Emmy-winning documentary specialists Alex Gibney and Blair Foster say their A&E series The Clinton Affair delved into a political scandal that seems just as timely and topical on ts 20-year anniversary as it did in real time in 1998. Moreover, the #metoo movement is an essential context for revisiting the scandal and it was an active factor in the project’s making and message, Gibney said on Sunday.at The Clinton Affair panel at Deadline’s Contenders Emmys on the Paramount Pictures lot.
The Clinton Affair chronicles the events leading up to the impeachment trial of the 42nd President of the United States and examines them through the prisms of media, feminism, and politics. The sordid scandal bundled up many of Washington’s favorite fascinations: sex, power, ideological warfare, and mudslinging. The series was constructed from archival footage as well as comprehensive new interviews with more than four dozen subjects, among them Monica Lewinsky.
The young woman who was savaged by comedians and political cartoonists for years (often with salacious oral sex or cigar references) brought a unique survivors insight to the film, Foster said.
Lewinsky’s participation was a major “get” that Foster attributed to perseverance as well as fortunate timing in regards to Lewinsky’s evolving level of comfort, candor, and urgency about speaking out. The vantage point from today’s #metoo experience adds new perspectives to judgments regarding the saturation coverage by the media of the Lewinsky scandal (which, revealingly, was rarely called the Clinton affair in those days) .
Gibney executive produced the series through his Jigsaw Productions, (which also produced the Gibney-directed Taxi to the Dark Side, which won the Oscar for documentary feature in 2008).
Foster directed The Clinton Affair, which aired over three consecutive nights in November and coincided with the 20th anniversary of the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton. The pair were joined on stage Sunday by Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro handling moderator duties.
Gibney is a two-time Emmy winner in documentary categories (for a Scientology investigation and another about the Catholic Church’s molestation cover-up) while Foster is a three-time winner (for a George Harrison retrospective and two for an investigation into U.S. military torture practices.)