It was sobering to notice the parallels between the footage of the protests in the Ukraine and in Russia about a decade ago and what’s going on in America now.Â Let’s talk about the decision to open the film with that excerpt of your conversation with Margarita Simonyan. Gibney: I think one reason was we were hoping to persuade a number of people to come forward and didnât want there to be a lot of chatter about the film that might dissuade them. “Agents of Chaos” arrives at a time when the audience is getting doused with a fire hose of information. Over the years you’ve gotten a number of sources and interview subjects to go on record who might be characterized by other journalists or filmmakers as impossible or very difficult to get to go on record. Directed by prolific documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney ... Judd Apatow and the filmmakers behind Totally Under Control will host a watch party on ... endemic political … This reporter leans to the right, as does Hollywood in Toto. It must be challenging to be putting the final touches on this film, and look up every so often at the TV screen and see these developments rolling out in a story that’s very much in progress. https://www.hollywoodintoto.com/day-life-conservative-entertainment-reporter Director Alex Gibney's two-part documentary is especially notable for its nuance, offering multiple angles exploring what transpired as well as the disparate motivations of those involved. But what scares me about this moment is I’ve never seen our institutions so much at risk. As Alex Gibney describes it, he’s drawn to stories that reveal abuses of power. AG: Luckily for us, we had two whistleblowers who were able to get us inside some pretty key rooms at key times, and that was hugely helpful, to be able to juxtapose that kind of insider testimony with the public health officials, who were all very open. The second [â¦] New York-based distributor Neon has made Alex Gibney’s Totally Under Control available to stream on its website for free starting today (Oct. … Right. Like you, we believe in the power of progressive journalism â and weâre investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Alex Gibneyâs âTotally Under Controlâ Trailer Is A Perfectly-Timed Examination Of Trumpâs Pandemic Response Josh Kurp Twitter Senior Pop Culture Editor October 2, 2020 How difficult was it for you to get your subjects to talk to you for this particular documentary series in comparison to others? To We Steal Secrets - the story of Wiki leaks. She definitely was someone we were hoping we could speak to, but unfortunately, we weren't able to get an approval from CDC or the different channels that we were trying to get directly to her. SoÂ to some extent I’ve been here before. That’s what I think the Russians were able to exploit so well in 2016, and that’s what we’re suffering from today. The news was so important that Tom Quinn, the founder of Neon â the production and distribution company about to release Gibneyâs next documentary â felt he needed to reach out to the â¦ So, I think it was a collective combined decision of, "OK, this is the story we want to tell and this is the best person to tell it." Trump has tested positive for COVID." Vladimir Putin meddles in the 2016 election. Where did we go wrong? So, yeah, it’s become a kind of mark of the moment. We’ll try to understand it without turning it into a kind of cheap conspiracy theory where all the strands are too neatly tied up. Or were you immediately shut down or ghosted? And then [Simonyan], she’s practicing this kind of political jiu-jitsu where she was saying what a glorious moment it was, because it was finally proof that American democracy works because Trump was elected. I spoke with Gibney on the morning that Trump’s Justice Department labeled Portland, Oregon, Seattle and New York City “anarchist jurisdictions,” and not long after The Atlantic released its own interview with Weissmann, in which he gives provides an answer to a question he refused to give to Gibney in the film. New York was the epicenter of the pandemic, and in April, a friend of mine died, another friend of mine … The other, as expressed by cyber conflict researcher Camille FranÃ§ois, is that the Russians didn’t insert some poison pill into our system. It was a kind of jaw-dropping bit of theater from Trump in which he played himself beyond expectations. And that's why when the news broke that Woodward had talked to Trump on Feb. 7, before any Americans had died and that Trump knew then how deadly the disease was but continued to pretend that it was just a flu that was going to disappear and we were all going to be open by April, that gave us an end that led us back to the beginning, which seemed the most appropriate way of ending. The idea that he would have that Evita-like moment in the White House, throwing off his mask to once more encourage people to suck in the strains of the virus, because, "Look, I'm still standing here" and the fact that he would be so tin-eared about his own privilege. So, in that sense, we tried very hard in the film not to be too Trump-centric, because I think that in itself becomes a danger. “Agents of Chaos” airs in two parts on Wednesday, Sept. 23 and Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. on HBO. The notice announcing Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibneyâs new documentary âPark Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dreamâ included a photo of â¦ But in this particular case, the chaos isÂ what it was all about. With damning testimony from public health officials and hard investigative reporting, Gibney exposes a system-wide collapse caused by a profound dereliction of Presidential leadership. Join Facebook to connect with Alex Gibney Ray and others you may know. but between itÂ and all of the other documentariesÂ and published content emerging right now, I wonder whether you think of the premiere’s timing. Roused from his slumber, the filmmaker answered the call to learn that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. And even the rule of law, as Timothy Snyder points out on the film, is impossible to have if you can’t have facts, right? We are next That is extremely dangerous, because he does have a lot of followers and a lot of people listen to him, a lot of people look up to him, and here was an opportunity to actually change the messaging and talk straight to the people. So, if people are going to vote based on someone's record as to whether or not this was a well-managed response, well, then our film is intended to say, "Here's the record. And when they’re blown apart withÂ a wrecking ball by the person in power, it’s a scary moment. Especially since lately she’s been saying like, “Oh, we don’t know if [Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny] was poisoned. Under US law, Congress will consider a state's election result to be "conclusive" if it is finalized by the safe harbor date. The flagrant partisanship and discrediting of truth across the political spectrum are swiftly fueling the rise of an authoritarian state. Votes: 14,820 | Gross: $0.27M Was there one person in particular that you really wanted to talk to but couldn't make happen for whatever reason? you control the narrative very often in book rollouts by making sure that you turn up on shows that give you a quick hit and then move on. Ophelia Harutyunyan: After doing very rigorous research for about a month, we put together a very long list of people we wanted to talk to. You spoke to your vision that this would cover those early days of the pandemic. Weâve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. Co-host Steve Doocy on Tuesday talked about the Christmas tradition of parents bringing their kids to see people dressed as Santa Claus at their local shopping malls, but he said that this tradition was being threatened by left-wing politics. Hacking our democracy was distressingly easy. We got Andrew McCabe very late in the game. In the case of Michael Cohen, it was particularly important to have him double down on this idea that Trump for the longest time was really running and praising Putin because he wanted to do a Moscow Trump Tower deal. Hilder was interviewed and featured in the 2005 Oscar-nominated Alex Gibney documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Although I generally shy away from bestowing these kinds of accolades, such a case can be made for him in light of the fifty films he has made since 1980. I assume, because of the election. And like I said, a number of people like Andrew Weissmann and [Andrew] McCabe didn’t come on until relatively late in the process. The group that terrorized Michigan's secretary of state at her home appears to have ties to a local Republican Party. And they can choose to dismiss it or ignore it, but the hope is that it reverberates over a period of time in people's heads and can cause them to question the way their leaders might've represented reality to them. And it's just a look at a record, and you can judge the record based on the facts that you see.". New York-based distributor Neon has made Alex Gibneyâs Totally Under Control available to stream on its website for free starting today (Oct. 29) through to the U.S. Election Day on Nov. 3.. When Alex Gibneyâs documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief was to air on HBO in March 2015, the cult scrambled to respond on social media while keeping their hands clean. While we were reaching out to members of the administration, we didnât want it to be a kind of public political football. Here's what happened. At what point did you decide this was something you needed to be documenting as your next film? In the lobbying scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff , Hilder represented Tom Rodgers , a Washington lobbyist for Indian tribes who leaked documents to â¦ . Alex Gibney, the Emmy and Oscar successful documentary filmmaker who has beforehand investigated every part from Scientology to Theranos, will pull again the curtain on Russian collusion in the 2016 U.S. elections. Again, all fact-based and all rigorous, but within a sense of the mechanisms of government, not just the quirkiness of a personality -- though clearly when it comes to Trump, the personality has to be part of the story. So, we never got a no. Because people need the vitriol that these leaders provide. They doubled down on people like [Russian intelligence operative Konstantin] Kilimnik and others that we found were pretty important, particularly after we had talked to Andrew Weissmann. So, it's set within a broader context. AG: The other thing that I think is important about what we did was that while it certainly hovers around Trump and focuses around Trump, it's about more than that. They asked for a lot of information, and I got on the phone with somebody from every agency. And so if everybody is locked in their prisons of belief, or put in another way, everyone is locked in up in a kind of tribalism, the dangers going forward are really manifest. â¦ then let us make a small request. There are a lot of similarities between what happened then and what is happening right now. We thought that it would be really important to understand what was going on in her head when she made that crucial telebriefing announcement that forced the change of messaging within the CDC and the White House, even though they still tried to control it. Alex Gibneyâs two-part documentary series âAgents of Chaosâ on HBO leaves no room to argue otherwise. We were very transparent with them about how important it is to get the story right and not have politicians speaking for these scientists, but have them be able to share their own story of, "What did they know in January? I’d even describe it more accurately as a waterfall. ", Hillinger adds, "I think no matter what side of politics you're on, you can admit the fact that the last few months have been really confusing.". . Well, it happens over and over and over again . Alex and I ended up talking to Michael Caputo [of the HHS], who we later learned took a leave of absence. While Gibney and his co-directors, Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, are frank about their intentions to make and release Totally Under Control ahead of the imminent election, they hope viewers on either side of the aisle will come to the film with an open mind. Simpson is still with us and appears in the film, one of a number of impossible-to-get subjects who agreed to sit down with Gibney: the list includes former CIA director John Brennan; former National Security Council Senior Director Celeste Wallander;Â former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;Â attorney Andrew Weissmann, who worked closely with Robert MuellerÂ in the special counsel’s investigation of the 2016 election, and a number of Trump associates, including Felix Sater andÂ Carter Page. Assange and WikiLeaks were first. That “Agents of Chaos” feels like a partner piece to his recent documentary on Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky “Citizen K,” isn’t accidental. I think they knew we were airing in October and ran the clock. And Part 2 would be how did that reverberate here,Â which was the essential thinking about it. How often were you kind of tempted to include additional details as they emerged? "The Documentarian" From the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, which tells the story of an Afghanistan taxi driver who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002.To the Emmy Award-winning Going Clear which looks closely at the world of Scientology. What were the conversations about how that affects your film or how you would address it? Of course, now, in the wake of that, we know that he himself became a super spreader event. And that’sÂ pretty goodÂ because they hadn’t come out when we were forming those conclusions. And we all huddled, [asking] "Are we going to have to rip the film apart and put it back together again?" I thought that seemed like a pretty provocative way to start a movie. AG: I'm older than Ophelia and Suzanne, so I was a bit more cynical. Esquire called Alex Gibney the most important documentary film maker of our time. Nevertheless, within that context, I do think that in the right moment, people can look at a record and look at a story and see in it what is for real. There’s the recent fracas of Bob Woodward saving Trump’s comments about COVID from February 7th until now, when he’s ready to promote his book, when that news could have been useful and might’ve saved lives back then. Thank you. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, directing with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, interrogates this question and its devastating implications in Totally Under Control. We were told their phone calls and emails were being monitored. We need your support to do what we do. We were making changes in narration right on up to about three weeks ago. And what were those first reactions and responses you got? Have you noticed a change in the audience reaction over the years? Other than Wisconsin, every state appears to have met the deadline, which essentially means Congress has to accept the electoral votes that will be cast next week and sent to the Capitol for counting on January 6. how the Russians interfered with our elections, the Democratic National Committee’s servers. While I was watching this I kept thinking about this great quote from Trevor Noah where he said, and I’m paraphrasing him very loosely here, that when he looks around he sees a lot of evidence of the power of the American story, this idea that this democracy that is truly an experiment has been proven to be fragile, but for some reason, people believe in its invulnerability.Â That there this idea of America that is so ingrained in our minds and hearts of its resilience. Parts on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. on HBO leaves room! Easy covering an industry weaponizing art to a local Republican party for a couple of reasons,. 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