Conservatives, here’s one way to win elections: “If you want to win the politics, win the culture war first,” said filmmaker Andrew Marcus, director of “Hating Breitbart.”
The advice came at Friday’s Conservative Political Action Conference’s panel on “Getting Hollywood Right” a discussion on why liberals dominate the movie and television industry. The answer: They’re better at it.
“In the words of my friend Andrew Breitbart, ‘If you can’t sell freedom and liberty, you suck,’” said John Sullivan, co- director of “2016: Obama’s America” the slick Dinesh D’Souza documentary that made millions at the box office last year.
This panel of conservatives — Marcus, Sullivan, producers Mark Joseph (upcoming biopic “Reagan”) and Gerald Molen (”Schindler’s List”), and consultant Pat Caddell (“West Wing”) — all agreed on one thing: The right, for the most part, makes lousy (cheap, preachy, didactic) movies and TV.
“Do you people want to win? Or do you just want to entertain yourselves?” Caddell asked the CPAC audience. He brandished a copy of “Dreams from My Real Father,” a low-budget documentary that claims the president is the secret son of a communist. This, said Caddell, is what not to do.
Instead, make something like “The Bible,” Mark Burnett’s surprise new hit on the History Channel. Or “Argo,” said Marcus: He hated about four minutes of the politics, loved the rest because it was a great movie. Art comes before ideology, he told them: “I’m not a conservative filmmaker. I’m a filmmaker.”
Hollywood’s dirty little secret? The town cares more about money than politics, said Caddell. Come up with a good idea — good narrative, acting, and production values — that sells and “it’s wide open.”
The hurdles? Not only does the right fly under the radar in the entertainment industry, but it’s not great at funding and packaging ideas that turn into great movies. Sullivan estimated liberals outspend conservatives by $4 billion in the field; political donors who give millions to right-leaning candidates are far less likely to invest in movies.
Dumb move, according to the panel, who claim there’s a vast, untapped audience in this country.
“If we in Hollywood get America right,” said Joseph, “I think box office numbers would absolutely skyrocket.”
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