A behind-the-scenes look at Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

In a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest political upset in recent history, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon offer unprecedented access and never-before-seen footage of candidate Trump, from the primaries through the debates to the dawning realization that the controversial businessman will become the 45th President of the United States.

Some Background:
Director/Executive Producer:

  • Banks Tarver
    This is the first Sundance credit for the Left/Right co-founder/co-president. He has produced nonfiction television including the Showtime docuseries about the 2016 US Presidential race, THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SHOW ON EARTH.

Directors/Co-Executive Producers:

  • Ted Bourne
    Bourne’s makes his directorial debut with this project. In addition to THE CIRCUS, among other past work, he was the showrunner of A&E’s THE FIRST 48, a docuseries about homicide investigations.

  • Mary Robertson
    This is also Robertson’s first Sundance project. She has directed and produced episodes of PBS’s Frontline, various projects for History Channel and Discovery, and THE CIRCUS for Showtime.


  • Kevin Vargas
    Vargas is Left/Right’s COO, with an extensive background producing nonfiction and fiction series, documentaries, and game shows.

Associate Producer:

  • Brandon Heurich
    Heurich also associate produced for THE CIRCUS.

Story Producers:

  • Liz Hodes and Bryan Taylor
    This is the first Sundance project for both Hodes and Taylor, whose backgrounds are also in reality television and nonfiction series, with Taylor also having worked on the THE CIRCUS.

Executive Producer:

  • Ken Druckerman
    Past Sundance docs:

    TREMBLING BEFORE G-D (2001, additional cinematographer)

    Druckerman is Left/Right’s co-founder/co-president, with a background as a nonfiction cinematographer. He has executive produced all of Left/Right’s projects, including THE CIRCUS.


  • Alicia Ellis, Benji Kast, and Matthew Luhrman
    This is the first Sundance credit for Ellis, Kast, and Luhrman, who each have a background in reality television or nonfiction series. Ellis and Kast also both cut episodes of THE CIRCUS.

  • Mike Lahaie
    Past Sundance docs:

    CRITIZEN (short) (1995, director/editor)

    Lahaie also edited the Sundance narrative feature alum SALVATION BOULEVARD (2011).

Why You Should Watch:
With Donald Trump’s inauguration taking place during Sundance, this late addition to the festival’s lineup is just about as timely as it gets. The Left/Right team is perfectly positioned to tell this torn-from-the-headlines story, having followed the whole US Presidential election through the course of their weekly series, THE CIRCUS, from the start of 2016 through the race’s aftermath.

More Info:
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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