“The way I was treated was something out of an East German playbook,” Mr. Mahoney said during an interview yesterday, explaining the footage. “The university said there had to be a handler with me at all times. They wanted to have final content control. After I filmed with one of their handlers, I wouldn’t be allowed to release anything publicly unless they approved it. They said the amount of money to pay was dependent on what our point of view was.”
In footage posted on the film’s Web site, Mr. Maloney shows a Columbia administrator, filmed only from the neck down, saying that the content of the film needed to be approved so that the university was portrayed in “the best possible light.” He tells Mr. Mahoney that filming on campus costs $1,500 an hour.
A Columbia spokesman, Robert Hornsby, said the university does not perform content reviews of any footage filmed on campus. The employee who appears in the documentary no longer manages the film permits, and only Hollywood production companies pay the rate of $1,500 an hour to shoot on campus, he said.