All The Queen’s Horses with Director Kelly Pope
The critically-acclaimed 2017 documentary ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES investigates one of the largest cases of municipal fraud in American history that occurred in Dixon, IL. It will screen at the Art as the first title in our new series: “Stories from the City, Stories from the State: An Illinois Filmmaker Showcase.” The May 22nd 7:30pm screening will be followed by a discussion with the director — Kelly Richmond Pope — who will be in town for the event. The “Stories from the City, Stories from the State” series will spotlight five films by five Illinois filmmakers.
Rita Crundwell stole more than $53 million of public funds across two decades in office as the City Comptroller and Treasurer for Dixon, Illinois, a town with a population of just 16,000. She used the funds to build one of the nation’s leading quarter horse breeding empires, and threw lavish parties for community leaders at her home, all while the town endured cuts to public staff, emergency services budgets, and work on maintaining public infrastructure. In 2012 after a close colleague turned whistleblower finally uncovered her scheme and alerted the Mayor, the FBI arrested Crundwell as the largest municipal fraud perpetrator in American history.
How did Rita Crundwell steal an average of over $220,000 a month from a town with an annual budget of around $6 million? How could such embezzlement go undetected in annual audits by two independent accounting firms and in annual audit reviews by state regulators? How did local residents not become suspicious of Crundwell’s extravagant wealth and frivolous spending?
ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES is the riveting story of how a pillar of the community could so callously execute a scam of such magnitude. This film reveals how she did it and got away with it for so long, how she was caught, how the city is attempting to rebuild and recover, and how if it happened in Dixon, it could happen anywhere.
About Kelly Pope
The film is the debut feature of director Kelly Richmond Pope, Ph.D., CPA, an associate professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University and founder of Helios Digital Learning. Pope’s work and research across her academic and professional careers has centered around fraud, and her first educational documentary, Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes, has won numerous national education innovation awards and is used in colleges, universities, and corporations throughout the country.
Pope developed the film through the inaugural Diverse Voices in Docs fellowship, a professional development and mentorship program for documentary makers of color, organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago, and funded in part by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES participated in the 2016 TFI Network Market at the Tribeca Film Festival, 2016 Hot Docs Deal Makers and 2013 Tribeca Hacks with the Tribeca Film Institute.
ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES was directed and produced by Kelly Richmond Pope, and co-produced and edited by Lesley Kubistal. The film was shot by Bing Liu, Keith Walker, and Margaret Byrne, and is executive produced by Ivy Walker, Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, Justin Dearborn, and Nicholas Gialamas.