Sarah Palin Movie Coming Soon to Theater, Presidential Campaign Near You
For a while now, Sarah Palin has been the X-factor in the quest for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. The former Alaska governor has a few hurdles to clear before officially declaring her candidacy -- not the least of which is her abdication of her office in 2009 with more than a year left in her term, which raised concerns in the GOP about her ability to lead and/or follow through. But! That's nothing a pro-Palin documentary -- made with her cooperation and debuting next month -- shouldn't be able to fix.
Or so Team Palin hopes. The feature-length doc, titled The Undefeated, is reportedly set to open next month in Iowa, where preparations for next January's presidential caucuses are already feverishly underway. According to RealClearPolitics, the Palin campaign approached conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon last year to create a series of videos reinforcing Palin's qualifications ahead of the 2012 race. Bannon counteroffered by pitching a full-length documentary project. Fully financed by Bannon at $1 million, The Undefeated chronicles Palin's early years in Alaska and the meteoric political rise that led to sharing the Republican presidential ticket with John McCain in 2008. Bannon used narration plucked from the audiobook of Palin's memoir Going Rogue, spoke with Palin-endorsed allies from her personal and political life in Alaska, and produced the rest under top-secret conditions:
The result is a two-hour-long, sweeping epic, a rough cut of which Bannon screened privately for Sarah and Todd Palin last Wednesday in Arizona, where Alaska's most famous couple has been rumored to have purchased a new home. [...] Bannon, a former naval officer and ex-Goldman Sachs banker, sees his documentary as the first step in Palin's effort to rebuild her image in the eyes of voters who may have soured on her, yet might reconsider if old caricatures begin to fade. The film will also appeal to staunch Palin supporters who have long celebrated her biting rhetoric and conservative populism yet know little about her record in Alaska and have perhaps written her off as presidential material.
"This film is a call to action for a campaign like 1976: Reagan vs. the establishment," Bannon told RealClearPolitics. "Let's have a good old-fashioned brouhaha." [...]
When they requested from Alaska's TV news stations footage that was shot during Palin's political rise, they asked for additional tapes containing subject matters that were irrelevant to their project, in order not to raise suspicions. And rather than staying at the well-appointed Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, they instead took up temporary residence in low-key motels.
"We shot on the weekends, and we shot in locations that weren't being used during those weekends," Bannon said. "I did it with a handpicked crew of people I know and trust, and we were able to stay under the radar. The planning for the secrecy of this took many, many weeks."
It's not certain yet whether Palin will appear in support of The Undefeated when it debuts next month, or what role -- if any -- she'll play as Bannon rolls his film into other early-primary markets like New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. But the report brings up an excellent point about a deepening conflict of interest at the Fox News Channel, where Palin's pundit status may soon be revoked if the network determines that she's serious about a presidential campaign that FNC would naturally be obliged to cover.
And of course she's serious. No one as cagey and image-conscious as Sarah Palin invests her herself in a documentary without some bigger objective in mind. She's not in this to tour the festival circuit, if you know what I mean. Developing...
· Palin's Secret Weapon: New Film to Premiere in June [RealClearPolitics via @ebertchicago]