Race for the White House Hits the Big Screen

Every director dreams of winning an Oscar, but for Charles Ferguson, whose "No End in Sight," a documentary about the Iraq War that critics called "devastating," "enraging" and "lacerating," the wish to win was firmly rooted in strong political convictions.

"I would have had 45 seconds to say something about Iraq in front of a large number of people," Ferguson, whose film was nominated for an Academy Award but didn't win, told ABC News. "I had a quite carefully worked out set of remarks that basically was a rapid, direct, blunt depiction of what had actually happened. That after five years, there are 4,000 Americans dead, half a million Iraqis dead, 5 million refugees. That the country is still in chaos, and there's no sign that it's going to be in decent shape any time soon. That it was monumentally bungled by an incompetent and dishonest administration."

Ferguson didn't get to deliver those remarks, but in the next couple of weeks, he plans to release his film on the Internet. Encouraged by such factors as the number of YouTube hits for the film's trailer, he's "optimistic" the film will be seen by a lot of people. "I want the issue of Iraq to be raised and debated in the election."

So, too, does Hollywood director David Zucker ("Scary Movie 4," "The Naked Gun 2½"), but from the other side of the aisle.

His latest movie, which he hopes to release in October, is "American Carol," based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." "Only it's not Christmas, it's the Fourth of July," Zucker, a self-proclaimed "9/11 Republican," told ABC News. The film is designed "to give a thank you to the military."

The main character, Michael Malone, played by Kevin Farley, who "is saying bah-humbug to the Fourth of July, learns how to appreciate how great America is," Zucker said.

This year's race to the White House promises to be hotly contested in movie theaters, on DVDs and the Internet. Supplementing the nightly newscasts and cable stations will be films about Iraq, the Supreme Court, George Bush, lobbyists, Sen. Barack Obama in Africa, the election process itself.

Some are documentaries, many made from a liberal-left perspective.

Oren Jacoby, writer-director of the documentary "Constantine's Sword," is working on "InJustice," about "the U.S. attorneys who were fired by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales because they wouldn't do the political hatchet work of Karl Rove and the Republican Party," Jacoby told ABC News.

David Van Taylor ("A Perfect Candidate") has completed "Advise and Dissent," a behind-the-scenes look at the Supreme Court confirmation process. "The Democratic appointments are much older than the Republican appointees," said Van Taylor, who hopes his film brings the issue of appointments to the forefront of discussion. "The stakes are quite high on the next vacancy."

PBS's POV will air "Election Day" by Katy Chevigny ("Deadline") July 1, the same day the film — which was shot on Nov. 2, 2004, in 14 locations — is released in stores. "In the race to the White House, Obama versus McCain, the Bush legacy, etcetera, there's this whole other thread," Chevigny said. "How does our voting process work? There are 4,600 different voting systems in the United States. We have this romanticized notion of one person, one vote. But you're one person in one state, you're not that person in another state."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...