LOPEZ: Why is it so important to tell the story of Palin’s Alaska career?
BANNON: To understand the meaning of Sarah Palin you must understand the stewardship of Governor Palin. If she is to be taken seriously as a potential leader of our country it is very important for people to know how she comes to make decisions and how she effects major change. In Alaska, as governor, you see the real Sarah Palin.
Isn’t it, taken in whole, propaganda?
BANNON: Just the opposite. The film tells a story the American people never really got to hear, through the eyes, ears, and experiences of the people who lived it — including Governor Palin. And it’s a story that is still writing itself.
LOPEZ: Is this exactly the wrong way for conservatives in Hollywood to engage the culture? Don’t we want to be taking over the Saturday Night Live and Private Practices and big movie studios of the world?
BANNON: As they say in Los Angeles “Get in the business.” You have to crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and run before you take on marathons. I strongly believe in Andrew Breitbart’s dictum that “culture is upriver from politics,” and I do believe it is important to take over the big studios, and Saturday Night Live and Private Practices, but we have to be realistic. As I said when I was interviewed in a New York Times article in 2004 called “The Right Side of the Aisle,” conservatives need to have storytellers, i.e. writers and directors who can take our ideas and put them on film. That simply does not exist today. I am a nonfiction filmmaker. Why? Because I love the medium of film, and I think nonfiction is a deep vein to mine.
As conservatives we have a long, tough haul. Forget taking over the culture; we first have to have just a minor impact on the popular culture — something we have yet to achieve. I pride myself on the fact that we make commercially successful, critically acclaimed, cutting-edge films with my young filmmaking team, which is part of the next generation of conservative filmmakers.
LOPEZ: You described Sarah Palin as “not a self-promoter.” I could almost hear the laughter already. How can you say that when she’s had this bus tour/family vacation going on, she can be seen on Fox News, Facebook, Twitter, reality TV, having pizza with the Donald?
BANNON: It is very simple. All those things you mentioned, she very rarely talks about herself or her accomplishments. She was raised by parents who, like most working-class or middle-class people, taught her not to talk or brag about herself. In none of the instances that you mention is she really talking about herself or her accomplishments.
LOPEZ: When I saw your rough cut, you talked about prospective premieres in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada? How is that not working for a Palin campaign?
BANNON: It is completely and totally unrelated. First, she does not have a campaign; she is not a declared candidate. She does not have a campaign organization; she has a small PAC. I am an independent filmmaker. My distributor is not going to be Warner Brothers or Paramount or any of the majors. In typical independent fashion, we need to draft off “earned media” by creating interest in the film, and one way to do that is to go to states where culture and politics are engaged: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
LOPEZ: Do you want her to run for president?
BANNON: She will obviously come to her own decision in her own time, but I think that her voice, perspective, values, and energy are absolutely necessary to get into this current Republican primary. It would be good for the Republican party and the conservative movement and the country. We need now more than ever a primary like the one in 1976: Reagan vs. the Establishment.