Sundance Channel Dedicates Monday Nights to Election-Themed Documentaries for Five Weeks Leading Up to Presidential Election
To: POLITICAL EDITORS
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NEW YORK, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire/ — Sundance Channel heads into the final five weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign with a special DOCDAY slate dedicated to the electoral process. Beginning at 9:00pm et/pt every Monday night from October 6 through November 3, Sundance Channel will present feature documentaries and original series about the men and women — and girls and boys — who seek public office in the U.S., be it as leader of the free world or as leader of their middle-school student body. The lineup includes the U.S. television premieres of three feature-length documentaries: Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker’s The Return of the War Room, a Sundance Channel original production; Mary Lambert’s 14 Women; and Vanessa Roth’s The Third Monday in October. Rounding out October’s election-oriented documentary programming are James Rogan’s Blog Wars, R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor’s 1996 feature A Perfect Candidate, Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight, Robert Drew’s Primary, Sarah and Emily Kunstler’s short Getting Through to the President, and the Sundance Channel original series “The Hill.”
Sundance Channel’s ballot-driven DOCDAY programming kicks off on October 6 with the U.S. television premiere of Mary Lambert’s 14 Women, which profiles the fourteen women who served in the U.S. Senate from 2004-2006. Narrated by Academy Award(R) nominee Annette Bening, the film offers an uplifting look at a diverse group of women, who represent a spectrum of political ideologies but share a commitment to getting things done.
The following week’s presentation on October 13 features the premiere of Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker’s The Return of the War Room, a Sundance Channel original production. The Return of the War Room revisits the people and themes of The War Room (1993), Hegedus and Pennebaker’s behind-the-scenes look at the hard-charging campaign staff behind Bill Clinton’s run for President in 1992. Virtually all the major players from original film are on hand to discuss the 1992 race and reflect on today’s campaign strategies, including chief Clinton strategists James Carville and George Stephanopoulos; their colleagues Paul Begala, Bob Boorstin, Lisa Caputo, Rahm Emanuel, Stan Greenberg, Mandy Grunwald and Mickey Kantor; Republican campaign strategist Mary Matalin (now married to Carville); and journalist Mark Halperin.
Sundance Channel’s feature slate also looks to the future with the third U.S. television premiere, Vanessa Roth’s delightful The Third Monday in October. Filmed in October 2004, the film follows eleven eighth-graders running for student government president at four U.S. middle schools: Francisco Middle School in San Francisco, CA; Hall Middle School in Marin County, CA; St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX; and Inman Middle School in Atlanta, GA.
A central issue of the 2008 national elections — the Iraq War — is the focus of a fourth DOCDAY premiere, Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight, which will debut on October 27. Nominated for the 2008 Academy Award(R) for Best Documentary Feature, No End in Sight draws on the insights of military and political insiders to tell the story behind the Bush Administration’s military and occupation strategies in Iraq, revealing how those policies often directly contradicted the advice of the men and women on the ground in Iraq.
Sundance Channel’s DOCDAY election-themed programming will continue through Monday, November 3rd (the eve of the 2008 election) with presentations of Robert Drew’s 1960 classic Primary, a Sundance Channel premiere; a rebroadcast of No End in Sight; and the fifth episode of “The Hill.”
Other series presentations include a marathon of “The Hill” on Saturday, October 26 beginning at 6:00pm. On Saturday, November 1, the Channel will present a marathon of “Tanner ’88,” Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau’s satiric television miniseries that followed fictitious Democratic candidate Jack Tanner (Michael Murphy) through the very real terrain of the 1988 presidential campaign; the “Tanner ’88″ marathon airs from 3:00pm — 9:00pm et/pt. On Sunday, November 2, the Channel will present Altman and Trudeau’s 2004 spin-off “Tanner on Tanner,” which centers on the former candidate’s daughter Alex Tanner (Cynthia Nixon), now a documentary filmmaker making a film about the presidential candidates.
The schedule for Sundance Channel’s DOCDAY election-themed programming is as follows:
14 Women (U.S. Television Premiere) — Directed by Mary Lambert. With the first two election cycles of the 21st Century, the number of women serving in United States Senate vaulted from nine to fourteen, a tally that included the first female senators from Alaska and North Carolina. Director Lambert — whose sister is Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln — delivers an intimate documentary portrait of those fourteen senators, capturing them in their offices and at home with their families; on the campaign trail and on the floor of the Senate. In direct interviews, the senators discuss a range of topics, from their inspiration for entering politics to the joys of campaigning to the importance of family support. Annette Bening narrates.
“The Hill: Fighting the Good Fight” Episode one of the six-part documentary series set in the office of Congressman Robert Wexler D- Fla.
The Return of the War Room (Original Production/U.S. Television Premiere) — Directed by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker. Hegedus and Pennebaker deliver a thought-provoking, highly entertaining look at presidential races then and now as they reconnect with the main characters from The War Room, their behind-the-scenes look at Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. Sixteen years after James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Paul Begala, Dee Dee Myers and their confreres reshaped American campaigning with their use of the “war room” — an all-hands-in command center — their strategies have become staples of elections worldwide. As these and other political veterans recall the rollercoaster days of 1992, The Return of the War Room explores how the political process and media culture have changed since Clinton took office. Among the newer faces appearing in the film are Mark McKinnon, the former Chief Media Advisor to the 2008 McCain campaign; and Republican political pollster Frank Luntz.
The War Room — Directed by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker. During Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, the insiders to watch were strategists James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s Oscar(R)-nominated documentary cemented the public image of the brainy duo — attack dog/bad cop Carville teamed with cool good cop Stephanopoulos — as it chronicled one of the most dramatic campaigns of modern times. From snowy New Hampshire and the Gennifer Flowers scandal to election night in November, 1992, The War Room is in the trenches with men and women who helped power Bill Clinton to the White House.
“The Hill: Less Feeling Please…More Doing” Episode two of the six-part documentary series set in the office of Congressman Robert Wexler D-Fla.
Blog Wars (Original Production) — Directed by James Rogan. This sharp and funny documentary looks at the explosion of political blogs, which have become the loudspeakers for a new generation of activists speaking out and picking fights across the political spectrum. As the 2006 mid-term elections approach, it is a pivotal moment for the top bloggers seen in the film, including Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, Ariana Huffington of The Huffington Post, and David Lat and Alex Pareene of Wonkette. With exquisite timing, Rogan captures the bloggers as they throw themselves into one of the country’s most hotly contested battles: the Connecticut Democratic Senatorial primary showdown between upstart challenger Ned Lamont and incumbent Joe Lieberman.
The Third Monday in October (U.S. Television Premiere) — Directed by Vanessa Roth. While George Bush and John Kerry were battling each other for the U.S. presidency in October 2004, some 200,000 thirteen-year-olds were mounting their own presidential bids at middle schools around the United States. This fast-paced, charming documentary takes us to four different middle schools in California, Texas and Georgia, introducing us to eleven boys and girls who think they have the right stuff to lead their student governments. Among them: San Francisco student Mick, the shy, idealistic son of Philippine immigrants; William, an unabashed Bush supporter in liberal Marin County, CA; Kayla, a politically engaged Atlanta cheerleader who is running against two of her squad-mates; and Austin private school student Sam, a shaggy, hyper-articulate dynamo with a passion for politics.
“The Hill: Putting in My Two Cents” Episode three of the six- part documentary series set in the office of Congressman Robert Wexler D-Fla.
No End in Sight (U.S. Television Premiere) — Directed by Charles Ferguson. This award-winning documentary offers an insider’s look at how the Bush Administration formulated policies and strategies in American-occupied Iraq, exploring the critical decisions that set the stage for a bloody insurgency and a war now in its fifth year. Based on over 200 hours of footage, the film traces events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003, drawing on interviews with high- ranking officials including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; Ambassador Barbara Bodine, a longtime Middle East diplomat; Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell; and General Jay Garner, who supervised the occupation of Iraq through May 2003. Also weighing in are several American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, who experienced the consequences of the Bush Administration’s decisions on the ground. Nominated for the 2008 Academy Award(R) for Best Documentary Feature; awards including Special Jury Prize, 2007 Sundance Film Festival; Best Non-Fiction Film from National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
A Perfect Candidate — Directed by R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor. Seven years after he admitted lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra affair, Oliver North ran as Virginia’s Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. This highly acclaimed documentary follows North’s campaign to unseat Democratic incumbent Chuck Robb, the son-in-law of President Lyndon Johnson. Offering trenchant commentary are two behind-the-scenes players: North’s campaign mastermind Mark Goodin, a disgraced protege of the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater; and Don Baker, a veteran Washington Post reporter who tries mightily to get the candidates to answer substantive questions.
Getting Through to the President (short) — Directed by Sarah and Emily Kunstler. For three days in 2004, hundreds of Americans in Greenwich Village were invited to talk to the White House’s comment line. This short film records what happened when New Yorkers fed quarters into a payphone and braved busy signals and excessive hold times to get their voices heard.
“The Hill: What Should the Democrats Be Saying?” Episode four of the six-part documentary series set in the office of Congressman Robert Wexler D-Fla.
Primary (Sundance Channel Premiere) — Directed by Robert Drew. One of the earliest examples of America’s direct cinema movement, this historic documentary follows the two Democratic presidential candidates — Minnesota Senator Hubert H. Humphrey and Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy — during the last week of the 1960 Wisconsin primary campaign. It is vivid close-up of American politics and America itself, filled with memorable scenes: Humphrey delivering a populist appeal to a small audience of rural farmers; Kennedy hitting notes of optimism in a speech to a packed Milwaukee auditorium; Jacqueline Kennedy addressing that same audience, largely Polish Catholics, in Polish. The film’s team of photographers included D A Pennebaker (credited as D.A. Pennebaker), Richard Leacock (A Happy Mother’s Day) and Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens).
No End in Sight — Directed by Charles Ferguson. See above, October 27th at 7:00pm.
“The Hill: Nothing is Fun in a Hurricane” — Episode five of the six-part documentary series set in the office of Congressman Robert Wexler D-Fla.
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