Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

DISPATCH FROM DENVER | Filmmakers Descend Upon DNC: Schnack's "Convention" Unites Top Doc Directors;

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire August 28, 2008 at 5:15AM

Alongside the thousands of journalists reporting on the Democratic National Convention here in Denver, teams of filmmakers have been fanning out across the city to tell stories that might otherwise be overlooked. AJ Schnack ("Kurt Cobain About a Son") has tapped a cadre of acclaimed indie filmmakers to shoot a feature doc about the convention. Meanwhile, George Hickenlooper ("The Mayor of Sunset Strip," "Hearts of Darkness") is tracking his cousin, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, while directors Amy Rice and Alicia Sams continue making their insider documentary about Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Today, indieWIRE visited Schnack and other indie filmmakers "on set" at the convention, while also catching up with other DNC-related docs.
2

Alongside the thousands of journalists reporting on the Democratic National Convention here in Denver, teams of filmmakers have been fanning out across the city to tell stories that might otherwise be overlooked. AJ Schnack ("Kurt Cobain About a Son") has tapped a cadre of acclaimed indie filmmakers to shoot a feature doc about the convention. Meanwhile, George Hickenlooper ("The Mayor of Sunset Strip," "Hearts of Darkness") is tracking his cousin, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, while directors Amy Rice and Alicia Sams continue making their insider documentary about Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Today, indieWIRE visited Schnack and other indie filmmakers "on set" at the convention, while also catching up with other DNC-related docs.

"Convention"

At about 3:30 this afternoon, inside the Denver Post's Pepsi Center HQ at the Democratic National Convention, with cameras in hand filmmakers AJ Schnack and Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar ("A Lion In the House") huddled around the paper's political team. The unit was buzzing because Barack Obama had just arrived in the city, while across town Rage Against The Machine was performing live and inside the hall the presidential candidate's name was placed into nomination with the roll call about to begin. Later, inside the convention hall, Schnack and filmmaker Paul Taylor ("We Are Together") worked the floor and followed other Post reporters.

Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar shooting at the Denver Post's DNC HQ this afternoon in Denver. Photo by Eugene Hernandez

Filmmakers Schnack, Bognar, Reichert, Taylor, Laura Poitras ("My Country, My Country"), and Daniel Junge ("They Killed Sister Dorothy") are among those trailing Post editor Curtis Hubbard and reporter Allison Sherry, Denver host committee president Elbra Wedgeworth, and Mayor Hickenlooper's staff to capture the stories behind the scenes at this year's event. The film is simply titled, "Convention."

Sitting with indieWIRE over lunch at the Starz Green Room this afternoon, AJ Schnack said he is excited about the coverage they are getting, noting that his subjects have been open and accessible, knowing that the footage won't be seen until well after the convention is over.

Schnack, who recently re-visited classic docs such as Robert Drew's "Primary" and "Crisis," said he found Drew's collaborations with Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles, and D.A. Pennebaker inspiring. "It's a small homage to the old Drew and Associates," Schnack told indieWIRE today.

Currently on a break from the documentary that he and the True/False Film Festival's David Wilson have been making in Missouri this summer, Schnack enlisted Wilson and "Branson" collaborator Nate Truesdell to help him here in Denver. He is producing the film with partner Shirley Moyers, the Denver Film Society's Britta Erickson, Jenny Chikes, and Truesdell.

Left to right last night: Nate Truesdell, Julia Reichert, AJ Schnack, Jennifer Poitras, Laura Poitras, Steven Bognar, Paul Taylor and David Wilson. Photo by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

"It's not really a film about politicians," Schnack explained, before walking around the convention site and checking up on his collaborators just as Obama's name was placed into nomination and ratified by acclamation, "It really is a film about how a city works." Explaining that for some time he has wanted to follow "how a city deals with a major event," Schnack will edit the film himself and hopes to have it completed early next year. While not going into financing details, he said that he secured some funding from traditional and local sources and will soon be seeking finishing funds from many funders who initially questioned whether he'd get the access he promised.

"It's sort of a leap of faith on everyone's part," Schnack added, "So much of it is on the fly." But, he reitered that he got that access he hope for. And tomorrow (Thursday), Schnack and his collaborators will be at Invesco Field when all of their characters' storylines converge as Obama delivers his acceptance speech.

"We really do have these great storylines, in all these different areas of the city," Schnack continued, "There are so many different characters, people really are being open in a way that I didn't expect they would be."

"Mayor"

While Schnack and company are following Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's staff, George Hickenlooper is tracking the man himself for what will end up a series and/or feaeture film. Produced by RJ Cutler ("The War Room"), the film is tracking the dynamic Mayor, considered one of the more progressive in the country and recently named to a Top 5 list of city heads by Time Magazine.

"It's basically going to be a doc about the day to day operations [and] how a Mayor runs a city and how he holds onto his potlical integrity and his humanity while trying to balance the thin wire of perception from both the media and the public," George Hickenlooper told indieWIRE this week.

Obama?

Also shooting in Denver is Amy Rice & Alicia Sams' apparently untitled doc about Barack Obama, reportedly backed by Ed Norton. The film, being produced with Ben Goldhirsh's Reason Pictures, is understood to have begun production at least two years ago. Insiders are being tight-lipped about the project of late, particularly in the wake of a recent Sharon Waxman blog piece about the documentary and declined repeated inquiries from indieWIRE about the movie.

Norton's Class 5 Films is involved, with Endeavor partner Ari Emanuel and Andrew Hurwitz also on board, with Green Film Co. and Citi Prods., according to a March report from Variety.

"Whether he wins or not, this will be one of the most intimate records of a presidential campaign," Norton told Waxman. "I'd say with confidence there's never been as thorough a documentation of a presidential campaign from the inside."

Waxman reported yesterday that HBO is pursuing the project, but the company did not respond today to an inquiry about their intentions.

This article is related to: Documentary, Festival Dispatch






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More