Are you ready, documentary filmmakers? In what has to be the strangest TV project of the year, conservative media personality Glenn Beck announced yesterday that he's teaming up with Vince Vaughn for a reality show in which 20 documentarians will compete for financing and distribution for their film.
Our team of experienced producers and executives will be hand selecting twenty of the most compelling contestants to compete on the show. If selected, contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the ten-week production period for our panel of expert judges. Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their film-making abilities. They will either survive or be eliminated based on the criterion. For example. contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to our panel of judges.
The online form is, well, shorter than most grant applications, and asks filmmakers to explain if they have "a personal relationship to the subject matter" of their film and if "there any social or political issues you are passionate about and why?" According to the contest rules, the winner will produce his or her feature-length doc through Luckey 3 with a budget up to $200,000, and Luckey 3, Midwest Pictures and TheBlaze will have approval and control over the production and release of the film.
Vaughn and Peter Billingsley’s Wild West Productions and Gary Auerbach’s Go Go Luckey Entertainment are producing the series alongside TheBlaze — the website, subscription live streaming video network and Dish TV channel Beck owns. According to Politico, "Pursuit of the Truth" will launch on TheBlaze TV in spring 2013, and Beck described some of his aims for the series on air yesterday:
I’d like to see the stuff just isn’t done. And done right. And done without conspiracy. I’d love to see something on the Federal Reserve, the game that’s being played there. I would love to see something on why capitalism is actually a good thing, why it’s not a bad thing. I’m looking for somebody that really wants to change the course of America by telling the truth that you think is never, ever told.
From that, it sure sounds like the "Truth" that competitors will be pursuing will be the kind that fits in Beck's espoused world view. The show's website lists Beck, Vaughn (who's been a vocal Ron Paul supporter), Billingsley and Auerbach as the ones who'll be reviewing projects and choosing who'll end up on air — maybe some left-leaning (or at least more varied) filmmakers will also make the cut (and, perhaps, be villainized). The "A Christmas Story" star-turned-producer (of "Iron Man," "Dinner for Five" and "Sullivan & Son") Billingsley went on Beck's radio show to discuss the new series:
I think we were all having this idea at the same time and we said, well, what if we created a mechanism not only where we gave funding to people, which is so hard to come by to make their film, and real funding, but also create a system where we can vet ideas and filmmakers, have them compete for these ideas and, boy, we’ll wind up with not only a new emerging filmmaker or someone who’s made some films to win this competition but a great movie and we can set up a new system. And nothing like this has ever been done before. We’re looking for great filmmaking, entertaining, truthful filmmaking that comes from good filmmakers that can get the message out to everybody.