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Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #23: Eric Weinrib Paints a Revealing Portrait of a Comedic Icon in ‘Roseanne for President!’

Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #23: Eric Weinrib Paints a Revealing Portrait of a Comedic Icon in 'Roseanne for President!'

READ MORE: Meet the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Filmmakers

Comedian Roseanne Barr always went against the odds, first as an assertive housewife struggling to pay the bills on her sitcom. Now she tests the limits of the two-party system, vying for candidacy on the 2012 ballot. ‘Roseanne for President!’ follows her impassioned campaign journey. [Synopsis Courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival]

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

Roseanne Barr runs for president of the United States. What begins as a political journey becomes a revealing portrait of a comedic icon.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

It is the job of the comedian and any artist to speak truth to power. And it is the job of every human to find that voice within themselves and fearlessly shout about injustice wherever they see it no matter how unpopular that might be. Roseanne Barr is victorious for having stepped foot in the ring. We each have it in us to change the world. Your actions are as important as your vote. Get involved.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I’m an adventurer and a freedom-hog. A minor-league road dog, I’ve hitchhiked upwards of 10,000 miles. I’ve spent years in the medical marijuana industry cultivating plants in the hills of Mendocino County while black helicopters hovered overhead. I’ve driven forklift professionally, worked assembly line jobs, was a picker and a packer. I’ve hung out drenched in Hunter S. Thompson’s kitchen while he ate minestrone soup and made me promise never to tell anyone he didn’t shoot at me the moment I stepped foot on his property. I’ve slept in Ken Kesey’s office and helped paint his bus. He cried as he rattled off the names of his dead friends. I was at Occupy Wall Street on day one. I’ve worked with Michael Moore for over a decade. I had a short film at Sundance once. I’ve spent at least five nights in jail. I love my family and my friends and you, too.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

I personally watched and transcribed over 300 hours of footage which took me around 1,500 hours. No joke.

What do you want the Tribeca audience to take away from your film?

When you’re hiring for one of the most important jobs in the world, you’re probably going to want to see more than two applicants. Though the political system is rigged to protect the two corporate parties — from ballot access laws to how elections are administered to how votes are counted to how debates are restricted to how big money decides the winner — there are heroic people working to build alternative political parties into vehicles for social change. If you’d like to see them succeed, you’ll need to join them.

Any films inspire you?

My dear friend Patrick O’Brien’s film “TransFatty Lives” is the ultimate lemons-to-lemonade story. It will world premiere at Tribeca on April 16th and I implore you to check it out. I don’t want to give away too much, but Patrick is my hero and we all have something to learn from him.

What’s next?

I’d like to do another artist-on-an-impossible-mission documentary where Mick Jagger tries to join the Olympic swimming team or Paul McCartney tries to knit the world’s largest scarf.

What cameras did you shoot on?

Whatever we could get our hands on. The bulk of the film was shot on a Canon 5D by our DP, Jayme Roy. We also used a Sony EX1, a Sony EX3 and a Panasonic HVX-200. Much of the heart of the film was shot by me on a Kodak PlayTouch while Roseanne and I were alone. There are some things big cameras just can’t capture.

Did you crowdfund?


Did you go to film school? If so, which one? 

I went to the School of Visual Arts on 23rd street in New York City, right down the block from the old Kenmore hotel.

READ MORE: Tribeca 2015 Unveils Innovation Programming Lineup, Featuring Talks From Top CEOs and Scientists

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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