“The Way I See It” director and producer Dawn Porter says the documentary about former Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza is not subtle about criticizing Donald Trump’s administration.
“In some years you want to be subtle and this is not a subtle year,” she told TheWrap’s Steve Pond during the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. “We are hopefully in a once-in-a-lifetime situation where the current occupant in the White House is just unsuited to the job.”
The film follows the life of Pete Souza, who photographed President Barack Obama and his administration. It had its world premiere at TIFF and was then released by Focus Features, and will be broadcast on MSNBC on Oct. 9.
It’s not an easy feat to turn a photography book into a movie, but Jaywalker Pictures’ Jayme Lemons, whose producing partner is Laura Dern, knew that there was something special about these photographs.
“I think I was the first person who brought it up, but it was brought up to a group of people who were very like-minded and jumped right in and all fell in love with Pete’s work and we all knew it already, and I think everybody got really excited about the opportunity to explore it in some way.” she said. “At that point, we didn’t know what form it would take.”
She added: “My partner Laura Dern and I had loved Pete’s work and talked about the complexities of his photos and all that they represented and I think we felt very nostalgic and missing the kind of sensibility that President Obama had brought to the office.”
Evan Hayes, who also serves as a producer on the film, said he wanted to make the film because Souza found a way to combine art and history in his photographs.
“Pete’s photos speak for themselves — his behind-the-scenes stories are fascinating on an entertainment level but these works of art, of journalism, these historical photographs, just immediately present a contrast and to us, that’s why we wanted to make this film,” he said.
Watch the video above.