Caucus (2013) - News Poster

(2013)

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2015 Sundance Trading Card Series: #47. Turner Ross (Western)

Jordan M. Smith: Name me three of your favorite “2014 discoveries”…

Turner Ross: Zipolite, Oaxaca. Dorothy Jean’s first word (Dada). Letters of John Steinbeck.

Smith: Western was part of the Music and Sound Design Labs at Sundance — was wondering if you phished through the film history vault/have any preconceived ideas with regards to the soundtrack prior to shooting and did you change your approach during filming?

T. Ross: The music and sound design of ‘Western’, came about as an organic, in-the-moment process, whose sound design and music came about through the editing process, where layers were slowly built upon other layers, eventually creating a film where we feel the sound and music play as strong a role as the imagery. We have a great pal in new Orleans who does our scores. We usually meet in dark bars and we’ll say something like “I hear violins in
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Interview: Aj Schnack and Nathan Truesdell (Caucus and We Always Lie To Strangers)

Director Aj Schnack and his producing partner Nathan Truesdell had an incredibly busy week at the 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival, peddling a pair of features in Caucus and We Always Lie To Strangers, which was co-directed by David Wilson. While the former follows the 2011-2012 Iowa Republican race a la Primary and The War Room, the former is a hands off portrait of four families in the stage based vacation destination, Branson, Missouri. Both reveal the hearts and souls of people who normally never reveal their true selves to the public they so urgently need to survive in their chosen fields.

Their films, though never stated explicitly, have been more about places rather than people. Prior to a special screening of The War Room moderated by Schnack himself, I had the opportunity to speak with the pair of filmmakers about why this is, as well as how the Ross bothers
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Caucus Is an Irresistible Crash Course in Why Republicans Lose National Elections

Caucus Is an Irresistible Crash Course in Why Republicans Lose National Elections
Despite the presence of some Occupy agitators, nobody shouts "This is what democracy looks like!" in the irresistible politicians-meet-the-people documentary Caucus, probably because to do so would be to risk inviting despair. Aj Schnack's film follows one of the great humiliations of American life: the slow, soiling ritual of presidential hopefuls pressing the flesh in preparation for the Iowa Caucus — and often discovering that much of that flesh has already been pressed, persuasively, by some other candidate the week before.

"If you change your mind, we'd love your help," we see Rick Santorum tell a Michele Bachmann supporter, one of the 15 folks who bothered to schlub into a Days Inn to hear Santorum speak with less than a week left before the 2012 caucus. Fa...
See full article at Village Voice »

AFI Fest 2013 Announces Full Program

AFI Fest 2013 presented by Audi, a program of the American Film Institute, today announced the remaining sections and films that will screen in the festival’s World Cinema, American Independents, Breakthrough, Midnight, Cinema’s Legacy and Presentations programs. AFI Fest, which redefines Hollywood today as a place where icons and emerging artists bring audiences together to experience global cinema in the movie capital of the world, will take place November 7 through 14 at the historic Tcl Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

World Cinema showcases the most anticipated and prize-winning international films of the year, the American Independents section features work by U.S. filmmakers, Breakthrough highlights work discovered only through the blind submission process, Midnight’s selections tend toward the macabre and Cinema’s Legacy highlights restorations and classic films.

This year’s program includes the return of several filmmakers to AFI Fest
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

The 25 Documentaries That Most Inspire Other Doc Filmmakers

Cinema Eye Honors, the organization that hosts the documentary community's very own awards show has for several years asking its members what documentary films most inspire them. Earlier this week, Cinema Eye released the list to The Wrap, where Cinema Eye co-founder Aj Schnack (the director of "Caucus" and "Kurt Cobain: About a Son") said, “For the last few years we’ve been asking eligible directors to tell us what films inspire them, to help guide us to the films we should consider for our Legacy Award. The list is always interesting, and it changes a little bit each year – so as we were thinking about this year, we thought, why don’t we actually release the list to show what films are foremost in filmmakers’ minds from one year to the next?” Take a look at The Wrap's full coverage of the list here. “American Movie” / Chris Smith
See full article at Indiewire »

The 16 Must See Docs of 2013 So Far

As Moore’s Law has continued to raise the quality and lower the cost of Av equipment, and more fledgling filmmakers have dipped their feet in the fountain of non-fiction, there’s been much talk about us being in the midst of a new golden age of documentary filmmaking. Now, lofty statements like these generally wind up being little more than buzzword attractions meant to set the blogosphere aflame, but this year has undoubtedly been a stellar year for the non-fiction form. From politically shattering investigations to form flexing art films to immensely personal portraits, not only are documentaries making a major impact on the ol’ festival circuit – Sundance, Tribeca, Hot Docs, SXSW, AFI Docs – many fest favorites from last year have had considerable success this year in art house theatres, not just in NYC & La, but in some cases nationwide – not an easy feat.

Of the lengthy list of
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Trailer Watch: Aj Schnack’s Caucus

Though We Always Lie to Strangers — his excellent, SXSW award-winning portrait of the music town of Branson, Missouri co-directed with David Wilson — only hit the fest circuit a few months ago, Aj Schnack already has another film playing the circuit. Caucus, which world premiered at HotDocs just over a month ago, depicts a full field of Republican hopefuls jockeying for early position in the 2012 presidential race as they descend on Iowa, aiming for supremacy in the bellwether state’s inaugural primary. The film doesn’t have distribution as yet, but look out for it at a film festival near you.
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

AFI Docs Announces 2013 Slate including JFK Doc 'Letters to Jackie,' 'Caucus,' and 'Gideon's Army'

AFI Docs has announced its slate of films for the 2013 festival, and it certainly won't be lacking for big names. Opening with the star-studded Bill Couturie documentary "Letters to Jackie" and closing with Aj Schnack's behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 Gop leadership race "Caucus," the 2013 edition of AFI Docs is set to shine a light on many a famous face. "Letters to Jackie" focuses on the thousands of letters sent to Jacqueline Kennedy after her husband's assassination in 1963. Oscar-winning director Bill Couturie incorporates archival footage as well as letter readings from actors including Jessica Chastain, Zooey Deschanel, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, and Channing Tatum. The opening night selection will also be the film's theatrical premiere before its fall release on TLC. Couturie and other select talent from the film are expected to attend the premiere. Set to run from June 19-23 in Washington, DC, the festival formerly known as Silverdocs has a new name,
See full article at Indiewire »

How to Film Politicians: A Guide to Gaining Access from the Filmmakers of 'Caucus'

  • Indiewire
How to Film Politicians: A Guide to Gaining Access from the Filmmakers of 'Caucus'
Aj Schnack and Nathan Truesdell are well known in the documentary community; they work with Esther Robinson and others to stage the Cinema Eye Honors every year. They're also filmmakers in their own right. Both filmmakers had two films at this year's Hot Docs. Schnack co-directed, with True/False co-director David Wilson, the Branson, Missouri doc "We Always Lie to Strangers." Truesdell produced the short "Dear Valued Guests," directed by Jarred Alterman and Paul Sturtz (the other co-director of True/False).  They both worked together on the Iowa Republican Caucus film "Caucus," which had its world premiere at Hot Docs. Schnack is the film's director; Truesdell produced the film. The film takes us back to the winter of 2011/2012, when a hearty handful of Republican hopefuls were vying for the presidential nomination. These were the days when Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann's popularity surged and then plummeted, pizzaman Herman Cain and Texas Governor Rick Perry both.
See full article at Indiewire »

Hot Docs Announces 28 Films in Special Presentations Program

Hot Docs is pleased to announce 28 documentary features that will be part of the Special Presentations program at the 2013 Hot Docs Festival, April 25 to May 5. The program will include three world premieres: Aj Schnack’s Caucus, a behind-the-scenes look at the Republican candidates of the Iowa caucus; Barry Avrich’s Prepare For The Worst, a portrait of comedy icon David Steinberg; and Gus Holwerda’s The Unbelievers, which follows Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they spread the word about the importance of science and reason. Award-winners from the recent international festival circuit include Blood Brother (Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, and Audience Choice Award: Documentary, Sundance 2013), Gideon’S Army (Documentary Editing Award, Sundance 2013), Pussy Riot-a Punk Prayer (World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize, Sundance 2013), The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear (World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic, Sundance 2013), and Who Is Dayani Cristal? (World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary, Sundance 2013). See The Full List Of Films!
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

Hot Docs Sets 28 Films For 2013 Edition

Hot Docs Sets 28 Films For 2013 Edition
Toronto's Hot Docs has announced 28 documentary features that will be a part of this year’s Special Presentations program, a "collection of world and international premieres, award-winners from the recent international festival circuit, and works by master filmmakers, and featuring some star subjects." These films will screen as part of the 2013 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, running April 25 to May 5 (Indiewire will be on the scene). “We are thrilled to be announcing this year's Special Presentation films,” said Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook in a statement. “We are especially proud to be announcing three fantastic world premieres: 'Caucus' is Aj Schnack's intimate and fascinating behind the scenes look at the Republican candidates of the Iowa caucus, 'Prepare For The Worst' is Barry Avrich's portrait of comedy icon David Steinberg, and Gus Holwerda's 'The Unbelivers,' which follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence.
See full article at Indiewire »

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