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Documentaries and film trailers seemingly used as political campaign ads

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I was dumbfounded seeing this type of political advertising in the form of an independent documentary film trailer https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/trump-card/  

Especially how they have edited the trailer. The subject matter is interesting, but in Europe we don't call this type of films "documentaries" and I am unsure if some type of regulatory agency would want to interfere this type of stuff if released here.

When seeing what the filmmaker has released before in which exact years, I think the motivations of these can be guessed pretty well. But political things aside, this format is pretty interesting I think and I would like to know more examples of it. These are a bit rarer here in Europe so I have not seen anything quite similar before.

Is there any other good examples of clever or less clever political advertising in the form of feature length documentary films from all around the world? 

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Posted (edited)

In the United States, things are more tricky because of the constitution. Because of this, things are less likely to be censored without legal repercussion and/or exorbitant press. In this case, the documentary mentioned falls into the category of free speech which is the first of many amendments of the constitution, and an important, if not the most important piece of U.S history at that. I cannot speak on other countries, however very good question. I love hearing any and all European's point of views on various subjects in the states, this is a new one to me. There are loads of documentaries on platforms such as Netflix here in the U.S. so perhaps VPN as an IP address in the United States, and you should have full access to the U.S. catalog. The only political documentaries I ever watched were Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, both of which are outdated, considering the immense change that happened after 2001. 

Edited by Matthew J. Walker

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hmm the VPN approach could be worth trying! These trailers are interesting in their own right so I can try to study them as well :)   Something in the resembles old propaganda films which makes them interesting even when the editing  seemed to be quite bad (or even for just that reason :D )

There may be some fundamental differences between countries on what is considered objective enough to fall in to the "documentary" category and at what point it becomes too biased so that it starts to resemble plain propaganda or ads more than something which we northern europeans would call a "real documentary" (that would be something that tries to show both sides of the story in as objective way as possible even if the filmmaker disagrees with some of the opinions. NOT in the way that "Trump Card" trailers does, cutting pieces from here and there which fit the filmmaker's and his supporters own agenda and tries to make the opposite to look as bad as possible)

 

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Posted (edited)

That guy, Dinesh D Sousza is a goofy propagandist. I wouldn't take him too seriously. He's been doing those movies for years, but no one ever pays attention. But yes, there are tons of these kinds of "documentaries." I also love the trend of famous people/companies producing documentaries about themselves. The Netflix Fyre Festival documentary was PRODUCED by F-Jerry, the advertising company who helped organize the festival! I'm pretty sure the Justin Bieber doc on netflix was paid for by his label. I could come up with a bunch of examples. They're easy to spot. Any time the storyline is: famous-person-has-interesting-life-isn't-that-interesting, it was probably paid for by the subject.

There was a lot of innovative stuff happening in short-form-documentaries like 10 years ago, but that format has been completely co-opted by advertising. It's starting to happen with long form stuff as well. It's gotten to the point where if your documentary looks too slick or has any slow-motion b-roll at all, I immediately think it's a commercial. 

Edited by Frank Hegyi

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I'm shocked by how much "non-fiction advertising" gets played at major documentary film festivals. 

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It's always frightening when clearly fictional propaganda pieces are sold as "documentaries" to gain traction with agenda supporters. 

This guy is currently the most successful documentary filmmaker in the US when you count the amount of money his books and films have made. When there are far better, "real" documentaries on the same subjects, which tell the truth. That's what documentary is suppose to be about, it has a defined definition. His propaganda is designed to infiltrate the genre for "educated people" with fictional product, which dilutes the very concept of documentary in the first place. 

I mean the guy is also a whack job. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinesh_D'Souza

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

This guy is currently the most successful documentary filmmaker in the US when you count the amount of money his books and films have made.

Wow, I honestly had no idea his movies made that much money. That's quite the racket he's got goin' there.

Obama's America: $33.4 million

America: Imagine the World Without Her: $14.4 million

Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party : 13.1 million

Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?: $5.3 million

Edited by Frank Hegyi
added numbers

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5 hours ago, Frank Hegyi said:

Wow, I honestly had no idea his movies made that much money. That's quite the racket he's got goin' there.

 

Yep! Make up a bunch of bullshit by hiring people who share the same viewpoint you do and hire actors to fill in the missing details. His films are like watching Borat, only it's not suppose to be a joke. 

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