Charles Ferguson and CNN Films Cancel Hillary Clinton Documentary


CNN’s controversial documentary about Hillary Clinton has been canceled. The project, which was commissioned by the news network’s CNN Films division under the direction of Oscar winner Charles Ferguson (No End In Sight; Inside Job), received a good amount of media attention last month after the RNC threatened a boycott on account of an apparent bias on the part of the cable channel [Ed. Note: our sister site, Film School Rejects had two posts about it prior to the launch of Nonfics]. But that’s not exactly why the doc has now been shut down.

Ferguson took to The Huffington Post to personally write his explanation for canceling the production completely, and while certain pressures from the Republicans and also Democrats are relevant to the decision, it’s not necessarily that he gave in to these powers so much as he didn’t see a good movie being made with the resulting lack of access and support. After addressing his interests, intent and progress with the doc, he writes:

when I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away. I even sensed potential difficulty in licensing archival footage from CBN (Pat Robertson) and from Fox. After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out.

He says it was a painful decision to make, but he realized he had to cancel because he wouldn’t be able to make a film he’d be proud of. He acknowledges that this turn of events is likely what the RNC and other critics were hoping for, and it’s a win for the Clinton camp as well. The losers in all this, he claims, are the media and the American people.

Well, some lesser documentarian is sure to now jump into the void in order to deliver an unauthorized doc about Hillary that isn’t concerned about access or interviewing the right people and other things Ferguson understands are necessary for a proper film of this sort. And of course we still have the NBC miniseries [oops now that one is kaput, too] and another Hollywood biopic to look forward to.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.