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Morgan Spurlock is set to tackle the so-called “Patriot” movement for an untitled documentary that he will produce for Spotlight financier First Look Media.
David Byars (Self Storage), who shot the film and is directing, went inside the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon during the siege that sparked international headlines.
The doc is said to offer unfettered access to the armed protest led by Ammon Bundy, the son of the defiant leader of the anti-federal lands movement Cliven Bundy. With an insider’s view of a new breed of American ideologues, the film delves into the dramatic rise and inner workings of the movement and gives audiences an unprecedented first-hand look into the occupiers’ beliefs by living amongst them and giving them a voice.
Oscar winner Spurlock (Super Size Me) is producing via his Warrior Poets production company, with Impact Partners (Queen of Versailles) also on board as producers.
Emmy nominee Jeremy Chilnick (What Would Jesus Buy?, The Third Wave) also is producing alongside David Holbrooke (The Diplomat).
“From the first moment I saw the raw footage David captured in Oregon, I knew I had to make this movie,” said Spurlock. “Audiences will be blown away. It’s so timely and beyond powerful.”
Added Impact Partners’ Dan Cogan: “Ammon and Cliven Bundy, heroes of the Patriot movement, have zoomed from the radical fringe to the mainstream with lightning speed. If you want to understand American politics and American life today, you need to understand where they and their movement are coming from. With astonishing access and a great storyteller’s eye for detail, David Byars brings you into the heart of their world in eye-popping fashion. I cannot wait for the world to see this film.”
The doc will look at the incendiary combination of disaffection, government mistrust and an affinity for guns and vigilante justice that is synonymous with the movement. It also references the meteoric rise of Donald Trump, whose views often dovetail with those espoused by movement members. Byars captures the story of the right-wing and libertarian extremist rebellion, with exclusive access into the Oregon compound for the occupation.
The project extends First Look’s support of innovative political documentary filmmaking as seen in AJ Schnack’s election docuseries NomiNation, a portrait of America’s political process, and Laura Poitras’ new Julian Assange film Risk.
Impact Partners is a well-respected brand in the documentary space, having produced Danfung Dennis’ Oscar-nominated Hell and Back Again and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia.
“David Byars captured something truly exceptional in Oregon, a clear-eyed vision of an America we hear a lot about but rarely see up close,” said Adam Pincus, executive vp of programming and content for First Look. “He’s managed to make a complicated, controversial story utterly human, and that’s something we’re thrilled to be a part of.”
Spurlock is repped by CAA and The Arlook Group.
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