Alumni present film on corrupt politics

Tisch alumni Holly Mosher and John Ennis premiered their socially conscious documentary “Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes” on Sept. 5 at AMC Village 7.

“Pay 2 Play” features several pop culture figures, including Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, Jerry Springer, John Nichols and Bob Edgar.

Mosher and Ennis consider the experience of making “Pay 2 Play” unlike any project they had worked on in the past. They began filming in 2005 during the infamous Coingate scandal in Ohio, an event that is interwoven into the film’s plot. Coingate was an investment controversy in which the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party through the party’s members in Ohio.

“Pay 2 Play” focuses on filmmaker Ennis’ struggle to be above the political corruption on the campaign trail in Ohio, discovering how money inhibits real change within the American political system.

After eight years of filming a topic that has changed so much over the past decade, it seemed to Ennis as though making the film was a never-ending process.

“This film was definitely the most daunting,” Ennis said. “There were so many times we all thought we were finished. Looking it over, [we asked ourselves], ‘Are we done? Is this it?’ And then something happens and we have to change everything.”

Since graduating, the Tisch colleagues have collaborated on two other documentaries: “Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety,” a direct examination of the corrupt pharmaceutical industry in 2006, and “Free for All!” in 2008.

After 11 movies, and an Oscar nomination for Mosher, the two have made a name for themselves in New York.

“[New York City is] what I trip about all the time,” Ennis said. “I worked with people like Amy Poehler and Matt Walsh, and now they’re huge.”

Coming from such a film hub as Tisch, Ennis advises students to take advantage of the resources at NYU and the potential for professional relationships with classmates.

“You meet so many like-minded people,” Ennis said. “And they become superstars.”

Ennis and Mosher are eager to continue collaborating with other New York-based producers for future projects.

“Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes” will be showing through Sept. 11.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 8 print edition. Email Donald Pierce at [email protected]



  1. I’m a former FBI corruption buster (Philadelphia and NYC). Made my bones on state and federal officials, especially school boards. Why not do city and state corruption in MD, NY? You surely have abundance of material with all the NY politicians. And everyone thinks MD is as pure as a new fallen snow on a convent roof– B.S. Its institutionalized and structurally insulated. Be glad to help with insights and nuance of getting the sufficient evidence of corruption.

    I live in the DC area,…


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