The Coming War between America and China – the new documentary project from John Pilger
‘Journey’ is an overworked word these days, but I can think of none other to describe the making of a documentary film. Ten years ago, a film of mine could be made in six months, even less. The main work was the research, the journalism.Whenever I felt confident I had the basis of a ‘story’, I would go to the ITV Network in the UK and seek a broadcast commission. If that was forthcoming, ITV would fund the production. The difference now is that I, the film-maker, must raise most of the production money. Also, my documentaries have changed considerably in recent years. They are now made for the cinema as well as TV, and for the internet.
I’ve made three films this way, The War on Democracy (2007), The War You Don’t See (2010) and Utopia (2013). Utopia took more than two years to make.
In raising the money for these films, I’ve been fortunate to find sympathetic philanthropists and foundations, and persuade them to contribute without attaching any editorial strings. But these benefactors are rare, and tracking them down is probably the hardest part of film-making now and, frankly, not the kind of work I ever saw myself doing – I’ve always preferred simply to do the job I knew – journalism.
I’ve lately embarked on another film journey – this will be my 60th documentary. ITV has commissioned the film, and provided seed money. The working title is The Coming War Between America and China, and the film will tell the largely unreported story of a new US strategic policy known as ‘the pivot to Asia’. In a nutshell, what this means is that the US is preparing for a new provocative cold war that has every chance of becoming a hot war. Washington has begun to move its main missile and naval forces into the Asia-Pacific in order to surround and ‘confront’ China, whose extraordinary economic rise in recent years is regarded in Washington as a threat to American dominance. For obvious reasons, I won’t lay out here the ‘where, what and why’. Suffice to say the film will be shot in some surprising places where I’ll meet and interview extraordinary people. Above all, it will be revealing: that is assured.
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