It was supposed to be a film about redemption—the rebirth of a political figure who had fallen from political grace in a new-age social media scandal. Instead, the documentary Weiner ends in the same way that it had before with yet another series of explicit photos and text messages causing a once promising political future to come crashing down.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner invited filmmaker and former staffer Josh Kriegman and his partner Elyse Steinberg to film his 2013 campaign for mayor of New York City. Initially, Weiner’s candidacy began picking up steam, epitomizing the idea that everyone loves a good comeback story. His ambitions for the mayor’s office seemed within reach. And in the midst of all this success, Weiner’s past began to catch up with him. Women came forward revealing more instances of ‘sexting’ that had occurred after his resignation from Congress. And as his approval ratings plummeted, a camera crew was there to capture it all.
Filmmakers Kriegman and Steinberg joined Julie Mason Monday to discuss the making of the film, which won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at Sundance Film Festival. The film showcases the raw and intimate moments of one of the biggest political failures in recent history.
“[Weiner] does get to an answer towards the end of the film when he talks about wanting to be seen as the full person that he was – and just feeling, you know, that he had become this punchline, and I think that was his hope that there might be a different version of the story told,” Kriegman told Mason.
The film also depicts Weiner’s life as he was working to rebuild his marriage with Huma Abedin (one of Hillary Clinton’s closest advisors and currently the vice chair of Clinton’s campaign for president) following his resignation from Congress. The filmmakers also commented on how she is portrayed in the film.
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