In this feature-length, personal essay documentary, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney grapples with America’s profound inequality crisis. The story begins in 2018, after Abigail encounters workers at the company that bears her name struggling to put food on the table. Could she, a descendent, with no role in the multinational conglomerate, use her famous last name to help pressure Disney and other American corporations to treat low-wage workers more humanely? Believing her conservative grandfather, Roy Disney, (Walt’s brother and company co-founder) would never have tolerated employee hunger at “The Happiest Place On Earth”, Abigail reexamines the story of modern American capitalism from the middle of the last century, when wealth was shared more equitably, to today, when CEO’s earn upwards of 800 times more than their average employees. What happened? What Abigail learns-about racism, corporate power, and the American Dream, is eye-opening, unexpected, and inspiring in that it begins to imagine a path to a fairer future for everyone.
Filmed over a two-year period, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales expertly weaves together Abigail’s family story and the stories of Disneyland workers; with commentary from historians, authors, and academics. The film artfully employs archive, animation, and never-before-seen Disney family movies. From the boardroom to the union hall, the film will no doubt jump-start urgently needed conversations, about how to make American capitalism work for everyone. As Abigail concludes, “it won’t be easy, but with imagination and courage it can be changed.”