project as the plight of local residents gains increasing support from people in and around the area."
Dr. Kim Scipes, Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University North Central, Author, AFL-CIO's Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?
"Will leave viewers astonished and appalled, but hardly surprised. The rolling, green hills north of Aberdeen, long the bucolic home to a quiet class of proud people, suddenly finds itself in the cross-hairs of Donald Trump's ambitions for a new golf course and resort. Trump, beyond making a fool of himself, does his best at representing the machinations of global capital through his indifferent, apathetic destruction of anything that lies in his way."
Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Author, Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism
"This thoughtful documentary raises troubling issues about the tactics of international developers and their impact on the people of local communities. The filmmakers take the time to show how rushed and badly conceived development disrupts lives and destroys important landscapes, even in the heart of the developed world."
Federico Cheever, Professor of Law, University of Denver, co-Author, Natural Resources Law: A Place-Book of Problems and Cases
"This is the story of how the local community resisted the destruction of their environment and livelihoods, in vain in the end, and how the Grampian police force acted as the unpaid henchmen of Trump's company, intimidating journalists and locals who openly and quite legally opposed Trump's outrage. Even the local university was co-opted, to its perpetual shame giving Trump an honorary doctorate in business management."
Dr. Geoffrey Heal, Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility, Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School, Director, Union of Concerned Scientists, Author, Nature and the Marketplace and When Principles Pay
"A beautiful, moving, tragic film, that clearly and simply shows how the super rich like Donald Trump are destroying peoples lives and our global environment for their own personal gain. This is what we all can look forward to if we don't stop Corporate Feudalism in its tracks."
Dennis Marker, Author, Fifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism: How the Rich Convinced America's Middle Class to Eliminate Themselves
"Provide[s] a fine-grained account of a single instance of capitalism unbound...Expertly composed...Trumped affords an intimacy of character and theme that conveys the truth of anti-capitalist axioms - that the state does the bidding of corporations, that law is servant to profit...It is an aching lesson in the skewed balance of power that asks, as its grace note, where human richness truly lies."
Jeremy Varon, The New School, New Labor Forum
"Eye-opening...Absolutely fascinating and presented with a wry sense of humor, perhaps best exemplified by its glimpse of an inspired, anti-Trump art show! Highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review
"Embodies the territorial, livelihood, and ecosystem issues that run through most environmental conflicts...This film could serve as a welcome complement to academic material that engages these themes...Evocative."
Michael L. Dougherty, Illinois State University, Teaching Sociology
"American-style capitalism has never looked so ugly...Recommended."
"We get to know the residents of the affected area through their stories about their personal connections to the land. We learn about the research value of the dunes from scientists who specialize in this area of study. We hear local officials describe the rules that were applied when the resort proposal was denied...Outrage at environmental and cultural degradation and subtle filmmaking technique all make this a compelling movie. It is highly recommended for junior high through adult audiences."
Carrie M. Macfarlane, Middlebury College, Educational Media Reviews Online
"The film is a depressing, therefore accurate, account of the way that power can trample people and environment...Every development happens on somebody's land, and all too often, whether they are indigenous villagers or the modern underclass, the benefits of development are not theirs, while some of the highest costs of development are entirely theirs. Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, economic anthropology, development anthropology, anthropology of globalization/neoliberalism, and European studies, as well as for general audiences."
Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database
"With the rest of the audience that day I came out into the daylight dazed and shocked...This factual film has delivered just as much drama and poignancy as any fictional equivalent could. And it celebrates the positive side of the human soul when pitted against the pernicious."
Bill Forsyth, Director of Local Hero, The Guardian
"In medieval times, the nobility enjoyed something called droit du seigneur, their right to deflower their serfs' virgin daughters before their marriage. These days the nobility has been replaced by billionaire bullies, who continue to screw us serfs."
"The film provides the critical inspection missing from mainstream media accounts. It exposes irreparable environmental damage to an area of pristine seaside dunes designated as a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest', suspiciously complicit government action, and shameless bullying by the Trump Organization."
Chris Francis, Yes! Magazine
"Baxter's directing mixes various artistic elements...to illustrate the differences between Scotland's rugged beauty (and that of its locals) and the garish McTrump-style development. Dust, wrinkles and blowing sand create a stark contrast when interrupted by endless manicured greens and dunes, not to mention spray tans. You've Been Trumped alludes to how the business mogul uses glossy PR and greases palms to grow his empire. More subtly, it begs the viewer to reconsider how they travel."
Julie Belanger, Alternatives Journal
"The film raises issues that strike at the very heart of democracy...Whether we live in Scotland, India or elsewhere, it begs the question: Are we willing to be 'Trumped' on a massive scale?"
Colin Todhunter, Global Research
"Frequently outrage-inspiring...It's an elegiac love letter to a very special part of the world, an inspiring portrait of a community's fortitude, and a searing indictment of capitalism run riot."
Elizabeth Williams, Salon
"An eye-opening documentary about the power of money."
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"I think of Donald Trump as the excessive American, the American whose success has led him to inordinate power and to hideous self-worship...A man whose exploits have become so impressive to himself as to obliviate any need for even a pretense of humility or equality with other mere mortals. You've Been Trumped adds to this impression. In it we watch Trump turn before our eyes for the ugly to the grotesque."
Profundities and Absurdities blog
"A roiling, go-for-the-throat expose. Recommended."
New City Film
"Donald Trump is the face of America here...Hopefully this sharp rendering, or something very much like it, is the legacy for which he and his family will be remembered."
Chris Packham, The Village Voice
"Documentaries such as this are becoming more and more frequently the only way to depict the threats posed to our remaining environmental heritage and how little is often done to halt it."
Nick Arthur, On the Box
"A 'David and Goliath tale'...Unlike that fantasy, this tale didn't end in victory for the little men."
includes scene selection and SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Donald Trump lawyers tried to stop BBC showing Scottish bullying film, The Guardian, 10/22/12
Article by Director Anthony Baxter for The Guardian, 10/25/12
Awards and Festivals
Special Jury Prize, Traverse City Film Festival
ALA Notable Videos for Adults Annual List
Best Documentary, Starz Denver Film Festival
Best Film, Edindocs Film Festival, Edinburgh
Green Award, Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival
Social Justice Award, Hamptons International Film Festival
Best Environmental Film, Sedona International Film Festival
Best Feature Film, San Francisco Green Film Festival
Jury Award, Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
Audience Award, Take One Action Film Festival, Scotland
Audience Award, DaKINO International Film Festival, Bucharest, Romania
Whistleblower Award, Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival
Honorable Mention, EcoFocus Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
St. Louis International Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Cleveland International Film Festival
One World Human Rights Film Festival, Prague
Miami International Film Festival
Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Greece
Spokane International Film Festival
Watch Docs - Human Rights in Film, Warsaw, Poland
Sidewalk Film Festival, Birmingham
Sausalito Film Festival
Kaohsiung International Film Festival, Taiwan
Discovery Film Festival, Dundee
Brisbane International Film Festival, Australia
Winnipeg International Film Festival, Canada
Human Rights Film Festival, Croatia
Cinemateket, European Documentary Network, Copenhagen
Palm Springs Film Festival
DocPoint - Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
Reel Stories, Barrie, Canada
Global Vision Film Festival, Edmonton Alberta
Saltspring International Film Festival, British Columbia
Bristol Radical Film Festival
Wakefield International Film Festival (Quebec, Canada)
International Film Festival for Young People, Bologna, Italy
International Human Rights Documentary Festival, Kiev, Ukraine
Changing Scotland, Ullapool
Izmir International Film Festival, Istanbul Turkey
British Film Institute, London
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
Stranger than Fiction Documentary Series, IFC Center
Frontline Club - London
Chicago, Gene Siskel Center
Centre for Investigative Journalism, London
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
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... more Reviews
"An eye-opening documentary about the power of money."
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"That course should never have been built...A compelling film that will have your blood boiling angry."
Volkmar Richter, The Vancouver Observer
"Riveting and infuriating."
New York Magazine
"He's [the filmmaker] on the side of the angels here and his determination to give the locals a voice denied them by major media coverage, lends his film momentum and heart."
Jeannette Catsoulis, National Public Radio
"A fine, powerful piece of documentary filmmaking...[The film] speaks with a clear, personal voice-and that voice is outraged."
Noel Murray, A.V. Club
"Humorous, heartbreaking and inspiring...A powerful award-winning movie."
Dorri Olds, The Examiner
"Riveting, ire-raising...A striking morality tale."
Henry Fitzherbert, The Sunday Express
"A trumpet blast for the sheer indefatigability of 'the Little Man'."
Wally Hammond, Sight and Sound Magazine
"This is the sort of controlled, quietly angry and important film that will inspire plenty of ire in anyone frustrated by the way money and power frequently crushes anything in its path...Absorbing stuff."
"You've Been Trumped is an important and shocking documentary that demands to be seen."
Matthew Turner, View London
"Funny and informing and infuriating...Put[s] human faces to the story."
Miles Fielder, The List
"Eye-opening and hugely entertaining, with a stirring score, the picture is a well-timed poke-in-eye for the contemptuous rich."
Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express
"A real eye opener of a film, and a cracking piece of filmmaking."
Allison Rowat, The Glasgow Herald
"You've Been Trumped deserves to be watched by every individual who has ever felt let down by the powers that be, or that greed and profit have obstructed the path of truth and justice. Baxter is a talented, endearing filmmaker, and his latest effort an exquisite, vital piece of documentary filmmaking."
Daniel Green, Cine Vue
"Emotionally charged and brilliantly infuriating."
Shaun Munro, What Culture
"Gut-wrenching...A vital, visceral antidote to Trump's slick PR machine."
Simon Kinnear, Total Film