Short Films

Teddy Roosevelt and Fracking
Directed by Jack Cochran and Pam Faulkenberg
29 minutes, 59 seconds 

An experimental documental essay, “Teddy Roosevelt and Fracking” explores the beauty and fragility of the North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana landscapes, contrasting the vastness and stark loneliness of the relatively untouched wild areas with the terrible beauty of the oil derricks, fracking towers, natural gas burn offs, coal mines, machinery, trucks, energy installations and energy towns – visual evidence of the recent boom and bust economy that echoes the cattle boom and bust of the 1880s. Teddy’s writings about the landscape and conservation combine with our images. 

The Republican Movie
Directed by Jon Navarro
17 minutes, 37 seconds 

Joseph Ocasta is a rising star in the GOP who’s set on shaking up the system and disrupting the status quo in Washington, DC. Along the way, he makes enemies through his bullish, hard-nosed political stance. An assassination plot unfolds to eliminate him on election night. Life or death becomes all a matter of a single vote. 

Writing the Peace
Directed by A.D. Cooper
10 minutes, 27 seconds 

In May 1945, a document was signed that ended World War II in Europe. But who wrote the words that changed the course of the 20th Century? This film reveals that it was written by an actor turned soldier called John Counsell. 

The trailer is here: 

Feature Length Films

The Astronot
Directed by Tim Cash
1 hour, 12 minutes

Daniel longed to touch the moon; with Sandy’s help, he’d reach the stars. It was 1969, and America was embarking on the biggest adventure known to humankind with its voyage to the moon. Daniel, too, was pursuing the unknown; leaving the path of isolation he had known for so long to embrace the love of another. The only question was would he be able to maintain that trajectory or would he veer off course never to be seen again. That was the challenge for “The Astronot.”

Trailer is here: 

Documentary Films

Murder of a President
American Experience Films/PBS
Directed by Rob Rapley
2 hours, 30 minutes 

On March 4, 1881, James Garfield became the 20th president of the United States—a position he would hold for only 200 days. Garfield rose from poverty to become the most powerful man in the United States, and many Americans believed he had the potential to become one of the country’s truly great presidents. But on July 2, mentally disturbed drifter Charles Guiteau shot President Garfield as he walked through the Baltimore and Potomac train station. Garfield survived the immediate shooting, but, with the importance of sterilization not yet realized by most American medical professionals, infection set in, killing the president 79 days later.

For many Americans, James Garfield represented not only an American’s capacity to rise up in the world, but also the larger notion of what they believed the Union had fought for—equal opportunity for all men, black or white. With his death, many feared that vision died. But instead of Garfield’s vision dying with him, his death brought together the American public in a way they had not been united since well before the Civil War. The hope that Garfield had given them for a better day, a more just and equal America, would be carried forward in the decades to come.

“Murder of a President” is based on Candice Millard’s bestselling and Edgar Award-winning book, “Destiny of the Republic.”

The trailer is here: 

The Reagan Show
Directed by Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez
1 hour, 14 minutes 

The Reagan Show is an all-archival documentary about the original performer-president’s role of a lifetime.

Teasing apart the spectacle at the heart of finger-on-the-button global diplomacy, the film follows Ronald Reagan’s rivalry with charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, tracing how the communicator-in-chief uses his public relations chops to overcome Soviet mistrust, the objections of a skeptical press corps and the looming threat of World War III.

The trailer is here: 

Chock full of wit and political irony, and told solely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, the film explores Reagan’s made-for-TV approach to politics as he faced down the United States’ greatest rival.

Commercial Films

Fascists, Fools and Action Heroes: Fictional Presidents in Three Movie Periods 
Discussion of commercial films featuring fictional presidents with Jack Nachbar, Bowling Green State University professor emeritus  

Jack Nachbar will cover commercial films made during three time periods: 

The High Depression and the Early Days of President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s through movies “Wild Boys of the Road” (1933); “Gabriel over the White House” (1933); “The President Vanishes” (1934). In these films, a surrogate for President Franklin Roosevelt saves teen protagonists; the president establishes a fascist state in order to ignore Congress and solve the Great Depression, and the president arranges his own kidnapping as a political strategy. 

The 1960s, post-President John F. Kennedy and post the Cuban Missile Crisis through three of the following movies: “Kisses for my President” (1964); “Fail Safe” (1964); “Seven Days in May” (1964); and “Dr. Strangelove” (1964). In these films, the first woman president discovers she’s pregnant; the president must figure out a way to avert nuclear holocaust; the president struggles to prevent a military takeover of the government, and there is comic ineptitude in the “War Room” in the middle of a nuclear crisis. 

Love and Heroic Action in the Age of Clinton through selections from these movies: “Dave” (1993); “The American President” (1995); “Primary Colors” (1998); “Mars Attacks” (1996); “Independence Day” (1996); “Air Force One” (1997); and “Deep Impact” (1998). In these films, a look-alike subs for the real president; the president falls in love; a sexual scandal threatens to unravel a presidential campaign; the president tries to negotiate with Martian invaders; the president fights aliens; the president takes on murderous hijackers; and the president must prepare the world for the impact of a gigantic comet.

“John Adams”
HBO miniseries
Directed by Tom Hooper 

Paul Giamatti plays America’s least understood and most underestimated founding father in this award-winning miniseries about the second president of the United States. The series spans Adams’ role in defending British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre to his involvement in the American Revolution and building a nation to his presidency and his later years. 

The trailer is here: