Snow Queen: AOC documentary wins Sundance Film Festival

They like her. They really, really like her. A documentary of the story about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign to unseat a long-time incumbent won the annual audience award in the documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival. The political media’s darling has won over the Hollywood film industry, too. Rachel Lears wrote, produced and directed a documentary and financed it with a Kickstarter campaign.

The documentary is titled “Knock Down the House” and the filmmaker really lucked out. She was in the right place at the right time. Choosing four women candidates running for elected office in 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) was the only one that went on from a primary victory to a victory in November. Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia were the other women candidates and they all lost in their primary races. All of the races were of interest to the filmmaker because of their grassroots support and the uphill battles against incumbents.

Knock Down the House follows the four women on the campaign trail, and the many highs and lows they faced when taking on established politicians. Ocasio-Cortez may be the face of most people may recognize, but the real story is the grassroots organizing that happens behind the scenes by groups like Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, the emotional reasons that inspired these women to run for public office and the passionate volunteers, supporters and loved ones who help them along the way. The documentary is both a moving and enlightening journey through the center of the U.S. political system.

While Hollywood has been busy giving Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg the star treatment recently, her time is limited. Ginsburg is a tough old bird but she is elderly and ill now. AOC, depending on how her first term shakes out, can be around for some time. We already know she loves to be on camera and tends to aggressively court media attention. Michael Moore, the far left filmmaker, and provocateur, even says that the Democrat party must accept AOC as their new leader. He even thinks she could beat President Trump in 2020. Well, now. There is one little problem with that bit of wishcasting, though. AOC is too young to run for president. He’d like the Constitution to be amended on that whole age thing but she’ll just have to wait and bide her time like the rest of them. Moore is calling on Democrats to embrace the far left and forget about more moderate positions.

“She is the leader. Everybody knows it. Everybody feels it,” Moore said of the freshman congresswoman from New York during a Friday interview on MSNBC.

Moore said the age requirement to run for president – 35 – should be constitutionally amended so that Ocasio-Cortez could make a play for the White House. He said Ocasio-Cortez is the leader of a movement, citing a Fox News poll that showed voters favored her proposal to increase the tax rate to 70 percent for the richest Americans.

AOC canceled her trip to Sundance this year and gave some kind of fuzzy excuse about the government shutdown causing unforeseen problems. The other three women subjects were in the house, though, and they received a five-minute standing ovation upon winning the audience award. Five minutes. To the audience’s delight, AOC made a surprise appearance via Skype.

Ocasio-Cortez herself appeared at the festival through a video call following the film’s showing, admitting that she herself was still “recovering” from the shock of her own victory.

“I’m still recovering from the tears myself,” she said on the video call, according to “I’m just so glad that this moment for all four of us was captured and documented not just for the personal meaning of it but for everyday people to see that yes, this is incredibly challenging, yes, the odds are long but also that yes, this is worth it.”

As you can imagine, lots of money will be made from this documentary. It looks like the winner in that battle is Netflix, scooping it up for six million dollars – a very large sum for a documentary. Documentaries are a hot genre now, though, thanks to recent favorites on Mr. Rogers and RBG.

Rumor has it that the sale could be for as much as $6 million, a huge sum of money for a non-fiction film. The project attracted several bidders in what has been a nearly four-day, ongoing pitch standoff between Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, multiple insiders familiar with the talks told Variety. Sony Pictures Classics also expressed interest, one of the individuals said. Amazon dropped out late Wednesday, another said.

Initially, the filmmakers were seeking robust theatrical distribution — something that Netflix has traditionally shunned.

One last nugget from Hollyweird today. Guess who else is being pursued in an anticipated movie or book payday? Convicted felon Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer.

We’re told Cohen’s story of his years inside Trump Organization, and his recordings, are so sought after by liberal Hollywood that he has been approached by numerous producers, including one working with
Moore, another affiliated with Robert De Niro, CNN Films, as well as movie makers such as Lawrence Bender, who has worked with Quentin Tarantino.

Attorneys for Cohen didn’t comment, but a source said, “Michael Cohen has been approached by a number of high-profile producers and filmmakers for his story, as well as others offering book deals. He hasn’t accepted any of these deals on the advice of his legal team. He intends to comply with investigators and be fully open during his appearances before lawmakers. His main intention is to tell the truth as he knows it. There is a lot more to his story.”

Cohen is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors in early March. We’ll see what kind of deal he can get after he fulfills that commitment.