A secretive Nick Broomfield documentary about Sarah Palin is nearly complete -- and could soon be heading to theaters
EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Palin receives what is by all indications a very kind treatment in a new documentary that will premiere in theaters July 15. But a second, far more scathing Palin documentary is being prepared by a more experienced filmmaker. And it looks a lot more likely to stir the pot.
Nick Broomfield, the much-decorated British documentarian and muckraker, has quietly been interviewing Palin confidantes and is close to finishing his film about the former Alaska governor, said a person who was briefed on the film but asked not to be identified because of the secretive nature of the project.
According to the source, among the people who appear in the untitled movie are Palin’s parents as well as numerous ex-aides. Many of those people, the source added, describe her not as the likable repository of aw-shucks wisdom Palin likes to present but a more ruthless politician who has trampled over opponents and is now a potential presidential candidate.
Working with a minimal crew and in a gonzo style, Broomfield is known for his unusual access to subjects, securing candid interviews in his films about Heidi Fleiss, Kurt Cobain and rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. At times controversial for his unorthodox and energetic style, Broomfield has nonetheless received a bevy of documentary prizes and received a lifetime achievement award at the BAFTA Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Potential U.S. distributors will soon be contacted about Broomfield’s Palin film and could see a full version within a few weeks, said the source. The film could then play fall film festivals such as Toronto, with a distributor getting the opportunity to release it into the teeth of the 2012 election cycle, in which Palin is expected to be a key player.
Cassian Elwes, a veteran of the independent film world, is peddling rights to U.S. film companies in conjunction with another movie-business veteran, Jamie Carmichael. Elwes did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
News of the Broomfield film comes as AMC Theaters announced Friday it will play “The Undefeated," a film by Stephen Bannon, a Tea Party activist who interviewed numerous Palin supporters for his movie. While Palin does not appear in the film, the site Real Clear Politics reported that she helped coordinate interviews for it. According to CBS News, whose correspondent watched "The Undefeated," the movie staunchly defends Palin and gives the strong impression that she will run for president.
Though “The Undefeated” has yet to ignite passions in pundit circles, the Broomfield movie could become a lightning rod as Palin either runs for president or plays an important part in defining the Republican Party’s 2012 platform.
Broomfield has a habit of making news with his window into the lives of the controversial and famous. In "Kurt & Courtney," he ambushed the late grunge rocker's widow, Courtney Love, and landed a damning interview with her. Love successfully sought to have the movie banned from the Sundance Film Festival. But it remains to be seen whether Broomfield’s Palin film will play to a larger audience or to a crowd predisposed against the politician.
— Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Sarah Palin. Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press