Hillary Clinton is the subject of at least two new films.
Hillary Clinton is the subject of at least two new films. | wikipedia, the commons

The 2016 Campaign Film Festival

A new documentary about how Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage has powered their political dynasty is the latest entree in a growing menu of politically charged, campaign-season films.

"Clinton Inc.", which is scheduled to open in Chicago on Friday and around the country by mid-October, casts the Clinton marriage as an unusual arrangement that allows the couple to support each other's separate political ambitions, and find ways to use their positions to enrich themselves along the way.

Loosely based the 2014 book "Clinton, Inc." by Daniel Halper, who now runs the Washington bureau of the New York Post, the film draws on interviews and archival footage to explore the psychological roots of Bill Clinton's philandering. It argues that Hillary made herself and their marriage essential to his political career by enabling and covering up his affairs (Roger Stone explores similar territory in his book "The Clintons' War on Women").

The documentary is part of a growing genre of influential and successful films that criticize contemporary politics and politicians. Peter Schweizer, the author of a book on the Clinton Foundation, “Clinton Cash,” has produced a movie version of his book which anyone can watch for free on the website of the conservative news outlet, Breitbart.  

“Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” by the conservative writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, has earned more than $5 million. That, however, does not match the success of D’Souza’s previous documentary, “2016: Obama's America,” which was the No. 1 documentary of 2012 (earning $33.5 million at the box office), the No. 2 political documentary of all time, and the No. 5 documentary of all time for highest domestic gross box office.

Donald Trump is also providing fodder for filmmakers. Johnny Depp's online mockumentary “Donald Trump: The Art of the Deal,” has received more than five million visits since it was released on the  Funny or Die website in February. 

Another film,  "One Nation Under Trump," which was produced for $25,000, and released last month, has received less attention. And movies about Donald Trump as a public figure, not as a presidential candidate, have been produced every few years, going back to 1991's "Trump: What's the Deal?"

There’s even a movie about Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. “Rigged 2016,” which reportedly has a $1-million budget provided by Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne, a Johnson supporter, is slated for release next month.  

The poli-documentary genre has been growing at least since the famous Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010 - as well as the tremendous success of Michael Moore's earlier films, including "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11." That court case began when the nonprofit conservative organization, Citizens United, was prevented from showing an anti-Clinton film, “Hillary: The Movie,” within thirty days of a Democrat presidential primary.

Once it reached the Supreme Court, the justices ruled that the first amendment prevented government from restricting such independent political expenditures.