Interview with Filmmaker Susan Kucera (HOT MONEY)

HOT MONEY was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the 2022 POLITICAL Film Festival.

Project Links

What motivated you to make this film?

My executive producer, Jim Swift and I have looked at the issue of climate change through many different prisms and we wondered about the financial aspects. After all, it didn’t take that much to bring down the financial system in 2008 – what happens when we are increasingly having to pay for the after-effects of fires and flooding and hurricanes. What happens if the federal reserve cannot buy mortgage-backed securities and bonds to prop up the system?

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took a year to film and about 9 months to edit.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Uh Oh!

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Editing the experts was a challenge to make the financial knot understandable to a person (like me) who does not have a PhD in economics. I got to work with writer Anna Kirsch and New Yorker cartoonist Kaamran Hafeez to make the complicated parts fun and interesting.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was really pleased that they found it accessible and appreciated making a dry subject enjoyable as well as their appreciation of the father (General Wesley Clark) and his son (Wes Clark Jr) as they interact. Also several people in the feedback said they wanted to watch it again.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve been filming since I was nine but only began tackling the documentary format 14 years ago and really enjoy that challenge.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Well, that is a hard one – for documentaries Winged Migration and for films Fellini’s quintessential surrealist vision, The White Sheik.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I really like what your format is with the feedback aspect so it would be nice if other festivals adopted this idea.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It makes submissions easy to track and follow.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Homemade bread and cheese

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I just completed another film with Jim Swift titled 12th Hour that is in schools and Universities and will be streaming on Kanopy this spring as well as broadcast in the UK and France – I’m also working on a new project with actor Jeff Bridges.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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