The conservative organization for which the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision is named on Thursday brought their latest film attacking President Barack Obama to the city where he is speaking at the Democratic National Convention.
Raw Story caught up with Citizens United President David Bossie and writer/director Steve Bannon at a screening of The Hope and the Change in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they agreed to answer a few questions.
Raw Story: What can people expect when they see your latest film?
Bossie: The film consists of 40 Democrats and independents — who voted for President Obama in 2008 — from seven different states — the battleground states. And every one of them voted for Obama in 2008, and now are not.
Raw Story: Why did you decide to make the film?
Bossie: I knew I was going to make the film because I went to the United States Supreme Court to fight for my right to make a documentary film. So, it was an obvious thing for me that I was going to make a movie. And so then I talked to Steve and said, let’s make a film that is focused on something completely different than what everybody else is going to be doing.
Bannon: Look, we’ve made a lot of tea party films working with conservative filmmakers, and we didn’t want to do a standard beat down on President Obama. We didn’t think that was going to be helpful. So [we said], let’s project to project out to the election, what are people going to be talking about? So, we felt the part of the equation [senior White House adviser] David Axelrod was going to fall for were Democrats and independents who voted for President Obama — remember he beat McCain by 9 million votes — because of where the arc of the country was going and maybe their stories, would they still support him? One thing Dave talked about, to make a tea party movie, we could do that tomorrow. But to really go get Democrats and independents and talk to them in their voice, we needed help.
Raw Story: Does the film represent a diverse group of voters? How about liberals?
Bossie: Of the 40, 26 women; 14 men; African Americans; hispanics; Filipinos. You name it — it’s a snapshot of America.
Bannon: You know what it is? It’s Democrats and independents who lean Democratic? These are not tea party people. There’s no Republicans, no libertarians, no conservatives. These are the Democratic votes.
Bossie: These are the people who make up the Reagan coalition. OK? So, it’s going to be people who are truly can vote either way. That’s what this film is about. It’s not for the hardcore leftists.
Raw Story: What is the vehicle to reach your audience?
Bossie: We have several vehicles. One, we’re doing screenings like this over the last couple of weeks. We’re going to be marching it out in those cities where the cast is from starting next week in theaters. But it’s a very limited theatrical release. We hope to make money, of course.
Bannon: You don’t make money in theaters.
Bossie: We will be announcing next week our television deal. We’re doing it for the earned media part of the campaign, the media campaign for the film in those battleground states. Because local media will want to cover the local people in the film. Then, it will be on television multiple times in September and October.
Bannon: The biggest thing — one of the things you have in this film is that you start to see the pro wrestling that goes on every night on cable TV between the political class and the media. It’s not really relevant to the crisis that America is facing. American people understand that crisis. And the pro wrestling, the WWE, that is gone. And that, by the way, the Fox [News] guys when they saw it — remember, they’re a conservative network. They [aired] a special on the making of it and they were, like, blown away because these people are so incredibly articulate about where the country is and what this crisis is.
Raw Story: You’re conservative filmmakers, what do you say to people who are going to dimiss this film because of a perceived bias?
Bossie: Watch the film.
Bannon: Yeah. By the way, we’ve had liberals watch. They were, like, “Wow!”
Bossie: David Gergen, Mark Shields — guys on the left — think this film is incredibly smart. It’s dangerous.
Bannon: We have not had one person say this film is unfair. Because we laid it out, it’s in their voice. It’s their narrative.
Bossie: First of all, my job is not — I’m not a broadcaster who feels the need to defend myself to that [charge of bias]. Look, I disagree with Michael Moore’s worldview, I disagree with his filmmaking style because I think his movies aren’t very good. I believe and would fight — and have fought, actually, at the Supreme Court — for his very right to do this type of film. We’re the Citizens United that is the Supreme Court case. That paved the way for this movie. Before this year, it would have been a criminal violation of McCain/Feingold — punishable by prison time — to make this film, put it on television and into advertisements.
Watch this trailer for The Hope and the Change.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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