For the past 40 years, the race for the American Presidency has begun in the state of Iowa, where candidates spend months traveling the state's 99 counties hoping to win its “first-in-the-nation” vote and prove themselves a viable candidate.
In intimate, often funny and sometimes emotional detail, CAUCUS tells the story of the 2011-2012 campaign in Iowa as eight Republicans fight to become their party’s standard-bearer and take on Barack Obama. But to win, each has to first navigate state fairs, town hall meetings in pizza halls and agitated questions from the increasingly contentious GOP base.
Screened in Theatres in North America
Aired on television on Al Jazeera America
World Premiere | Hot Docs International Film Festival, Toronto
US Premiere | Closing Night, AFI DOCS, Washington, DC
Jury Prize for Direction | Philadelphia Film Festival
Charles Guggenheim Award | St. Louis Film Festival
Official Selection | AFI FEST, Camden International Film Festival
Directed and Edited by AJ Schnack
Produced and Photographed by AJ Schnack and Nathan Truesdell
Producers Shirley Moyers and Edward Parks
Additional Cinematography by Bill Ross and Turner Ross
Original Score by Mark degli Antoni
Graphics Design by Juan Cardarelli and Eric Levy
Produced in association with Rival Pictures/Om Films | Niraj Bhatia and Frank Mele, Executive Producers
Featuring Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain. Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Rick Perry,
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum
"Mr. Schnack’s film takes no partisan stance and is instead more focused on personalities than on the process. The film is a testament to the power of observational documentary...This brightly lit world of pundits, political promos and two-minute speeches seems lacking when compared with the intelligently observed, carefully framed action that makes up Caucus. This is history as it should be told: alive, contradictory, hilarious, sad, sharp and compassionate."
- Miriam Bale, New York Times | Critic's Pick
"Caucus is a lively, hilarious, upsetting crash-course in recent history. It's also revelatory at times, especially as it reframes infamous sound bites in their of-the-moment context."
- Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice | Critics Choice
"All of these twists and turns are captured in Caucus, Schnack’s funny, absorbing and improbably moving chronicle of a campaign that featured more than its share of characters...a film that both celebrates the folksy idiosyncrasies of retail politics and wistfully demonstrates the system’s costs. Not just delightful watching, but required viewing."
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"A salty slice of Americana, a Robert Altman movie in embryo; a bittersweet ode to the disposability of political dreams. Watching Caucus you understand the gut appeal of a blunderbuss like Donald Trump to the Republican base: he's as incoherently ranty as they are."
- James Wolcott, Vanity Fair