15 Aug (VACCINE WAR) – Vaccines. Few issues conjure such strong emotional reactions – dividing friends, families and nations. Are they the miracle life-saving intervention that some claim they are, or are they a dangerous and unnecessary means to private profit at public cost.
Currently in post-production, filmmaker Ryan J-W Smith explores the issue from the perspective of parents, attorneys, clinicians and pharmacists.
Q & A with filmmaker Ryan J-W Smith
The first thing people ask me these days is “why vaccines”? It was a topic suggested to me by the assistant of a Member of European Parliament. I was interviewing the MEP in relation to another documentary I plan to complete later, on fraud in the E.U. Once I started investigating vaccines, however, just scratching the surface, I was stunned at the lack of evidence presented by pharmaceutical companies and governments to justify their use. In fact, I was quickly discovering a lot of evidence suggesting they could be dangerous. So, I dug deeper, and the more I dug, the more amazed I was by what I found. Soon I felt compelled to put the E.U. film on hold, and focus on vaccines.
How is ‘Vaccine War’ different to other films on vaccines?
When I was a very young man I did jury service in England. This was a very positive experience that left an impression on me about the correct presentation of evidence to a jury. I have taken the lessons I learned from that experience and tried to present the testimonies I have gathered from professionals – doctors, nurses, lawyers and detectives – in much the same way a court would present unedited testimony from such expert witnesses to a jury. In this way, I believe my film will be the most unbiased, evidence-based and detailed film ever made on the subject.
Why is being unbiased so important?
I consider it very important because I feel too many ‘documentaries’ don’t document both sides, but rather direct (or misdirect) their audiences to the filmmaker’s pre-determined conclusion: like a bad scientist, they bend the results – using data which supports their already established hypothesis while throwing out data that contradicts it. I want audiences to see both sides, consider the character of the person giving evidence, weigh the evidence presented, and then arrive at a verdict based not on emotion, but on cold hard facts using their intelligence. In this way, I hope it will be powerful; empowering; informative; compelling and perhaps a little revolutionary.
What do you hope ‘Vaccine War’ will ultimately achieve?
Ultimately I want to empower all parents so they can make informed, fearless decisions about vaccinating their children. I don’t have any children yet – which was another reason for making the film and investigating – I wanted to know if I should vaccinate my future child, and if so, which vaccines should I give them? From my experience so far, I think if any parent were to watch my 108 minute film even once, they would know a lot more about vaccines than the average pediatrician. Knowledge is power – let’s give the power to the people.
There is so much information to present on vaccines that this feature documentary is actually going to be the first of at least three feature documentaries on vaccines. I’m already working on Vaccine War – Part II, and there will certainly be a Vaccine War – Part III. There could even be a part 4 (I think I’m a little addicted to the subject now!) – I just really love investigating every detail of a subject until there is no doubt what the truth is.
You’re also a poet, playwright, actor, musician, etc – what do you hope to be remembered for most?
When people look back on the early 21st century, one of the things I would love to be remembered for is being someone who, using wisdom and calm logic, helped to end the vaccine debate. With a little funding assistance from some very nice people, I truly believe my Vaccine War series could do just that.