Sarah Palin, amidst flying rumors of a possible presidential run, is about to get two feature documentaries devoted to exposing (and espousing) her life and political career. A figure-friendly documentary by Tea-Partier and filmmaker Stephen Bannon hits AMC theaters next month, while a secretive film project is in the works by British documentarian Nick Broomfield. According to information leaked to 24 Frames, Broomfield is working on a “scathing” documentary of the Republican former Alaska governor that could be ready for a theatrical release soon.
It’s shaping up to be a battle of the Sarah Palin documentaries; Bannon’s pro-Palin The Undefeated hits select AMC theaters July 15th, and Broomfield’s untitled exposé can be ready for distributors to check out in a few weeks. News of Broomfield’s hush-hush project came on the heels of Friday’s announcement by AMC Theaters that Bannon’s documentary would be screening in select cities. 24 Frames’ source chose to remain anonymous due to the secretive nature of Broomfield’s documentary, but did say Broomfield “has quietly been interviewing Palin confidantes and is close to finishing his film.”
Broomfield has a slew of documentaries under his belt, and is particularly known for his unorthodox style and the controversial way he manages interviews. His documentary Kurt & Courtney featured a revealing “ambush-style” interview with the late grunge singer’s widow Courtney Love. Love sought, successfully, to have the movie banned from the Sundance Film Festival. Broomfield also made waves with his Tupac Shakur documentary Biggie and Tupac. Despite some controversy, Broomfield has won numerous filmmaking awards, including a Lifetime Achievement award from BAFTA.
Apparently, Broomfield’s project will include interviews with Palin’s parents and numerous ex-aides, and will present Palin as a “ruthless politician who has trampled over opponents and is now a potential presidential candidate.” The source went on to say that a full version of the project could be ready in a few weeks, and that potential U.S. distributors would be contacted soon about possibly acquiring the film after its runs at the Toronto Film Festival.
As for Bannon’s documentary The Undefeated, sources who have seen the documentary say Palin doesn’t appear in it, but numerous supporters and former employees were interviewed. It also, apparently, gives a strong indication that Palin will run for president in the next election cycle. Bannon has done fewer documentaries than Broomfield, with credits including Battle For America and the 2010 study of the economic crisis Generation Zero.
Whether you like her or not, Palin is a divisive political figure who attracts plenty of media attention. Any documentary about her is bound to draw interest and scrutiny, and thus has a chance at financial success. Since these documentaries will appeal strongly to one camp or the other, the question becomes “whose camp is bigger?”