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Store Wars

Micha X. Peled
April 5th, 2001

While CorpWatch's work is about drawing attention to the impact of corporations on our world, in this case we have played an unusual role. For the past two years, CorpWatch has helped a filmmaker who had to keep his identity concealed while spreading his field research as widely as possible. The announcement we have posted, drew a considerable number of e-mails, mostly by Wal-Mart workers outraged by the treatment they had received from their employer. We forwarded these e-mails to the filmmaker, who then decided on his own whether to respond. Wal-Mart's questionable practices have given rise to a number of lively sites and chatrooms which the company is believed to be monitoring closely. For that reason the filmmaker, who also depended on continued camera access to the company, approached us with this unusual request. Now the film is completed and we can unveil the project and our role in it.

STORE WARS, written, produced and directed by Micha Peled, follows the one-year conflict that polarizes Ashland, Virginia, population 7200, when Wal-Mart decides it wants to build a megastore on the edge of town. The ensuing debate pits neighbor against neighbor in a battle as protracted and bitter as those fought in the Old West between ranchers and farmers over land-use issues.

The struggle between conflicting versions of the American dream has on one side those who want to preserve their seemingly idyllic small-town way of life versus those who believe in the positive economic benefits Wal-Mart promises.

A truly American story, STORE WARS is about the right of a community to determine its own future: Which values are most important? Who gets to decide? Presented by ITVS, STORE WARS will be showing in the SF International film festival, on Wed. Apr. 25 at 9:15 at the Kabuki theater in San Francisco. It will air nationally on PBS in June.

STORE WARS is produced, directed and written by Micha X. Peled. The associate producer is Monica Z. Lam. Allen Moore is the director of photography, with sound by Bob Silverthorne. The film is edited by Ken Schneider.