Tom RostonIndependent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan.

Doc Soup: Add Your Questions About Sarah Palin for ‘The Undefeated’ Filmmaker Stephen Bannon

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Poster for the Sarah Palin documentary 'The Undefeated'

Poster for the Sarah Palin documentary
The Undefeated

I haven’t seen The Undefeated, the documentary about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin that comes to theaters on July 15, 2011. In fact, it looks like I may not get to see the film for some time, unless I’m willing to catch it on DVD or travel 738 miles from New York City to the nearest place where it will be showing, in Indianapolis. (I know not everyone lives in the Northeast… You can watch the film next week if you live near one of 14 cities in states including California, Texas, Arizona and Florida.)

But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to see the pro-Palin film. There’s something about conservative documentaries that draws me closer, as if to a flame. There was Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a refutation of Darwinism that you can read about here and here, U.N. Me, a critique of the United Nations, and the more recent pro-nuclear doc, Energy on Trial, which I wrote about in April.

I’m always interested in the little guy, and in the left-leaning doc world, the directors of conservative films are totally outnumbered. I may not have agreed with the politics of any of these three films, but I gave each a fair shake and was rewarded with some new views on hot-button issues and new takes on boosterism filmmaking.

To that end, I am eager to see The Undefeated, which is said to be a worshipful depiction of the former Alaska governor. But the film’s marketing rep told me there were no screenings in the New York City area and didn’t reply to my request to send questions to the film’s director, Stephen Bannon. Like many filmmakers, Bannon sank a lot of his own money into making a film that he believes in, but he might be one of the few who gets it back. (It’s worth noting that there’s another Sarah Palin documentary in the works, directed by Nick Broomfield of Kurt & Courtney, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer and Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam, which is reported to be much more critical of Palin.)

So, if I’m not going to be able to see the film or talk with Bannon, I’m turning this blog post into a forum for POV fans to ask questions we’d like to ask of the film and the filmmaker. If there are some good ones, I’ll pass them on, and maybe Bannon will incorporate them in the sequel! I’ll get things started with something I’d actually like to know about every politician:

Politicians stick to their convictions and Sarah Palin is no exception. Did you capture any moments where she showed self-doubt or questioned her beliefs regarding policy? I imagine she’d be quick to say she often asks God for guidance, but that’s not what I’m getting at here. I’m asking if we’re going to see a politician showing humility and the critical mind to question his or her own way of looking at an issue.

Post any burning questions you have for Bannon in the comments!

Tom Roston
Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He comes to us as a ten-year veteran of Premiere magazine, where he was a Senior Editor, and where he wrote the column, Notes from the Dream Factory. Tom was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, New York, Elle and other publications. Tom's favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi - Godfrey Reggio 2. Hoop Dreams - Steve James 3. The Up series - Michael Apted 4. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 5. Capturing the Friedmans - Andrew Jarecki
  • http://www.billmoyers.com Theresa Riley

    What was the strategy behind making people who want to watch the trailer sign up for your email list first? Do you feel like it is a barrier? Or are you getting lots of email addresses?