When it comes to making a documentary about a road trip, it helps to already be on one.
That’s what happened to Sundance Film Festival award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, who while touring America with his criminal justice doc, The House I Live In, was moved by those he spoke with about “how the American Dream lost its luster.”
Jarecki drove on, and it just so happened the path he cut was when the 2016 presidential election was going on. He learned that those in middle America “had an incredible appetite for something to be different.” All the while Elvis Presley haunted the movie like a ghost. You could say that was because Jarecki was driving the Rolls Royce of the late King of Rock; a reminder of all things that were greater and better in the U.S.
“Everywhere we go that’s drawing a magnetic power of people’s love of another time, their sense of confusion of the present, and their hope for a better time again,” said Jarecki about Presley’s car, “All of those conversations naturally happened when you roll into a poor city like Memphis, or Detroit, or New York or Baltimore.”
Here, Jarecki also talks about how Bernie Sanders and now President Donald Trump became the hope for the marginal middle, but in the end, as they aspired to something greater, they ultimately hitched a ride with the wrong politician.
Promised Land played in the Special Screenings section of the Cannes Film Festival and is up for the Golden Eye, an award bestowed to documentaries. United Talent Agency is handling foreign sales.