All The President's Minutes - Alan Pakula: Going for Truth with Matthew Miele

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All The President's Minutes is a podcast where conversations about movies, journalism, politics and history meet. Each show we use the seminal and increasingly prescient 1976 film All The President's Men as a portal, to engage with the themes and the warnings of the film resonating since its release. In a special bonus episode, I join director Matthew Miele to discuss his great upcoming documentary, Alan Pakula: Going For Truth.

For showtimes visit JIFF here.

About Matthew Miele

A storyteller above all else, Matthew Miele has drawn upon his various experiences in music composition, publishing, and screenwriting to become a successful producer and director of critically acclaimed, and internationally renowned, feature-length documentaries. Miele has always called upon his curiosity and interests during his most impressionable childhood years to inform his storytelling. Enduring memories of going with his family to see the department store holiday windows lining Fifth Avenue in New York, allowed him to witness a kind of storytelling bursting with fantasy, nostalgia, and spectacle. This would later manifest into his first breakout box office hit, SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF’S (2013), the feature documentary about the world’s most signature fashion emporium, Bergdorf Goodman.

With the success of Bergdorf’s at the box office and fast becoming one of the top 10 documentaries of 2013, Miele and Tiffany & Co. mutually approached one another about telling the brand’s history, resulting in CRAZY ABOUT TIFFANY’S, released as Miele’s theatrical followup in 2016. Following the successful release of two high profile documentaries, Miele was pursued by more iconic brands, including Estee Lauder, to tell their storied histories in his signature style. While brand storytelling certainly became a lucrative niche for Miele, his personal passion lead him on an ambitious pursuit that meant a great deal to his formative journey. The photojournalistic work of the legendary lensman, Harry Benson would bring Miele up close and personal with the iconic Scottish photographer whose images are unequalled in their depth and impact over the last 50 years. HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST! Would go on to be released in 2016 chronicling Harry’s iconic photographs of The Beatles, MLK Jr., Nixon, Namath, Johnny Carson, Richard Pryor, 12 Presidents starting with Eisenhower and through to Obama and Trump, Michael Jackson—the list, as seen in the film, becomes impressively infinite.

Miele’s next pursuit was documenting the pop culture history and continued relevance of his favourite place, but also the unequalled Manhattan mainstay, The Carlyle Hotel. Known as the most glamorous hotel in the world because of the loyalty of its esteemed guests, Miele convinced The Carlyle to give him rare access to capture the essence and celebrated patina of the classic hotel. ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLE would be released in 2018 with appearances by George Clooney, Roger Federer, Anjelica Huston, Anthony Bourdain, Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, Jon Hamm, Rita Wilson, Tommy Lee Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, and over 125 loyal guests and staff.

The filmmaker Alan J. Pakula would become Miele’s next focus as Pakula was Miele’s favourite filmmaker when he was first experiencing cinema in the 1970s and 80s. While most kids were watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Miele was also a fan of more serious classics, specifically Pakula’s work in All The President’s Men, Presumed Innocent, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Pelican Brief, Klute, Sophie’s Choice, etc. It was always Miele’s hope to one day meet Pakula and express his gratitude for his work since he rarely was afforded the proper spotlight for his work, but Pakula’s life would be dramatically cut short by a tragic car accident on the Long Island Expressway in 1998. In 2017, Miele visited with Pakula’s widow, the esteemed biographer Hannah Pakula, and explained his hope to document Alan’s story and career. After a two-year production interviewing Pakula’s family, friends, as well as his film’s casts and crew, Miele is pleased to be releasing his latest film, ALAN PAKULA: GOING FOR TRUTH featuring Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Jane Fonda, Dustin Hoffman, Jeff Bridges, etc.

Up next for Miele and currently in production are feature documentaries on the legendary costume designer Bob Mackie, the most honoured Hollywood screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, more journalistic offerings with a focus on one specific case involving racial profiling, an intimate look at a family horribly affected by the current opioid epidemic, and finally a foray into narrative feature storytelling with a biopic on Miele’s favourite artist, Norman Rockwell.


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