Andy Barr reports:
After debuts in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina later this month, the pro-Sarah Palin film “The Undefeated” is headed for nationwide release.
But first it will need to be scaled back: the current version contains so much profanity — mostly from comedians and pundits cursing about Palin – as well as violent file footage of war used to portray the attacks against Palin as particularly savage, that it does not yet have a rating. At a press screening in Washington on Thursday, director Steve Bannon said he’ll aim for a PG-13 final cut, though he hopes to release the film as it currently stands via pay-per-view and video to give Palin diehards fans the original.
Bannon doesn’t skirt the fact that he’s one of those diehard fans himself — a Palin admirer who wants her to run for president and made his movie to help the cause.
“This film comes from a strong point of view, like Michael Moore,” he said. “I think this primary needs a full representation from the tea party,” said the self-identified “conservative populist.”
Bannon says his goal was not to create a definitive or unbiased account of the governor’s shortened term. His film is about providing a “balance” to the negative narratives that swirl around Palin and her potential presidential candidacy. “I made it for a media that I think on the whole can be fair and very even-handed when presented with a certain set of facts,” he said.
Bannon has only briefly met Palin — her voice is heard throughout the film, but he got it by purchasing the audio rights to her book “Going Rogue.” And after being pitched the idea of filming Palin for a series of YouTube videos by her advisors, SarahPAC has backed away from the production of the movie. Palin’s aides did, however, put the director in touch with former Palin staffer Meg Stapleton – who Bannon says provided him and introduction into Palin’s circle of friends and supporters who are rarely willing to sit for interviews.
In addition to Stapleton, Bannon spoke with longtime Palin friend Kristan Cole and Thomas Van Flein, Palin’s former attorney who now works for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Sympathetic media personalities Mark Levin, Tammy Bruce and Andrew Breitbart also boast of Palin’s abilities in the film, along with tea party activists Jamie Radtke – now running for Senate in Virginia – and Sonnie Johnson.
Bannon and his public relations firm plan to release full details on the movie’s roll out late Thursday, but said they may push back their announcement so it is not lost in coverage of the Anthony Weiner scandal.
The film highlights parts of Palin’s resume that made her a compelling choice for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The movie’s theme is her improbable rise from Wasilla mom to governor of the state – and the out of nowhere nature is what has always made Palin such an intriguing political figure. And though Bannon acknowledged that Palin in fact had a several losses on her political career, he said the film’s title reflects that “the values are what is undefeated.”
Though the context is sometimes lacking, Bannon’s portrait is accurate, with glowing comments attached.
“Like a marine, she runs toward danger,” the friendly conservative radio host Tammy Bruce says of Palin. Breitbart meanwhile portrays men in the Republican establishment as “eunuchs” for failing to defend Palin from criticism.
In addition to the theatrical release, Bannon is also hoping to take “The Undefeated” to retail – he’s eying Wal-Mart as a major distributor. “If you look at the Wal-Mart customer, she’s relatable,” Bannon said.
Palin does not stand to make any money from the film, but Bannon believe it will prove profitable for his investors. Asked if he intended to make a profit with the film, Bannon responded: “Absolutely, we’re capitalists.”