2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: OKLAHOMA CITY

oklahoma cityOKLAHOMA CITY
Barak Goodman revisits the events which led to the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

In 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing rocked the nation as the most deadly act of domestic terrorism in US history. Timothy McVeigh, convicted and executed for the crime in 2001, was a soldier, patriot, and war veteran. But a soldier is not supposed to crack. How McVeigh’s patriotism transformed into radicalism is a vital and haunting question whose exploration has never been more relevant.

Director Barak Goodman expertly crafts rarely seen archival footage to immerse us in an era when Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian tragedy dominated headlines. These clashes between the government and citizens frame a portrait of an embittered McVeigh, whose traumatic experience in the military influenced a dramatic recalibration of his view of the US government. For McVeigh, the government was suddenly no longer a protective construct, but something to be destroyed.

Featuring new interviews with biographers, the FBI, and witnesses, OKLAHOMA CITY makes the nerves bristle as a cultural warning when sentiments of anti-government despondency walk tall with us today.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Barak Goodman
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE FIGHT (2004)
    SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (2000)

    Goodman was nominated for the Academy Award for SCOTTSBORO, and has won two Emmy Awards.

Producer:

  • Emily Singer Chapman
    This is Chapman’s first Sundance credit. She previously has worked on several PBS projects, including Goodman’s CLINTON and CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES.

Producer/Executive Producer:

  • Mark Samels
    Past Sundance docs:

    LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (2014)
    FREEDOM SUMMER (2014)
    FREEDOM RIDERS (2010)
    WOUNDED KNEE (2009)
    EARTH DAYS (2009)
    GUERRILLA: THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST (2004)
    CITIZEN KING (2004)
    THE FIGHT
    THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL (2003, senior producer)
    THE PILL (2003, senior producer)
    DAUGHTER FROM DANANG (2002, senior producer)
    MARCUS GARVEY: LOOK FOR ME IN THE WHIRLWIND (2001, senior producer)
    SCOTTSBORO (senior producer)
    GEORGE WALLACE: SETTIN’ THE WOODS ON FIRE (2000, senior producer)
    RIDING THE RAILS (1997, senior producer)
    TROUBLESOME CREEK: A MIDWESTERN (1996, senior producer)

    Samels is the veteran executive producer of the long-running PBS series American Experience.

Senior Producer:

  • Susan Bellows
    Bellows has been a series editor or series producer for American Experience since the late 1980s.

Editor:

  • Don Kleszy
    Past Sundance docs:

    LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM
    PANDORA’S PROMISE (2013)
    EARTH DAYS
    GUERRILLA (editor/co-producer)

Assistant Editor:

  • Ryan Kupchik
    This is Kupchik’s first Sundance credit.

Why You Should Watch:
Goodman very effectively makes use of contemporary 1990s news reports and other archival footage to contextualize and make sense of McVeigh’s radicalization and heinous crime. A companion film, RUBY RIDGE, will also screen as part of American Experience next month.

More Info:
Website
Meet the Artists

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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