A film by Susan Kucera, from Executive Producers Jim Swift and Jeff Bridges.
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark and his son Wes Clark Jr. take us on a journey through the complicated realities of our financial system and its profound exposure to climate change. Hot Money outs the whole game, the whole charade, the whole crapshoot of the money system with all the humor and intelligence of a New Yorker cartoon. Combined with the wisdom of international business experts and academics, Hot Money is rich with historical context. It severs the knot of economic and political forces that may lead to societal collapse.
I met General Clark and his son Wes Jr. while filming Living In the Future’s Past, then met the General again at a speaking engagement two years later and the kernel of a film planted itself in my mind – a conversation between a father and son on how climate change will affect our financial system. It seemed logical to follow up to the introspective Living In The Future’s Past with a nuts and bolts view of how the machinery of our money system contributes and reacts to climate change. We lined up a broad and diverse cast of experts who’ve spent their lives doing the work. What we could see emerging was an easy to understand story whose depth is masked by its light-hearted breeziness. The Covid 19 pandemic cut short our filming and I turned to a New Yorker cartoonist to visualize concepts so somebody like me, who doesn’t have an MBA or ever worked in finance, can be simultaneously entertained and enlightened about one of the prime forces driving our world - debt.
Hot Money is an important film for right now as America stands on the brink of conflict. Many people lack context interpreting the world and this documentary delivers it. Conversations taped more than a year ago about wildfires making homes impossible to insure and the ripple effect that will roar through the financial system seem as startlingly prescient as the scenes describing populist breakdown in a country like Venezuela and how it can happen here. Hot Money offers a glimpse into our future and a chance to avoid the dangerous course we are on. To solve a problem we have to understand it.
Susan Kucera has been working in film since her youth, first as a camera assistant studying the Athabasca Glacier creating educational short films with her father, Glaciologist, Dr.Richard Kucera, for Encyclopedia Britannica Film Corporation, then as a screenwriter and director of documentaries.
She produced, wrote, directed, and filmed Trading on Thin Air starring Nation Magazine’s Alex Cockburn (2009). She wrote, filmed, directed, edited, and co-produced For the Love of Tango starring Broadway’s Forever Tango, Jorge Torres (2014). She directed and filmed Improv(e) (2011) a documentary short highlighting the work of the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company and the teens from John C. Fremont High School in LA. She directed, filmed, and edited award-winning Breath of Life, starring Richard Dawkins (2014). Susan is director and cinematographer of the film Living in the Futures Past, a collaboration with Academy award-winning Jeff Bridges. The film has won multiple awards including the New York Film Festival and the UN gold medal for Outstanding Achievement in International Communications which best exemplifies the ideals and goals of the United Nations.
Susan lives in Hawaii and Washington State. She enjoys small-scale farming and hiking in between her time filming. Susan’s documentaries have been featured in the U.S, Canada, and the UK on National Geographic, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Shaw, NHK, KCET, LINK TV, Time Warner, and schools and universities as well as translated for and featured on platforms in China, Germany, and Argentina.
CAST & EXPERT SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES
General Wesley Clark retired from the military after 38 years of service in the United States Army. Wesley K. Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Since retiring in 2000, he has become an investment banker, businessman, commentator, author, and teacher. In September 2003, he answered the call to stand as a Democratic candidate for President of the United States, where his campaign won the state of Oklahoma and launched him to national prominence before he returned to the private sector in February 2004. Clark has chaired several public and private companies and is a progressive leader in pursuing energy solutions.
Clark graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes Scholar. While serving in Vietnam, he commanded an infantry company in combat, where he was severely wounded and evacuated home on a stretcher. He taught economics at West Point and served as a White House Fellow in the Officer of Management & Budget under the Ford administration. He commanded at the battalion, brigade, and division level, and served in a number of significant staff positions, including service as the Director Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5). Clark finished his career as NATO commander and Supreme Allied Commander Europe where he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.
His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), silver star, bronze star, purple heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including the award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France).
The author of three books, Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo and the Future of Combat; Winning Modern War: Iraq, Terrorism and the American Empire; and A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor, Country. Clark serves as Chairman/CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic consulting firm, and Co-Chairman of Growth Energy. Founded in 2004, Wesley K. Clark & Associates uses his expertise, relationships, and extensive international reputation and experience in the fields of energy, alternative energy, corporate and national security, logistics, aerospace and defense, and investment banking.
Clark joined UCLA as a senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations in UCLA’s International Institute in 2006, where he teaches seminars, publishes through the Burkle Center, and hosts an annual conference of government, corporate, and opinion leaders from around the world on national security. Clark currently serves in leadership positions with a number of non-profit public service organizations, including City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock (Board Chair), the International Crisis Group (Board Member), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Distinguished Senior Advisor), the Center for American Progress (Trustee), the United States Institute of Peace (United Nations Task Force Member), VoteVets (Board of Advisors), and the General Accountability Office (Advisory Board Member). He also serves as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Energy & Climate Change Advisory Board and ACORE’s Advisory Board.
Jeff Bridges is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors and a seven-time Academy Award® nominee, as well as a singer and producer. His 2009 performance in Crazy Heart deservedly garnered the iconic performer his first Oscar® for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The performance also earned him the Golden Globe, SAG Award, and the IFP/Spirit Award for Lead Actor. Bridges’ moving and multi-layered performance is one of many in a career that spans decades. He received Oscar® nominations for The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Starman, The Contender, True Grit and Hell or High Water.
In 1983, Jeff founded the End Hunger Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding children around the world. He is currently the national spokesman for the Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry campaign that is fighting to end childhood hunger in America.
One of Jeff’s true passions is photography. In 2013, Jeff was the recipient of an Infinity Award, presented by the International Center of Photography, NY. Proceeds from books of his photography are donated to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers charitable care and support to film-industry workers.
In August 2011, Jeff released his self-titled major-label debut album for Blue Note Records. The critically acclaimed album was a follow up to his first solo effort “Be Here Soon,” on Ramp Records, the Santa Barbara, CA label he co-founded. In 2014 he released his first live album “Jeff Bridges & The Abiders Live” and has been touring off and on when he is not working.
Jeff starred in and produced the award-winning documentary, Living In The Future’s Past, with filmmaker Susan Kucera in 2018 that takes the viewer on a meditative journey through climate change, an issue that greatly concerns him.
Jeff and his wife Susan divide their time between their home in Santa Barbara, California, and their ranch in Montana.
Wes Clark Jr. is a veteran, writer, and project manager for renewable energy. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He served as a scout platoon leader and troop executive officer in 2-7 Cavalry and a squadron maintenance officer in 1-10 Cavalry. Since leaving the service, he has worked as a creative executive, screenwriter, consultant, temp, wind energy project manager, math tutor, novelist, advertiser, pundit, and body armor salesman. In 2016 he organized and lead a non-violent veterans’ protest at Standing Rock Tribal Reservation in defense of the constitution’s supremacy clause against the Dakota Access Pipeline that mustered 4000 vets in the dead of winter to prevent an assault on tribal lands by multiple private military companies. He has a wife, kids, a pack of dogs, and two cockatiels.
Dr. Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School, where her research and teaching spans corporate law, corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions. Her most recent book is The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality which is an expansive analysis on the construction of capital.
Susan Wachter is the Albert Susan Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Director for the Wharton GeoSpatial Initiative and Lab, and Co-Director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research. Susan also codirects the Spatial Integration Lab for Urban Systems at the University of Pennsylvania. And currently serves on the Financial Research Advisory Committee for the Office of Financial Research in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Author of The Great American Housing Bubble
Dr. Rebecca Elliott is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics. Her research interests span economic sociology, political sociology, environmental sociology, and knowledge production and science studies. Her current book project examines the economic and political governance of climate change through the lens of Flood insurance.
Dr. Servaas Storm holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam and serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Development and Change. He serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Development and Change, and the European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies. Servaas works on the secular stagnation of productivity growth, technology-induced structural change, and the economics of climate change, energy use, and renewable energy transition.
He is also a member of the Working Group on The Political Economy of Distribution of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
Dr. Michael E. Webber is based in Paris, France where he serves as the Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE, a global energy & infrastructure services company. Webber is also the Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the University of Texas at Austin. Webber’s expertise spans research and education at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization on topics related to innovation, energy, and the environment. His book Power Trip: The Story of Energy was the basis of a 6-part documentary series on PBS. He was selected as a member of the 4th class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars, which is a leadership training program organized by Presidents George W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Webber has authored more than 400 publications, holds 6 patents, and serves on the advisory board for Scientific American. Webber holds a B.S. and B.A. from UT Austin and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Michael and his wife Julia have three children.
Ria Persad is the Founder and CEO of StatWeather, a weather and climate services corporation using Artificial Intelligence to automate forecasting systems. An immigrant and math prodigy, Ria started doing research at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab at the age of 13. Later she worked as a Martian Meteoroid Analyst at NASA’s Johnson Space Center during the Mars Pathfinder Mission. Now, her work with StatWeather has managed to double the accuracy of the weather forecasts.
John Cavalier is a Co-Managing Partner at Hudson Clean Energy, former Vice-Chair of Credit Suisse Investment Banking, former Chair of Credit Suisse Energy Group and Renewable Energy Efforts. He served in the U.S. Army for nine years and was an officer in the Signal Corps and the Judge Advocate Generals Corps. He was later awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his role as the first Senior Defense Counsel for the Northeastern United States. Anthony Costello is an Attorney and former Republican Congressman for Pennsylvania. He served as one of the ten most bipartisan members of Congress.
DK Reinemer is an award-winning actor, writer, and touring performer from the Pacific Northwest. In 2004, he helped open the Upfront Theatre with Ryan Stiles from, Whose Line is it Anyway? DK has since toured improv, sketch, and solo sketch comedy shows, Becoming Magic Mike, Help! I’m American, The DK Effect, and DK: Lost In Space to rave reviews across North America. DK has appeared in sketches on Comedy Central, College Humor, Funny or Die, and Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show.
Colonel William “Chris” Wyatt is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and Director of African Studies at the U.S. Army War College. He has extensive experience in security, international development, and education; specializing in counterintelligence, counter-terrorism, security reform, and national security strategy.
Dr. Luka Powanga is a professor of Economics and Finance at the Anderson College of Business and Computing at Regis University. He is the founder of the Energy Africa Conference that puts together high-level decision-makers from national governments, business, academia, and civil society from all over the world to meet their colleagues from Africa to exchange ideas, best practices, technologies and form partnerships to invest in the effort needed for Africa to develop power systems that are clean, efficient and cost-effective. He worked in the mining and telecommunications industry at local and international levels. He taught at Colorado School of Mines before transitioning to Regis University.
Margaret “Peggy” Montana is a former senior executive at Shell Oil with extensive international and operational responsibility in the downstream and midstream sectors with an emphasis on leading global organizations, supply chain optimization, and integrated market strategy, refining, pipeline, and terminal operations, transport logistics, and health and safety.
She has served as Chair of the American Petroleum Institute (API) Downstream Committee and led a study on Emergency Preparedness for the National Petroleum Council. She serves on the board of the Houston YMCA and the Board of Trustees for Missouri University of Science & Technology.
Katie Mehnert is the Founder and CEO of ALLY, a social community for an equitable energy transition. She is also an Ambassador to the United States Department of Energy. She has worked in the energy industry since 1997 and was the Director of Culture, Safety and Operational Risk at BP after the Deepwater Horizon incident and held global roles at Shell in health safety and environment. She is also the founder of Lean In Energy, a global organization aimed at helping women in energy through mentoring initiatives. Katie and her family lost their home and her business in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey.
Frank Epps is the Chief Executive officer and Co-Founder of Rhode Island-based Energy Development Partners, LLC (EDP). Frank is a recognized expert in the renewable energy industry as demonstrated through his success with the development and permitting of 25 solar projects consisting of 398 MWs of solar facilities in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and the Dominican Republic. He has served in executive management, sales, operations, and finance roles and has experience in equity and debt financing, mergers, and acquisitions. He started his renewable energy career as the President of wind turbine designer and manufacturer, EWT Americas, Inc., and its wholly-owned turbine blade- manufacturing subsidiary, Polymarin Composites USA Limited.
Maria Sotolongo has background is in meteorology and television. She has worked for Telemundo, NBC, FOX and the CW. She has also produced two documentaries: “Breathe” and “Changed: When the Dams Opened”. Maria was inspired to make the film when she and her family were impacted by Hurricane Harvey and the dam releases. Maria has two communications degrees from the University of Houston and a third in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University.
Chad Marzen is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies in Business at the College of Business at Florida State University and an expert in Drop Insurance and how it portends to climate change. He teaches courses on The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business, Law, and Accountancy, Uniform Commercial Code Business Law Problems, and Legal and Political Aspects of Insurance. He grew up on a farm in Iowa and practiced law at an insurance defense law firm in Omaha, Nebraska before his appointment at Florida State University.
Dennis Marzen farms corn and other staple crops on his family farm in Iowa.
Gary Canada is the President of the Bank of England in Arkansas, where he’s dedicated to providing credit and financial guidance to farmers. In the past, Gary has farmed cotton, rice, and wheat, and has run a cow-calf operation. He now serves on several committees and boards including the Bayou Metro Irrigation District, American Bankers Association, Agricultural, and Rural Bankers Committee, and the Arkansas Rice Council. Roger Turner farms staple crops in DeWitt, Arkansas. He works as a hunting guide during duck hunting season.
Alessia Roberta Scopece is a journalist and author of The Global Empire: Late Antiquity Transition And Post Contemporary Crisis.
Ugo Bardi is a Professor in Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence, Italy, and author of the book The Limits to Growth Revisited and The Other Side of Growth. He is engaged in research on sustainability and energy, with a special view on the concept of a circular economy and on the depletion of mineral resources.
J. Robert Hunter (Bob Hunter) is the Director for Insurance Consumer Federation of America and former Director of the National Flood Insurance Program under Presidents Carter and Ford. He founded the National Insurance Consumer Organization (NICO), a non-profit watchdog group that monitors the insurance industry and works to educate consumers. He served as President of NICO for 13 years before folding his work into the Consumer Federation of America.
Ravé Mehta is an entrepreneur, investor, and managing partner of Flow Capital. Ravé is also a board member of Mehta Group, an engineering and construction management firm building transportation and water infrastructure including roads, bridges, highways, airports, and water systems.
Bas Hofman is a mechanical engineer who realized at the turn of the century renewable energy would play an important role in our future. He has worked for a wind turbine manufacturer (EWT), offshore wind (Blue H Group), and as an Energy Coach for his local municipality (Tilburg), selling and installing PV systems for Dutch Solar Energy and setting up a local energy cooperative (CDER) in the Netherlands for community wind.
Amad Jackson lives in LA with his wife and two daughters. He’s a working actor and has worked with directors such as the Cohen Brothers, David Ayer, and Felicia Rashad and has appeared in over twenty-five TV roles, most recently Blackish. He’s also appeared in over thirty commercials as well as numerous voice-over roles. He has an MA in English Literature from Cal State LA and most recently taught a class at Lancaster Prison as part of the Cal State LA/Lancaster Prison BA program for men serving Life Without the Possibility of Parole. He served as General Wesley Clark’s traveling assistant during the 2004 Presidential Campaign, and he’s a jazz fanatic.
Zach Bullock farms staple crops in DeWitt, Arkansas.
Tami Hornbeck is a Community Facilitator for Communities Unlimited with years of experience in agricultural production, renewable energy, and rural development. At Community Limited Tami works to develop, implement, and sustain strategies that move communities toward prosperity, and to enable communities to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. She also serves as a USDA FoodLINC coordinator to focus on local, healthy food systems that address the key challenges of food deserts, and the inclusion of small-scale farmers and minority-owned farms.
Warren Jennings is President and CEO of Arkansas County Bank in DeWitt, Arkansas.
KEY PRODUCTION TEAM
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK (ret.)
Jim Swift is the producer and executive producer who set the project in motion and whose support and passion for the subjects are reflected in the Film. Jim and Susan Kucera have worked together on several projects. Jim is also a big supporter of small scale farming, farm to table businesses, and sustainable infrastructure.
Co-producer, Narrative Consultant, and Cartoon Concepts Contributor
Anna specializes in narrative theory, holds a Masters in English Studies from Durham University in the UK. She is currently completing a Ph.D. on environmental ethics of violence and consumption in crime fiction. She is the book reviews editor for the International Crime Fiction Association. Anna’s research includes Satire, Gender Studies, and Environmental History. Additionally, Anna was the narrative consultant for the documentaries, Breath of Life and writer for Living in the Future’s Past with Jeff Bridges.
WES CLARK JR
Co-producer and Narrative Consultant
Director, Co-producer, Cinematographer, and Editor
(See Director’s bio)
Kaamran has been writing, drawing, and selling cartoons to the magazine markets since 2010. Prior to that, he drew a digitally syndicated panel for GoComics called, ‘Bozo’. Kaamran’s cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, and Harvard Business Review. Kaamran lives and works on Gabriola Island, B.C.
Michael Ruff is a Grammy® nominated producer and songwriter, BMI Award winner, multiple Na Hoke award winner and nominee, Cable Ace award winner, and musical director for major artists and tours. Writing, Production, Touring and Recording credits include India Arie, Bonnie Raitt, David Sanborn, Lionel Richie, Natalie Cole, Kenny Loggins, Stevie Nicks, Huey Lewis, and the News, The Doobie Brothers, John Lee Hooker, and many others.
Eric Gilliom is an award-winning musician and entertainer whose multi-hyphenate talents have taken him from his roots in Hawaii to performing live on the stages of Broadway, the Grammy Awards and into the mainstream through his various concerts and appearances in films and television. He is currently the lead singer of Mick Fleetwood’s Island Rumours Band, based on the island of Maui. As a native Hawaiian singer, songwriter, and musician, he’s won the Hoku Award (Hawaiian Grammy) for Best Album with his partner Willie K as ‘The Barefoot Natives.’
Colin Dalvit is an award-winning animator and motion graphics artist with over a decade of professional experience. After serving as lead animator and motion graphics artist for two production studios, he founded his own boutique studio focused on motion graphics, animation, and visual effects - Kinetikos Animation Co. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Western Washington University, teaching animation and motion graphics in the Design department.
A Los Angeles native with a long career in arts education now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is producing animation for film and gaming productions. Ruben enjoys drawing and creating art everyday but bringing inanimate objects to life is where his passion resides. He most happy spending time at home with his wife and two children Molly, Roman and Nola.
Doug Paterson is an award winning sound designer and composer in Vancouver, BC. for the last 28 years he has been working in the world of audio post-production and music. He formerly taught at Vancouver Film School. Doug is passionate about passing on his knowledge to new generations of filmmakers and animators.
He currently resides in Burnaby BC, Canada with his wife Angela and two children.