Like indieWIRE‘s parent company, SnagFilms, who have been showcasing documentaries tied into Tuesday’s important midterm election in their Midterm Madness series, our curated Hulu Documentaries this week are also tied into the election. This week’s selections take a look back at various elections, on the local and national level, as well as the impact of particular politicians or would-be politicians.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “indieWIRE @ Hulu Docs” is a regular column spotlighting the iW-curated selections on Hulu’s Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. iW selections appear in the carousel at the top of the page and under “Featured Content” in the center. Be sure to check out these great non-fiction projects each week.
With so much divisiveness in play with this election, a good place to start to make sense of it all is Kelly Nyck’s “Split: A Divided America.” Traveling across the nation to speak to ordinary Americans as well as politicians and pundits, Nyck’s seeks to uncover the reasons for the partisan divides that inevitably do more harm than good, examining how religion, economics, race, and geography interact with media to foster the red state vs blue state, Republican vs Democrat divide.
Focusing in on one red state, and one small town, “Crawford,” directed by David Modigliani, tells the story of the site of President George W Bush’s ranch “home.” Using the less than a thousand strong population town as a microcosm of the US under Bush’s administration, the film shows the powerful impact that his residency had on the once obscure place, from his election onwards.
Texas is also the subject of Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck’s “The Big Buy: Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress.” The filmmakers build a case against the Texan Congressman, as he faces a criminal investigation into campaign fundraising and his role in attempting to redraw the state’s Congressional districts for political gain.
Moving West to California, director Dan Cox follows Austrian-born Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fulfillment of the American Dream when the former Mr Universe sets his sights on the Governor’s seat in “Running With Arnold.” With a tongue-in-cheek approach, the film takes an often critical look at the path “the Governator” has taken towards his political career.
Marlo Poras takes a look at another seemingly unlikely political candidate in “Run Granny Run.” 94-year-old Doris Haddock, frustrated with the state of politics, decides to make an unexpected bid for the US Senate just months before the election in this entertaining and inspiring doc.
Finally, the humorous “Anytown USA,” directed by Kristian Fraga, looks at small town Bogota, NJ, where three candidates (two of them legally blind!) enter a fiercely competitive mayoral race, revealing the highly polarized and counterproductive nature of partisan politics.
As an added bonus, if you didn’t have a chance to take a look at last week’s Halloween selection, “The Impaler,” W Tray White’s film also fits into this week’s theme as it follows a vampire/dark priest/witch in his Minnesota gubernatorial run.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance, consults with documentary filmmakers and festivals, and recently co-produced Cameron Yates’ feature documentary “The Canal Street Madam.” Follow him on Twitter @1basil1 and @CanalStMadamDoc and visit his blog what (not) to doc.