We're standing in front of a dozen news cameras, doing what political families do on primary day. My father, the front-runner in the race to become mayor of New York, leaves the polling booth to a frenzy of camera shutters. We can't help be giddy -- to me, then 17 years old, it feels as if we're the center of the universe.
Two hours later, two planes slam into the Twin Towers.
OFF THE RECORD tells the story of that strange election and how, with the attacks of 9/11, the rise of billionaire Michael Bloomberg and sudden sainthood of Rudy Giuliani -- elements which obliterated the known political landscape -- Mark Green, my father, lost.
Given my unusual access to the candidate, the story is told mostly over the Green dinner table, over his shoulder at public events and in the schleppy comfort of our home. The film offers a candid glimpse into what really goes on behind the scenes and the headlines in a political campaign.
Campaigns can be thrilling for all those involved -- the camaraderie of the staff, the glare of the media, everything charged with urgency and purpose -- but clawing your way to victory can also be overwhelming, stressful and nasty. The 2001 mayor's race was all of the above.
I'm re-releasing this ten years after its original air date because, as the Bloomberg era comes to a close, it's valuable to see how it all began. In many ways Bloomberg's been a good mayor and ambassador for the city, including his initiatives on public health and gun control. But the way he gained his position -- spending $74 million of his own money, the most expensive campaign ever per vote -- is often underplayed.
No, this film is not an unbiased representation of the 9/11 election. On the contrary, it's deeply personal in a way that any family's story would be under the circumstances -- the horror of the attacks, the dismay of defeat. In a larger sense, it could have easily been about Freddy Ferrer or Al Gore, or any other runner-up who falls tantalizingly short.
OFF THE RECORD originally screened at the 2003 Hamptons Film Festival and went on to air on the Sundance Channel for years afterwards. I am posting this for non-profit, educational purposes only. Please share this film and leave any comments below.
Appearances by (in order):
Mark Green, Deni Frand, Jonah Green, Jenya Green, Fernando (Freddy) Ferrer, Alan Hevesi, Peter Vallone, Michael Bloomberg, Al D'Amato, Ralph Nader, David Dinkins, Bill Bratton, Russel Simmonns, Adam Nagourney, Robert Kennedy Jr., Eric Adams, Andrew Rasiej, Andrew Kirtzman, Warren Beatty, Jon Bon Jovi, Blake Zeff, Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Green, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chevy Chase, Eliot Spitzer, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Terry Mcauliffe, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy
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PS: I directed a more recent film, OTHER PEOPLE. otherpeoplethefilm.com Will be online soon.