The Yes Men

The Yes Men

Filmmakers and Provocateurs for Social Change

     
   
   
   
 
     
     
   
   
   
 
     
Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are two guys who just can't take "no" for an answer. They have an unusual hobby: posing as executives of corporations they want to change for the better. Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits, the Yes Men lie their way into business conferences and parody their corporate targets in ever more extreme ways, doing all they can to wake up their audiences to the danger of letting greed run our world.

One of their most famous stunts occurred when Andy, purporting to be a Dow Chemical spokesperson, got on the biggest TV news program in the world and announced that Dow would finally clean up the site of the largest industrial accident in history, the Bhopal catastrophe. As people worldwide celebrated, Dow's stock value lost two billion dollars.

The reality hit Andy and Mike like a ton of bricks: people want Dow to do the right thing, but the market has decided it can't.

We have created a system that makes doing the right thing impossible. If we keep putting the market in the driver's seat, will it happily drive the whole planet off a cliff? As the banking crisis has shown, and climate change is now showing, it is fully capable of doing just that.

At conference after conference, the Yes Men try to wake up their corporate audiences to this frightening prospect, in the process taking on some of the world's biggest corporations.

In addition to shocking the powerful, the Yes Men act as gonzo journalists, delving deep into the question of why we have given the market more power than any other institution to determine our direction as a society. Along the way, they visit the accidentally hilarious underworld of the free-market think tanks, find humor at the site of the world's worst chemical spill, visit a "Gulf Coast Reconstruction Conference" which turns out to be all about homeland security, and try to take on (without luck) one of the beefiest conference organizers ever filmed. As they appear on the BBC before 300 million viewers, or before 1000 New Orleans contractors alongside Mayor Ray Nagin, the layers of lies are peeled back to reveal the raw heart of truth.

Above all, the Yes Men are eliciting a call to action: If the Yes Men can do it, we all can.

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