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. Yes, “Agents” is premiering in close proximity to many books coming out . “Agents of Chaos” airs in two parts on Wednesday, Sept. 23 and Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. on HBO. I thought that seemed like a pretty provocative way to start a movie. To We Steal Secrets - the story of Wiki leaks. And I would say that was a contribution by Mikey Palmer, the current writer and editor. Alex Gibney was asleep when his phone rang at 2 a.m. last Friday. But I agree that I was a little surprised about him not only not changing the messaging, but making it worse, using his example to tell people, "I'm fine. That’s what I think the Russians were able to exploit so well in 2016, and that’s what we’re suffering from today. Alex Gibney's Damning Documentary, 'Totally Under Control', Available for Free Today Through Election It will be a generation before we know the full extent of the damage wrought by this pandemic, but Totally Under Control will stand as the definitive account of the Trump administrationâs incompetence, corruption and denial in the face of this global pandemic. The Atlantic released its own interview with Weissmann, Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates. From award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney's Jigsaw Productions, Amazon Prime Video presents a groundbreaking new series that brings America's most award-winning magazine, The New Yorker, to the screen with documentaries, short narrative films, comedy, poetry, animation, and cartoons from the hands of acclaimed filmmakers and artists. We were told their phone calls and emails were being monitored. Because this is all out of the Executive Branch. Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan. We did speak to some people off the record, but there was a sense that they were afraid to talk on the record, because they were worried about losing their jobs. Or were you immediately shut down or ghosted? Esquire called Alex Gibney the most important documentary film maker of our time. He got medical care that nobody in the world could get, yet he assumed it just showed how strong he was and how weak was the virus. Gibney began working on it after Fusion GPS co-founderÂ Glenn Simpson approached him in early 2017, eager to provide someone a record of his findings because he feared for his life. Under US law, Congress will consider a state's election result to be "conclusive" if it is finalized by the safe harbor date. Alex Gibney's latest documentary takes aim at the Trump administration's inability to deal with a pandemic that has killed 200,000 Americans. As film and TV try their best to get back into production amidst the constraints of a global pandemic, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney has been quietly filming a documentary for the past four mâ¦ The film ends with the title card recognizing Trump tested positive for COVID. Thank you. “Agents of Chaos” spells out how the relentless misinformation output from troll farms, hackers from Russian military intelligence, aÂ susceptible media and collusion on the part of Trump’s 2016Â campaign team createdÂ “aÂ three-ring circus of election meddling.” In keeping with the spirit of that idea Gibney piles one piece of alarming evidence on top of another and sauces it with a pair of depressing truths, one being that a number of the people who compromised our democracy are little more than opportunistic simpletons. I feel like you can make something that is fact-based now, and it can still be dismissed as, "Well, that's your opinion.". And like I said, a number of people like Andrew Weissmann and [Andrew] McCabe didn’t come on until relatively late in the process. 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. 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. As the presidential election nears, Americans are increasingly enraged by a lack of clear leadership left to wonder how did the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world manage to fail so thoroughly in its response to a global pandemic? Alex Gibney: That would be in early April. Did you get down the road at all with the White House or CDC or HHS? We’re receiving lots of important information, but much of it isÂ drowning inÂ distraction, which of course is what your documentary series addresses. But someday 10, 15, 20 years down the road, maybe Azar will actually get honest about the position that he was in in terms of trying to run these institutions that are supposed to be honest with the American people -- like the CDC and FDA -- and step-by-step allowed them to be corrupted by the Trump administration. Â Everybody’s doing a book deal, everybody’s doing a movie deal. 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. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. A well-orchestrated smear campaign against Assange was amplified and given credibility by the mass media and filmmakers such as Alex Gibney. So what was your guiding approach in terms of sorting through all of that, to construct a narrative that is concise and very clearly connects the dots for people? How did you go about putting the ask out for the people to be in the film? But he didn't. And for reasons we can only surmise, they never approved any of the requests. The title for Alex Gibney's latest documentary, Totally Under Control, comes straight from the mouth of Donald Trump, an oft-repeated turn of phrase the president used in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic to describe his administration's handling of it. OH: I definitely was not surprised he got the virus, because it was inevitable. AG: The other person I really wanted to talk to is Alex Azar. So we were always reckoning with it. Of course, now, in the wake of that, we know that he himself became a super spreader event. And that I think is the essential American problem at the moment. I was stunned by the fact that that didn't happen. How close to the debut were you either tweaking the narrative, even small ways, or even changing it? There’s a lot of stuff right now. [Laughs] Until the very, very end, when we were finished with the film -- which was just about a week and a half ago -- and then the very next day, Trump tested positive for COVID. In his latest documentary “Crazy, Not Insane”—screening at documentary film festival IDFA—Alex Gibney gives the floor to Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a renowned American psychiatrist who has examined numerous serial killers. So, that was tough. Gibney’s docuseries also includes a few eye-opening revelations about the extent to which we continue to be manipulated by Russian influences that we may not have previously known, and thatÂ the recently releasedÂ bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee confirms. "It's not political in a sense that we are trying to represent one party over the other. It was kind of twofold: We would look at the stories that we wanted to tell and see who would be the best people to tell those stories, but we would also reach out to experts and some of the people that you see in the film and see what stories they could tell. The flagrant partisanship and discrediting of truth across the political spectrum are swiftly fueling the rise of an authoritarian state. Were you surprised at Andrew Weissmann’s stonewalling at the end? And unlike other news outlets, weâve decided to make our original content free. 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. He said getting the virus was a gift from God or something like that. (By Willrow Hood/Shutterstock) ET spoke with the filmmakers via Zoom to discuss their attempts to get the White House to go on record, mounting evidence against Trump and what surprised them most about how the president handled his own COVID diagnosis. How difficult was it for you to get your subjects to talk to you for this particular documentary series in comparison to others? 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. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. Emma Rogan MLA (born 27 June 1986) is a Sinn Féin politician from Loughinisland, County Down, in Northern Ireland.She has served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the South Down constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly … NEW YORK â âPapa!â screams a hospital worker, covered from head to toe in a Hazmat suit and PPE, in the opening moments of the documentary â76 Days.". 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. That “Agents of Chaos” feels like a partner piece to his recent documentary on Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky “Citizen K,” isn’t accidental. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnstonâs DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. 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. Watch below and read on for our full interview. Was there one person in particular that you really wanted to talk to but couldn't make happen for whatever reason? We got Andrew McCabe very late in the game. Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring. 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. Assange and WikiLeaks were first. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism. . This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors. I anticipated that he would take it in the direction that he did. We couldn’t get Cohen. TAKE THE POLL: Will you take a coronavirus vaccine when it's available? Alex Gibney’s two-part documentary series “Agents of Chaos” on HBO leaves no room to argue otherwise. But in this particular case, the chaos isÂ what it was all about. . Help Raw Story hold those in power accountable for just $1. Invest with us. So the great sense of vitality and freedom and freedom of expression we’ve had for so long is being undermined by our own emotional undertow to want to surround ourselves with people who think and act exactly like we do, and believe what we want to believe. Alex Gibney Ray is on Facebook. I really thought this could be a moment that he could change his messaging. Look, politicians run on their record and what more critical part of the record here than how the federal government managed the pandemic? Totally Under Control is now streaming on Hulu and available on demand. New York was the epicenter of the pandemic, and in April, a friend of mine died, another friend of mine was on a ventilator for two weeks, and there was just this sense that the federal government had utterly bungled the opportunity to contain and control the virus. "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. So it definitely wasn’tÂ completely locked. Celebs React to Donald Trump Testing Positive for COVID-19, Chris Cuomo Slams Trump's 'Bulls**t' COVID-19 'Propaganda' Video, Election 2020: How to Register to Vote, Get Mail-In Ballots and More, By signing up, you agree to our But unfortunately, we're all victims of this kind of kabuki that politicians now perform where they give these broad bullsh*t pronouncements that bear very little connection to reality. 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 "Some of these Santa Clauses... are a little too politically correct," Doocy said. “Agents of Chaos” arrives at a time when the audience is getting doused with a fire hose of information. AG: I'm older than Ophelia and Suzanne, so I was a bit more cynical. I assume, because of the election. But getting harder and harder because everybody’s chasing this, everybody wants to be in a position of controlling the narrative. Weâve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. The ones that we have didn't. That was the plan. But unfortunately, we never got to interview anyone on the record. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, directing with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, interrogates this question and its devastating implications in Totally Under Control. but they’re also institutions that allow us all to take part in this democratic experiment. About 20 demonstrators affiliated with "Stop The Steal MI" shouted obscenities Saturday night outside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's house, and that right-wing group claims to share its headquarters with the Macomb County Republican Party, reported The Daily Beast. And it's just a look at a record, and you can judge the record based on the facts that you see.". Alex and I ended up talking to Michael Caputo [of the HHS], who we later learned took a leave of absence. Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan ... "We don't see this as a political film. 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. And what were those first reactions and responses you got? Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten. And even at the end of the film, we suggest that there are things that we learned from this pandemic that go way beyond Trump. Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney believes his ... there was a question about how much was political cynicism and opportunism and ... "It's really not pushing the agenda of the Democrat party. We were uncertain about it early on, but it seemed to make a certain amount of sense for a couple of reasons. Gibney deals sympathetically with Thompson—born in 1937 and who committed suicide in 2005—in Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. January 25, 2015. But it’s the interviewees providing Russia’s point of view who make the four-hour series a truly fascinating work, including Kremlin ally and RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, who views Trump’s election as evidence of democracy working as it should. Hacking our democracy was distressingly easy. At the very end of “Agents of Chaos”Â you pose aÂ rhetorical question aloud:Â how strong is our democracy? Thank you. And then you make up your mind about what you do next. This reporter leans to the right, as does Hollywood in Toto. 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. Just as Trump has corrupted political honesty and Fox News has corrupted news media honesty, so films like DâSouzaâs and Bannonâs threaten to muddy the waters of â¦ The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. There are a lot of similarities between what happened then and what is happening right now. how the Russians interfered with our elections, the Democratic National Committee’s servers. We are next So I wonder if, as you were going through the process of making “Agents of Chaos,” which elements of that American story might’ve stood out to you, or that you may have evolved over time. 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. Alex Gibneyâs two-part documentary series âAgents of Chaosâ on HBO leaves no room to argue otherwise. Raw Story is independent. 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. Trump has tested positive for COVID." 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. New York was the epicenter of the pandemic, and in April, a friend of mine died, another friend of mine … Neon, the studio behind Totally Under Control, is making the documentary available to stream for free through Election Day on Nov. 3. But we need your support to do what we do. They simply exploited conflicts that were already there, and continue to exploit them to this very minute. 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. 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. He went into situations where he knew he was contagious and exposed other people, just as he was willing to allow people to die on account of slow-walking testing, for example. 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. It’s a good question. Votes: 14,820 | Gross: $0.27M Alex Gibney, Ophelia Haratyunyan, Suzanne Hillinger) Where to watch: Hulu Urgent and certainly essential during the tragic COVID-19 era, “Totally Under … That was disappointing to me, but at the same time, I think he made it pretty clear that by not answering it, he was infuriated by the way that Barr had represented the Mueller report. Assange and WikiLeaks were first. And Part 2 would be how did that reverberate here,Â which was the essential thinking about it. We felt strongly that when it came to 2016, past was prologue for 2020. Weâve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. The group that terrorized Michigan's secretary of state at her home appears to have ties to a local Republican Party. How do you make something that is critical of Trump, then, without being called partisan? So, yeah, it’s become a kind of mark of the moment. So, it seemed like instead of experiencing this helplessness, that maybe there was a way of digging into the story and laying it out for people, particularly focusing on the early days. In Citizen K, director Alex Gibney refrains from judging his imperfect protagonist, exiled Russian oligarch business man and political philanthropist, Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky, So, it's set within a broader context. There are a lot of people who we had, and there were other people who I would have liked to have interviewed who we came close to getting, but they wanted to save it for their book tour. . He then played a video of a mall Santa telling a child that they wouldn't bring him a toy gun for Christmas. And to do so in a way that would have it out early so that it would have an impact on what is a kind of existential moment for our country. 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¦ Because people need the vitriol that these leaders provide. And we all huddled, [asking] "Are we going to have to rip the film apart and put it back together again?" Here's what happened. Hard. health care. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Weâve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. Could get to speak beyond expectations caused staggering economic damage re also institutions that allow us all to part!, you 've been making documentaries for years now comparison to others Andrew McCabe late... The requests coronavirus vaccine when it 's set within a broader context of... Do what we do n't see this as a political film become a.... 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