In a 2010 op-ed article written for The New York Times, doctor turned hedge-fund manager Michael Burry said that Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, proclaimed that no one could have predicted the housing bubble–“Everybody missed it.” Dr. Burry may have had a glass eye, but he definitely was able to see the burst of the housing market coming a mile away. He managed to take full advantage when, based on his predictions, he funneled billions of investor dollars into credit default swaps. By 2008, Dr. Burry was proven right when the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression hit, providing rich fodder for the recently Golden Globe-nominated film, THE BIG SHORT, based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name. Academy Award winning actor Christian Bale plays Dr. Burry, and Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt also appear as characters that predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid 2000s.
The Greenwich International Film Festival and starting first baseman for the New York Yankees, Mark Teixeira, proudly co-hosted an advance screening of the film at Bow Tie Cinema in Greenwich on Tuesday evening, December 15. It played to a packed house of 430 community members who enjoyed cocktails from Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors and a Q&A after the film with the people who inspired the story, including Danny Moses, Vincent Daniel, and Porter Collins from Seawolf Capital. They shared a firsthand account of what it was like to take on the big banks, covering everything from working with Hollywood, to how they felt when they saw the crash looming, to what they believe the next financial crisis will be.
During the Q&A, Porter Collins echoed Michael Burry’s frustrations with the Federal Reserve, exclaiming that, “Nobody believed us. No one listened. It was all about greed and profits.” All of their attempts to warn of what was coming down the pike were ignored. When moderator Charles (Chuck) Cafray asked, “Would you consider yourself heroes?” Vinny replied regrettably saying, “I would have felt like a hero if we could have prevented this.” Danny Moses encouraged the filmgoers to pay attention to oil next, when prompted by an audience member what we should be concerned about going forward. He expects the oil market will go down and won’t necessarily break the markets apart the way housing did but “it’s something to keep an eye on that will have a big impact.” At the tail end of the film, we’re told that Dr. Michael Burry has the foresight to predict California’s water shortage and now strictly invests heavily in almond farms because of their extreme water usage, making water rights highly valuable in any future draught. We may want to sit up and take notice this time.
Listen to the full panel and Q&A discussion here:
THE BIG SHORT sneak screening is one of several events that the Greenwich International Film Festival has planned leading up to the second annual festival, which will take place June 9th through 12th, 2016, and support important human rights causes. Bookmark this page to stay up to date and to learn about upcoming events, including a special screening of A CHRISTMAS STORY this coming Sunday, 12/20, at the Greenwich Public Library.