By James Lindorf
The Young Turks (TYT) is a progressive news and opinion show that is the TYT Network flagship. Initially content to produce TYT for YouTube and a multi-channel network of associated web series, the network has opened a new branch, TYT Productions. At SXSW Online 2021, this new chapter for TYT will begin with the documentary “The Oxy Kingpins.”
“The Oxy Kingpins” was co-directed by three-time Emmy Award nominee Brendan FitzGerald and Oscar nominee Nick August-Perna. With production assistance from Drea Bernardi at TYT, and Chris Smith (Tiger King), Oscar winner Adam McKay (The Big Short), Maeve Cullinane (Vice), and Todd Schulman (Borat) serving as executive producers. A true powerhouse team of people who have spent decades searching for the truth and exposing injustice.
“The Oxy Kingpins” shines a light on the intricate web connecting multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, street criminals, and retailers. This network allowed them to conspire to facilitate the opioid crisis responsible for the deaths of half-a-million Americans. Thousands of users and dealers have been arrested, even the occasional doctor or pharmacist. Still, in all these years, the people profiting the most have never been held accountable. Until now, “The Oxy Kingpins” exposes the seldom seen top layer of the distribution pyramid consisting of the distributors who shipped pills to pharmacies, hospitals, and pain management clinics across the country.
With big court battles looming, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and millions of families affected, it would have been easy for FitzGerald and August-Perna to get bogged down in legalese or get crushed by the overwhelming sorrow of the crisis. Instead, they aimed for informative but entertaining in their fast-paced expose. “The Oxy Kingpins” will never fail to keep viewers on their toes as you are dumbstruck by the almost mindless ease dealers make millions of dollars. They could have stopped with the intoxicating rise and harrowing falls of the dealers. However, the real shocking moments begin when they investigate the callousness of the manufacturers. Cold-hearted “legitimate” businessmen and women who make millions of dollars a year in some cases while laughing about people being addicted and comparing the drugs to Doritos.
If “The Oxy Kingpins” is any indication, TYT Productions has a bright future in front of it. To learn more about the movie, listen to my interview with Drea Bernardi and Brendan FitzGerald below and look for #OxyKingpins.