'Pod Save America's' Crooked Media Plots First Feature With Beto O'Rourke Doc (Exclusive)

Beto O'Rourke - House Veterans Committee, Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs hearing 2 014 - Getty-H 2018
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David Modigliani is directing the feature about the 2018 challenger to Ted Cruz.

Crooked Media — the media company behind popular political podcast Pod Save America — is gearing up for its first foray into film.

Director David Modigliani (Crawford, Wounded: Battle Back Home) and his company Live Action Projects have announced a co-production with Crooked Media for a feature documentary that will follow Congressman Beto O'Rourke as he runs to unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections. 

“Partisan polemics make for boring stories,” said Modigliani. “That’s why Crooked Media is the perfect co-producer for this project; it’s the home for entertaining, no-bullshit conversations about politics and we’re making an entertaining, no-bullshit film about this campaign."

The Austin-based filmmaker and his team have been following O'Rouke since October 2017 and will continue shooting through election night of the much-anticipated midterms. Former Tribeca Film Festival head Nancy Schafer is producing, along with Michelle Modigliani, Rachel Ecklund and former SXSW programmer Rebecca Feferman.

The Crooked team went down to Texas to witness O'Rourke's campaign firsthand. "It reminded me of being back in Iowa in 2007 with Barack Obama and the feeling of that campaign," says Tommy Vietor, who co-founded Crooked Media with fellow, former Obama staffers Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett.  

"This race and how [O'Rouke] has run it tells a story about the way politics should be, the way it used to be. When candidates were accessible in media and town halls and answered questions," says Vietor. "It is a story that can endure beyond this race and tell a bigger picture about American politics."

Crooked's Pod Save America will get its own series of HBO specials this fall, timed to the midterm elections. Says Vietor, "Anything that tells a story about politics that inspires or incentivizes getting involved and becoming a part of the process is really interesting and attractive to us."