Conservatives have long understood that they must fight through mainstream media bias to get their message out – or bypass the media establishment altogether. Conservatives have mastered talk radio, the internet and social media to reach broad audiences. Now, they’re increasingly turning to a traditionally liberal medium as another channel of communication: film.
A spate of right-of-center documentaries are in theaters or on their way. While they’re unlikely to achieve either the critical raves or the (ironic) box office success of Michael Moore’s anti-capitalist drivel, they’re telling the stories the media won’t on subjects ranging from President Obama’s ideology to misinformation about natural gas “fracking” to the experience of black conservatives.
The following is a look at some of these documentaries – films that liberals in and out of the media don’t want audiences to know about, much less see.
“2016: Obama’s America”
In this documentary, based on his best-selling book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” former Reagan policy advisor Dinesh D’Souza thoroughly examined the president’s upbringing, influences, and unlikely rise to prominence.
With help from the renowned producer Gerald Molen, D’Souza has crafted a straightforward, informative, and entertaining movie.
Molen, who is best known for producing movies like “Schindler’s List” and “Jurassic Park,” is hopeful that “2016” has more of an impact than just “preaching to the choir.” “We all need to get educated,” he said in an interview with the Christian Post. “There is just too much going on in this country right now that people need to be aware of and need to get involved in the process.”
The movie opened with the three things that Obama did early on in his presidency that struck D’Souza as odd, even for a Democrat. The first two involve insults to the nation’s most trusted ally, Great Britain: banishing a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House and essentially siding with Argentina in its territorial dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands. The third was to initially stand in the way of the Keystone Pipeline construction.
The conclusion D’Souza came to after extensive research was that Obama is an anti-colonialist like his absentee father, who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. This has made him “the most anti-business president in a generation, perhaps in American history.”
The left naturally hated D’Souza’s Forbes article that was later turned into a book in late 2010, something that is depicted in the film itself. Joe Biden called the story "garbage", and the Columbia Journalism Review called it "shameful" and “the worst kind of smear journalism -- a singularly disgusting work.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was the most vocal critic in an interview with the Washington Post. “It's a stunning thing, to see a publication you would see in a dentist's office, so lacking in truth and fact,” he said. “I think it represents a new low.” Gibbs even met with the Forbes Washington Bureau Chief Brian Wingfield to discuss a retraction.
Predictably, the film version has met with similar disdain from liberals.
Joe Leydon of Variety was not particularly impressed. In his review, Leydon wrote that “it comes off as a cavalcade of conspiracy theories, psycho-politico conjectures, and incendiary labeling.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Farber thought the film was “simplistic” and went “off the rails” as it progressed. He wrote that the evidence was “cherry-picked” and the associations were “marginal” at best. In The Montana Cowgirl’s review, she labeled the film as only appealing to rednecks. “Alas, the audience consisting of trashy white people with no teeth is pretty limited,” she wrote.
Some liberal critics aren’t even bothering to see it before writing a negative review. Salon contributor Mariah Blake for instance, freely admitted to this before bashing it. "While the film itself was not yet available when this story went to press, the trailer resembles a cross between a high-budget feature and standard Tea Party agitprop."
Big Hollywood assistant editor Christian Toto begged to differ, giving it high praise. “It’s rare to see unabashedly right of center films, and when they arrive they typically reveal their modest budgets in every scene. ‘2016’ different,” he wrote. “The documentary is slickly produced with thoughtful camera work and impressive graphics. One need not embrace D’Souza’s thesis to appreciate the craft on display, or how the conservative author refuses to sling mud in grand Michael Moore fashion.”
Conservative author Thomas Sowell called “2016” “fascinating.” “It was refreshing to see how addressing adults as adults could be effective, in an age when so many parts of the media address the public as if they were children who need a constant whirlwind of sounds and movements to keep them interested,” Sowell wrote.
Initial screenings were highly successful for an independent release that cost just over $2 million to make. The movie reportedly grossed an estimated $31,750 in its opening weekend at a single theater in Houston. Sowell said of the screening he attended, “Every seat in the theater was filled, even though there had been an earlier showing that day, and more showings were scheduled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I had to sit on a staircase in the balcony, but it was worth it.” Because of strong word of mouth, the film is set to expand to over 700 theaters by the end of the month.
The website has been updating frequently as to where it can be seen next. A distributing partnership was arranged with Movie to Movement. All donations are tax-deductible, and every dollar will help the movie expand the number of theaters it reaches.
This Citizens United documentary features the late Andrew Breitbart in an expose of the true intentions, ulterior motives, and criminal behavior that has defined Occupy Wall Street since its inception. (Note: “Unmasked’s” violent footage and R-rated profanity are not suitable for younger viewers.)
The movie suggests the grassroots characteristic of the Occupy movement may have been a façade. It very well could’ve been an organized and coordinated effort by liberal operatives that were funded by left-wing mega donors like the SEIU and George Soros. No more than a scheme to rival the ascendancy of the Tea Party.
Instead of telling the truth, the mainstream media pledged its support for the cause, and even the Obama administration gave it their stamp of approval.
CU president and executive producer David Bossie told guests at a Heritage Foundation blogger briefing on July 17 that “We wanted to show how the liberal establishment and the mainstream media were really working in cahoots, working together to forward the Occupy movement.” Bossie went on to explain how the vast differences between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party were highlighted in the film.
Director Stephen Bannon expressed his passion for the project in a more recent interview, hoping that it would find a vast audience. “This film is important because it sheds new light on the myth of the Occupy Wall Street movement,” he said. “Audiences across the country will be startled by what we uncovered in this explosive documentary.”
Looks like Bannon will get his wish. Citizens United Productions just announced a distribution deal with Magnet Releasing, a genre arm of Magnolia Pictures. Both of which are co-owned by the eccentric billionaire Mark Cuban, who is better known for his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks franchise.
While Cuban was seen hugging the president at a $30,000-per-plate fundraiser, he was instrumental in making the deal that included a simultaneous theatrical run in select cities and on demand pay per viewings in late September. "This film is controversial, and that's exactly the reason why we want to be sure it can find an audience prior to the November elections," Cuban said.
Cuban also told the Hollywood Reporter that the release of the film isn’t about politics; he simply believes there is a profitable market for it. “There has never been a film that I have been involved with that was influenced by any political beliefs I have because I don't have any."
The equal opportunity offender also financed the distribution of “Redacted” in 2007, which was a fictional dramatization set in Iraq that painted the troops in a very negative light. There was also some expressed interest in the “Loose Change” documentary that advanced a 9/11 conspiracy theory, but the deal fell through.
“Occupy Unmasked” has been largely ignored in the media. It’s set to premiere at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay at the end of August.
In memoriam of Andrew Breitbart, the online media mogul will also star posthumously in a movie about the ongoing battle all conservative’s face. It tells the story of how one man with a website could make a difference.
A camera crew followed him around for two and half years to document the verbal abuse he often faced. It all started with the advent of the Tea Party in 2009, and his defense of the ACORN investigation. The filming continued through the role he played in breaking the scandal that would ultimately lead to New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner’s resignation last year.
Breitbart was a towering figure in conservative media before his tragic death last March. His ultimate goal was to target and expose the liberal bias of established media outlets like CNN and the New York Times. “I really believe and I’m committed to the destruction of the old media guard … and it’s a very good business model,” he said in one of the many uploaded clips from the movie. “The media class is the wall that we have to climb over in order for our voices to be heard. Once our voices are heard, then democracy will happen.”
Breitbart’s hard line stance against progressivism ruffled a lot of liberal feathers, and it certainly didn’t help him make many friends. Breitbart’s opponents struggled to say even one kind word at the time of his death.
Bill Ayers, who was the co-founder of the Weather Underground terrorist organization called him a “grinning bomb-thrower of the radical right.” Alec Baldwin tweeted that he was “a festering boil on the anus of public discourse.” Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi typed up a eulogy on the day of his death titled “Death of a Douche,” and his introductory paragraph ended with “Good! F--- him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.”
Political commentator Keith Olbermann unapologetically expressed relief that he was dead. “He can’t hurt innocent people anymore. I never saw him as a hero or a patriot,” he said. “I saw him as evil and out to hurt innocent people.” MSNBC’s The Cycle co-host Touré recognized the sensitivity of mortality and the insignificance of politics by comparison at least, but then he suggested the man had probably gone to hell.
A release date for “Hating Breitbart” has yet to be revealed, for more information see the website.
In response to Josh Fox’s HBO documentary “Gasland” and the torrent of liberal activism that followed its premiere in 2010, “FrackNation” will challenge the notion that hydraulic fracturing is inherently evil and dangerous. Filmmakers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney, and Magda Segieda, who also made “Not Evil Just Wrong” to counter Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” are out to prove “there are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth.”
“FrackNation” will show how all the anti-fracking campaigns, one-sided media coverage, and bans have damaged the lives of thousands of people across the country. It will be one of the first to challenge the environmental establishment.
The profitability of fracking is not even up for debate; The Hill blog reported the industry is responsible for over 3 million jobs and $400 billion in economic activity. The ecological and health effects have become contentious issues.
“FrackNation” aims to debunk some of the misleading information presented in “Gasland”. The most notorious scene featured a Pennsylvania man lighting his tap water on fire. But documented cases of “burning water” date back to the late seventeenth century. The “Fracknation” producers put up a billboard in New York pointing out that there are towns in at least three states named “Burning Springs.”
In an uploaded exchange, McAleer asked Fox about the exclusion of this historic context in his film. To which he replied, “I don’t see how that’s relevant.” The video was taken down on YouTube and Vimeo, but has since been permitted to stay. This motivated them to do more.
Having reached its budgetary goals in less than a month on Kickstarter, “FrackNation” will premiere simultaneously with “Gasland 2” this fall. “Gasland 2” is likely to receive the same high praise and recognition its predecessor got, which was nominated for an Oscar, won an Emmy, and was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
“FrackNation” is going to have to play the underdog role with an almost $600,000 difference in budget. “Unlike Josh Fox we can’t and won’t rely on money from corporations like HBO to make our documentary,” McElhinney said. HBO and PBS both invested in “Gasland 2” to the tune of $750,000.
The film couldn’t be coming out at a better time, though. The EPA determined earlier this year that there were serious enough concerns about the impact on drinking water, human health, and the environment to warrant a ‘transparent and peer-reviewed’ study of fracking. A progress report is expected by mid-December, when the “FrackNation” DVD will be available for purchase.
From the makers of “Tea Party: The Documentary Film” comes an analysis of how progressive policies have “economically enslaved” the African American community. Growing factions of Black conservatives are trying to end the widespread dependency, but the pushback has been severe. The “Runaway Slave” tells their story.
Directed by the relative newcomer Pritchett Cotton and funded by the FreedomWorks Foundation, “Runaway Slave” premiered in Hollywood on Martin Luther King Day last January. Now it’s slowly making its way into theaters.
The 112-minute film focused on Rev. C.L. Bryant, who was the pastor of a church, a chapter president of the NAACP, and a well-respected member of his community in Texas. Until he joined the Tea Party.
“I was once a black radical. I was sold out to the cause. But my personal faith and convictions caused the NAACP to strip me of my title for reasons you’ll hear in the movie,” he explained. “It was then that my eyes opened to the oppression of our government on the black community, and I became a conservative at home and in the ballot box. My involvement with the Tea Party put my name on a national stage and allowed this project to take flight.”
A filming crew followed Bryant as he traversed the nation, meeting with politicians, civil rights activists, neighborhood organizers, demonstrators, and ordinary people who are actively trying to solve the problems that have plagued their communities.
Welfare and abortion were the major issues that no one really wanted to discuss, but the statistics don’t lie. Over 40 percent of the black population is reliant on government assistance, 72 percent of black children are born out of wedlock, and 48 percent of black women’s pregnancies are aborted.
“Is this what the black community has to show for its 95 percent support of the Democratic Party,” Bryant asked. “There is a 50-year-old lie that has caused an entire people to become harlots to the political idea that government knows what is best.”
While Al Sharpton predictably refused to acknowledge these problems, other black leaders were willing to discuss them at length. Dr. Alveda King, Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Herman Cain, Star Parker, and David Webb all had cameos in the film. Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart also made an appearance.
In an interview with Human Events Online, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said of the film: “It takes no prisoners, it's iconoclastic, I think it is going to challenge everybody's assumptions -- the things they just took for granted, the things they thought they knew based on what they read in the newspaper.”
The “Runaway Slave” website has the necessary information that could bring it to your area.
The Young Americans Foundation and the Victory Film Group teamed up to produce this film that was also directed by Stephen Bannon. It was intended for the younger generation, who will find themselves in the left-wing realm of academia again this fall. Almost 70 percent of the under-30 demographic voted for Obama in 2008.
Several of the brightest stars in the conservative movement were featured throughout the brisk 28-minute running time. This included the likes of Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Jonah Goldberg, Monica Crowley, Walter Williams, Stephen Moore, and Peter Swhweizer.
“The Conservatives” addressed the liberal philosophy that has been preached at institutions of higher learning for decades, and it provided a clear and concise explanation detailing why progressivism has violated the basic tenants of our freedom.
Syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin set the tone early on in the film by making a moral case for the free enterprise system. “It’s the only system that creates wealth for the most people. No other system can. No other system will,” he said. Fox News contributor Monica Crowley followed with, “The free market is the only thing that allows the individual to be who he or she wants to be.”
For good measure, New York Times bestselling author Jonah Goldberg compared the figurative war that lies ahead to the legendary Greek battle against the Persians. “You’re the 300 at Thermopylae,” he said. That’s a great fight, and you get to have that fight.”
In a promotional piece for Fox News Nation, YAF spokesman Ron Meyer wrote about the necessity of such a film. “America’s universities and schools are training grounds for class warfare,” he said. “Where do you think President Obama and his administration’s economic advisors developed their redistributionist ideology and ‘fairness’ rhetoric? It’s no coincidence most of them have spent their career in higher education.”
In an interview with Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends, Bannon referred to the subject of class warfare as a major theme of the movie. “Take big ideas, with big personalities, and try to have a big impact by showing people that the United States has never really had this kind of class warfare rhetoric before,” he said. “We are a very conservative country, and those conservative ideas are what made us great.”
“The Conservatives” is the type of film that can inspire a renewed sense of patriotism, and motivate the younger generation to fight for their future.
It is available for purchase online, but it is free of charge to students.
“The Hope and Change”
Another documentary that is scheduled to premiere at the RNC is called “The Hope and Change.” The Citizens United production that was directed by the prolific Stephen Bannon chronicles the stories of disillusioned Obama voters. Executive producer David Bossie called it “David Axelrod’s worst nightmare.”
At least 40 people were asked to reminisce about the satisfaction and optimism they felt after the last presidential election. Hope quickly turned into disappointment however, as the economy continued to decline and federal deficit spending exploded.
While interviewing the filmmakers on his Fox News program, Sean Hannity declared “The Hope and Change” to be one of the most powerful documentaries he’d ever seen in his life. “No way anyone who’s seen this film could vote for Obama,” he said. "If everyone in America saw it, Barack Obama wouldn't get 15 percent of the vote."
The hour-long film is expected to get a limited theatrical release in September, and play several dozen times on an unspecified cable network throughout the month of October. The DVD is available for purchase online.
This compelling documentary could potentially have an impact on undecided voters. If anything, it is another powerful tool to add to your arsenal of conservative apologetics this fall.
This year’s crop of documentaries is by no means unprecedented; the last three and a half years have been a tumultuous time for the country. Filmmakers were clamoring to document every minute of it, but conservative titles have languished in obscurity.
But the right is becoming more adept at making and distributing entertaining and truthful films that challenge the left and its allies in the media. The more people see these alternatives, the better for America.