Tribeca: 'The Reagan Show' Nabbed by Gravitas, CNN

The Ronald Reagan documentary is set to hit theaters this summer: “He knew better than most what the true power of the press is.”

The Regan Show is headed to both the big and little screens.

The timely documentary about the first made-for-TV president, which is set to premiere Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival, has been acquired by Gravitas Ventures and CNN Films.

Gravitas has acquired North American theatrical and streaming rights for a June 30 theatrical release, with CNN landing North American broadcast rights, following the theatrical and home video release on July 4.

The Reagan Show is constructed entirely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself to track former President Ronald Reagan’s Hollywood-powered and public-savvy image. The documentary charts Reagan’s camera-friendly presidency, one that helped create today’s political landscape. Well before the era of President Donald Trump, his Twitter feed and relationship with the press, the former movie star set a new presidential standard for near-constant self-documentation.

Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill’s doc demonstrates how Reagan governed with film crews constantly trailing him and camera bulbs frequently flashing, all while dangerous global threats loomed during the final years of the Cold War and while opposing pundits accused him of caring more about public relations than his presidential duties.

“These tapes allow us to track Reagan through the end of the Cold War — with all its confusion, fear, humor and, above all, irony,” said co-director and producer Sierra Pettengill in a statement. “The goal of our immersive, self-reflective approach is to invite viewers to look closely at — and question — the use of narrative in contemporary politics. We’re excited to have the opportunity to bring this very timely film to wider audiences through the great people at Gravitas and CNN.” 

Nolan Gallagher, CEO and founder of Gravitas, added that the film presents “a fascinating look at what set Reagan apart and made his time in office iconic, no matter which side of the fence you fall on. He knew better than most what the true power of the press is.” 

The Reagan Show was co-directed by Velez (Manakamana) and Pettengill (Producer, Cutie and the Boxer). Pettengill also produced from a script by Velez, Josh Alexander and Francisco Bello. Dan Cogan, Amy Entelis of CNN Films and Houston King are the executive producers. 


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