What if the star of a documentary about the Iowa caucuses turned out to be an actress? That's 'Janeane from Des Moines,' which turns the politician-as-actor paradigm on its head.
January 21, 2014

Come back at noon EST Wednesday for a chat with "Janeane From Des Moines" director Grace Lee and Jane Edith Wilson.

Jane Edith Wilson

Director Grace Lee and I are very excited to have more audiences see our film "Janeane From Des Moines," the film we made in 2012 to start a conversation… a conversation that desperately needs to continue if we wish to see true change happen in this country.

Janeane is a conservative Christian, Tea Party patriot who has everything she believes in drawn into question as she starts to lose everything in her life that she holds dear- her marriage, her health, her job, her home and (to a certain degree) her sanity. As her life spirals out of control she encounters all the GOP candidates in the run-up to the 2012 Iowa Caucuses: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and, of course, Mitt Romney.

Janeane meets Michele Bachmann.

All Janeane wants is to hear some concrete answers to her very serious problems, the same problems millions of Americans are facing on a day-to-day basis.

Making this film was a quite a journey. I am originally from Iowa (and Grace is originally from Missouri) so the landscape was utterly familiar while at the same time quite foreign, as Grace and I come from very different political ideologies. Filming amongst the conservative Tea Party crowds was the acting exercise of a lifetime, sort of a long-form improvisation that could go one for hours at a stretch depending on what we were filming.

It was interesting to see how the different candidates reacted to Janeane. Michele Bachmann was sincerely warm and comforting to Janeane (even if she has no concrete answers for her) while candidates Gingrich and Santorum were more aloof and at arm’s length. Rick Perry’s handlers didn’t really want anyone near their candidate -- he was often whisked away from crowds like the Wizard of Oz. And Janeane’s emotional encounter with Mitt Romney was covered on ABC World News Tonight as the top story on the night of the caucus.

As quickly as the candidates issued a vigorous “no comment” once the truth behind the film was revealed, the mainstream media was often equally nonplussed or downright irritated with the film upon its release. We appeared on CNN to speak about the real issues the film raises and were instead chastised by a panel of pundits, none of whom had watched the film, upbraiding us for getting in the way of “real people” participating in the caucus experience.

I am here to tell you that the last person the mainstream media and all the well-paid political handlers want anywhere near the candidates is a real person. They have a dance happening, a dance that puts money in a lot of people’s coffers and the last thing it leads to is enhanced democracy or a deeper understanding of issues that touch people’s very real (and often desperate) lives.

Please enjoy these clips and join us for an online chat tomorrow. We hope you will download the film, watch it and encourage others to watch it as well; we’d especially love for candidates running in the next election cycle to see and utilize the film. We screened it in many battleground states in the run-up to the 2012 election and the audiences were wildly enthusiastic to have a dialogue with us about all the issues we raised.

Janeane’s story is still very much out there. As the run-up to the 2014 midterms is upon us, we hope some of her questions will be met with compassion and answered with dignity and a true call to action.


Grace Lee is an award-winning director whose latest documentary "American Revolutionary -- the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs" will be broadcast on POV in 2014. americanrevolutionaryfilm.com. Jane Edith Wilson is an actor, writer, producer and activist who can be followed on twitter @JaneEdithWilson.

For other media and info about the film, please go to www.janeanemovie.com

To request that "Janeane From Des Moines" be added to Netflix, please contact https://signup.netflix.com/MediaCenter/ContactPR.

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