In the final days of the campaign to win the Iowa Caucus, it was "the Gritty Underdog versus the Death Star." That was how columnist Byron York described the surprise ending to months of campaigning in Iowa - a close contest between "David" - former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and "Goliath" - presumed frontrunner Mitt Romney.
For months, Santorum had waged an old-fashioned, "retail politics" Iowa campaign. Traveling to every county in the state with less money than anyone else in the GOP field, Santorum faced political pundits that presumed his candidacy dead-in-the-water polls that, even a week before the vote, showed him in the back of the pack.
But Iowans, who take their "first-in-the-nation" role pretty seriously, upended the political narrative when Santorum began his amazing surge with just days to go before Caucus Night. Activist Bob Vander Plaats would observe, "We've never had a caucus like this one."
Now, we need your help finishing post-production on Caucus, our intimate look at the 2012 campaign and the "Iowa Miracle" staged by the former Senator from Pennsylvania. We spent months on the ground in Iowa filming with all of the GOP candidates and we need you to join our team so that we can complete the film that captures the greatest Iowa Caucus season yet.
From April 2011 until January 3, 2012 (Caucus Night), we traveled all over the great state of Iowa filming the seven men and one woman who would seek to win Iowa's "first in the nation" Caucus. During that time, our cameras captured moments that you've never seen, no matter how much you watch the news, of the Republican hopefuls.
When we started shooting last spring, we had no idea that the story of the Iowa Caucus would be one of the greatest David vs. Goliath, "underdog triumphs in the end" tales in recent political history. Never before had a candidate won the Iowa Caucus without ever leading in a single poll. As liberal columnist Steve Benen wrote, "I consider the Santorum campaign one of the most impressive things I've seen in presidential politics in quite a while."
Having followed the Santorum campaign for months when many in the media were ignoring him, our film has a unique look at one of the most unlikely political stories in decades. In an era where money dominates our politics, Caucus tells the story of a candidate who had to run on a shoestring, with his heart on his sleeve, and a state that couldn't be bought.
Here's an article in the Des Moines Register writing about the film.
And here's the awesome shirt that Iowa-based Raygun made up for one of our rewards!
Inspired by PRIMARY, one of the great works of documentary (and one created by many of our heroes), we went to Iowa to capture an intimate, observational portrait of the current political campaign. We were fortunate to have the help of a lot of Iowans who welcomed us and cleared a path for us as well as the campaigns that let us get close and film the candidates. .
Right now, we're finishing up our editing and we're about to head into post-production, where we will need money for our online, our sound mix, music rights and more. So like the candidates, we're coming to you, with hat in hand, asking you to join our CAUCUS team.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
There are a lot of expenses in post-production: sound mix, online, color correction and music rights. We've been able to stay independent throughout the filming and editing of CAUCUS and, with your help, we know we can get across the finish line.
Every pledge of support from $1 and up is a huge help to us and a boost to this project and our goal of getting it completed soon. Your money will go straight to our post-production expenses and enable us to help get the film completed for next year.
Note/Update: Many of our rewards say that we'll be delivering a digital copy of the film sometime this fall. Our plan is now to get the film out in 2013, so we'll be sending you all of the other rewards this fall and we'll get a copy of the film to you sometime after we've premiered. Thanks for understanding!
WHO ARE WE?
CAUCUS is the latest film by filmmaker AJ Schnack. He's previously made a couple movies about musicians [KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award; and GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS), about the ground-breaking NYC band, They Might Be Giants] as well as a film about the 2008 Democratic National Convention called CONVENTION.
After CONVENTION, a number of Republicans asked AJ if he'd thought about making a film about the GOP. In fact, CAUCUS was a film that he'd wanted to make for a number of years, and 2011 proved to be a great opportunity to go to Iowa. Who knew it would be one of the most exciting political seasons with some of the most remarkable candidates in anyone's memory?
AJ's team includes his co-producer and co-cinematographer Nathan Truesdell, as well as his longtime collaborator, Shirley Moyers. We were thrilled to get a last minute assist from Bill and Turner Ross, amazing filmmaker friends of ours, who came to Iowa to help us film during the final days of the campaign.