Palin on the big screen

A documentary film about Sarah Palin set to be released next month is fueling more speculation that she is edging closer to jumping into the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

The nearly two-hour long film, titled "The Undefeated," portrays Palin's time as Alaska's governor in a positive light and touts her as a dynamic, compelling voice for the conservative cause on par with Ronald Reagan. 

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The film, which is divided into three acts, shifts the narrative surrounding Palin away from some of the more controversial episodes from her political career: her questions about President Obama's birth certificate, the so-called "Troopergate" scandal and her use of the term "blood libel" during the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.

Instead, it builds a positive story arc of Palin's life in the public eye.

An outsider, Palin climbs up Alaska's political ranks and along the way evolves into tough "Mama Grizzly" willing to fight for her beliefs, according to the film. The word "courage" is frequently used to describe her willingness to shake up the status quo; whether Palin is taking on corrupt oil executives and politicians, liberals, the media and the elites within her own party.

Conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon, who created the film, provided private screenings for reporters last week at a small studio in Arlington, Va., just outside the nation's capital. 

Sensing Palin's lightning-rod image, Bannon said he anticipates "The Undefeated" will be, the "most controversial film of the year."

The screenings were held as Palin traveled on her closely watched bus tour to historic sites up and down the East Coast, including a stop the first in the nation primary state of New Hampshire. 

Palin said Sunday she her chances of running for the Republican nomination in 2012 were "right in the middle."

Bannon said that the film will be initially released in July in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the sites of the first four GOP primary and caucus contests. A wider release will come later.

What effect the movie’s release will have on the general public’s opinion of Palin is hard to estimate. She is almost universally known – a recent Gallup poll found her name recognition at 95 percent among Republicans – and neither her fervent supporters nor her equally fervent detractors are likely to change their minds.

Bannon said his idea for the film sprouted when Palin aides Rebcca Mansour and Tim Crawford approached him following the 2010 elections and asked him to produce several short videos that tout her accomplishments during her term as governor and explain her controversial decision to resign in 2009, following her defeat as the vice presidential nominee on the 2008 GOP ticket.

Bannon, whose documentary "Generation Zero" was a big hit with the Tea Party movement, instead set out to make a feature-length film about Palin's political career and his Victory Film Group fronted $1 million for its production.

While Bannon said Palin had no editorial role in the film, and that he has only met her once in person, he obtained access to Palin's allies in Alaska with the help of members of her current and former staff, including her former-spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton.  


No new footage of Palin appears in the film and Bannon did not conduct interviews with her. Instead, she appears in newscasts and other video from key points in her political career, like her maiden speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008, which is featured prominently throughout the documentary.

Palin voice runs over parts of the film, but Bannon purchased the audio rights her memoir Going Rogue, then sprinkling parts of the recording throughout the film. 

Even though Bannon stressed that Palin did not have an editorial role in the movie, it undoubtedly frames her as a protagonist and heroine.

Palin saw a rough cut of the film with her husband Todd in Phoenix, Ariz., and she told Fox News's Greta van Susteren last week that "it blew me away."

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