Media Cool

Indie filmmakers look for drama and spectacle at the Republican convention

Stephen Marshall of the Guerrilla News Network likewise aims for a crossover crowd with This Revolution, a remake of Haskell Wexler's feature Medium Cool, which famously placed actors inside the chaotic 1968 Democratic Convention. "There's great stuff coming out these days from Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald, but in a lot of ways those films are polarizing," says Marshall. "I'm trying to create a film which is entertaining enough and has a thriller aspect to it, which doesn't have a Republican or Democrat bent, but speaks to an audience that is there for a bit of a ride."

Gabriel Rhodes and Keefe Murren, directors of August in the Empire State
photo: Brian Kennedy
Gabriel Rhodes and Keefe Murren, directors of August in the Empire State

"The protagonist is Jake Cassavetes," Marshall explains, "who is a famed war shooter just back from Iraq and is shooting the conventions when he finds out that his network has made a Faustian deal with Homeland Security to pass his footage over to quote-unquote 'terror threats.' That kind of draws from Haskell's original script, in which he intimates that the main character's footage is being given to the FBI for COINTELPRO." When This Revolution began shooting at the DNC last month, "we were involved in a huge scuffle where the cops grabbed a couple of guys and beat them down and we got that all on tape. We shot the state troopers in SWAT gear coming out and lining up and marching around—I'm like, this is an action sequence with production values that I could never afford!"

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