Story Syndicate, a production company founded by filmmakers Liz Garbus and Dan Cogan, has begun filming at campaign events for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay millennial candidate running for president in 2020.
The documentary focuses on Buttigieg’s rise to national prominence, Axios reported. Crews have already begun filming at several campaign events, and attended the first Democratic debate in Miami. No streaming or entertainment company has yet acquired the film, and “sources say its future is contingent on the outcome of Buttigieg’s campaign.”
Many might say the film is premature. After all, Buttigieg is more likely than not to fizzle out and fail to achieve the Democratic nomination. Yet the candidate already boasts a compelling backstory: the first openly gay candidate to emerge as a viable contender for a major party’s nomination, he is an Afghanistan veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, and one of the youngest to become mayor in the U.S.
Campaign documentaries have enjoyed a surge of popularity recently. In March, HBO released Running with Beto, a documentary about former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) failed campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). In May, Netflix released Knock Down the House, a documentary focusing on the campaigns of millennials challenging establishment Democrats in 2018, most prominently featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
With filming beginning this early, it is possible Buttigieg’s documentary might release during the 2020 Democratic nomination race, even while he is still a significant contender.
As Axios noted, “film has become a hot tool for politicians to establish influence, even once leaving office.” Former President Barack Obama and even failed 2016 contender Hillary Clinton are rushing to produce films to extend their influence.
Even in the likely event Buttigieg loses this nomination race, this film could present a stepping stone to the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination or to another political ambition.
Correction: The original version of this article said Buttigieg is the first openly gay candidate running for a major party’s nomination. Fred Karger, a candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012, holds that distinction, although he did not win a single delegate for the Republican National Convention.
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