“It’s no secret that film festivals tend to skew more toward liberal or progressive subjects…”Posted: January 16, 2014
“…I had one tell me they couldn’t stand the sight of the people in (‘Caucus’)”
By contrast, “2016: Obama’s America” co-directors Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan avoided the U.S. fest circuit altogether — and it doesn’t seem to have hurt the film in the slightest. “2016” earned more than $33 million, making it the second-highest-grossing political doc after “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
“…I actually get a lot more of what I describe as left-wing propaganda films.”
For most nonfiction pics, however, the fest circuit is a vital component of a film’s life cycle, which is why businessman-turned-documaker Dennis Michael Lynch submitted his “They Come to America” to nearly 30 U.S. festivals, to no avail. He contends the film was rejected on the basis of his conservative stance on immigration, as opposed to the film’s quality. Lynch went on to self-distribute and decided not to “waste a dime on festivals” for the sequel.
On the other hand, the cinema verite-style “Caucus,” about the 2012 Iowa Republican caucus, was accepted into such established fests as HotDocs and AFI Docs last year, although helmer A.J. Schnack admits it was a hard sell.
“It’s no secret that film festivals tend to skew more toward liberal or progressive subjects,” Schnack says. “I had one tell me they couldn’t stand the sight of the people in (‘Caucus’).”
That doesn’t mean conservative or right-leaning docs aren’t welcome at top-tier festivals. This year, Sundance will premiere Greg Whiteley’s “Mitt,” a behind-the-scenes look at Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, and last year, Robert Stone’s “Pandora’s Promise” and R.J. Cutler’s “The World According to Dick Cheney” both debuted in Park City.
“We are politically agnostic in the way that we look at films,” says Sundance senior programmer Caroline Libresco.
( cough )
Toronto programmer Thom Powers agrees, but adds he receives “very few” right-leaning docu submissions. “I actually get a lot more of what I describe as left-wing propaganda films.” Last year, Powers brought Errol Morris’ “The Unknown Known,” about former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and says the atmosphere verged on contentious…
- It’s Here…Sundance 2014 Begins! (inanirishhome.com)
- Robert Redford’s Sundance Press Conference: ‘We Have Nothing to do With Distribution’ (variety.com)
- Sundance: Highlights include ‘Hellion,’ ‘Finding Fela,’ ‘Dinosaur 13’ (latimes.com)
- Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ Joins Sundance Film Festival Lineup (variety.com)
- Sundance Film Festival 2014: All the Details on the Stars, Parties and Nightlife (cherrywired.com)
- Sundance: ‘Hellion’ Star Josh Wiggins Follows Aaron Paul’s Lead, Signs With UTA, Leverage Management (thewrap.com)
- 2014 Sundance Docs in Focus: MITT (whatnottodoc.com)
- Mitt Romney documentary to show at Sundance, be released on Netflix (ksl.com)
- Mitt Romney Movie: Documentary to Premiere on Netflix on Jan 24 (+Trailer) (theepochtimes.com)
- Netflix Adds Mitt Romney Documentary ‘Mitt’ To Slate Of Originals (webpronews.com)