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The 2016 Campaign Film Festival

A new documentary about how Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage has powered their political
dynasty is the latest entree in a growing menu of politically charged,
campaign-season films.

“Clinton Inc.”, which is scheduled to
open in Chicago on Friday and around the country by mid-October, casts the
Clinton marriage as an unusual arrangement that allows the couple to support
each other’s separate political ambitions, and find ways to use their positions
to enrich themselves along the way.

Loosely based the 2014
book

“Clinton, Inc.”

by Daniel Halper, who now runs the Washington
bureau of the New York Post, the
film draws on interviews and archival footage to explore the
psychological roots of Bill Clinton’s philandering. It argues that Hillary made
herself and their marriage essential to his political career by enabling and
covering up his affairs (Roger Stone explores similar territory in his book “The Clintons’ War on Women”).

The
documentary is part of a growing genre of influential and successful films that
criticize contemporary politics and politicians. Peter
Schweizer, the author of a book on the Clinton Foundation, “Clinton Cash,” has produced a movie
version of his book which anyone can watch for free on the website of the conservative
news outlet, Breitbart.  

“Hillary’s
America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” by the conservative
writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, has earned more than $5 million. That, however, does not match the success of
D’Souza’s previous documentary, “2016: Obama’s America,” which was the No. 1 documentary of 2012
(earning $33.5 million at the box office), the No. 2 political documentary of all
time, and the No. 5 documentary of all time for highest domestic gross box office.

Donald Trump is also
providing fodder for filmmakers. Johnny Depp’s online mockumentary “Donald Trump: The Art of the Deal,” has
received more than five million visits since it was released on the  Funny or Die
website in February. 

Another film,  “One Nation Under Trump,” which was produced for
$25,000, and released last month, has received less attention. And movies about
Donald Trump as a public figure, not as a presidential candidate, have been
produced every few years, going back to 1991’s “Trump: What’s the Deal?”

There’s even a movie about
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. “Rigged 2016,” which
reportedly has a $1-million budget provided by Overstock.com founder
Patrick Byrne, a Johnson supporter, is slated for release next month.  

The poli-documentary
genre has been growing at least since the famous Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010 – as well as the tremendous success of Michael Moore’s earlier films, including “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11.” That court case began when the nonprofit
conservative organization, Citizens United, was prevented from showing an
anti-Clinton film, “Hillary: The Movie,” within thirty days of a Democrat
presidential primary.

Once it reached the
Supreme Court, the justices ruled that the first amendment prevented government
from restricting such independent political expenditures.

 

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