Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story documents the sunny touring mass of idealistic squeaky clean boys and girls who sang at Richard Nixon’s inaugural and had command performances for heads of state, filling stadiums around the world with their cheery, pro-Establishment message–a message crafted by  Moral Re-Armament, a Christian group that in the 1960s sought to counter the counterculture movement, and funded by major U.S. corporations.

Director Lee Storey, Movie Night’s guest on Monday August 8, became intrigued by the group when her husband William Storey revealed that he had been a member, delivering inspirational speeches between musical numbers. The film is especially poignant; William Storey died this month.
Lee Storey is now embroiled in a  U.S Tax Court case in Arizona, where IRS  is trying to prove that the primary purpose of documentary filmmaking in general is “to educate and to expose” and is thus “an activity not engaged in for profit.”Filmmaker Magazine reports:

If the IRS wins their case against Arizona filmmaker Lee Storey (Smile ’Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story), documentary filmmakers may no longer be permitted to deduct expenses associated with making their films from other sources of income. Furthermore, filmmakers who have already deducted these expenses may be faced with potentially ruinous audits.

All filmmaking–hell, all art–seeks to educate and expose. And does anyone make a movie–documentary or not–hoping to loose money? Even The Room’s investors had hopes.

The International Documentary Association has filed an amicus  brief urging:

the United States Tax Court to recognize that documentary films are overwhelmingly undertaken in pursuit of profit.

A ruling in the case is expected by the end of summer.

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