Will Rabbe is a filmmaker and journalist devoted to enlivening history and politics through compelling non-fiction content. As a documentary and news producer, he's been creating feature and interstitial programming for television and the web for over 10 years. He is currently a producer with Hardball on MSNBC.
A consummate political junkie and history buff, Rabbe has interviewed hundreds of media and political figures throughout his career, including Joe Biden, Tom DeLay, Michael Dukakis, Geraldine Ferraro, Steve Forbes, David Gergen, Mike Huckabee, Ted Koppel, Frank Mankiewicz, John McCain, Dan Rather, Charlie Rose, George Stephanopoulos and Jules Witcover. His work has appeared on A&E, AOL.com, Bloomberg TV, Current TV, The Documentary Channel, GSN, IFC, MSNBC, NHPTV, NBC Learn and NBC News. He resides in New York and Washington, DC.
Rabbe got his start in 2004 at Boston University, where he studied film and television. Seeking to explore the unique influence of the New Hampshire primary over the presidential nominating process, Rabbe directed and produced Winning New Hampshire. The independent documentary covered the reversal of John Kerry’s political fortunes in January of 2004 and was named the 'definitive' film on the first-in-the-nation primary by former State Political Director Michael Chaney. It premiered at the New Hampshire Film Festival before airing on New Hampshire Public Television and The Documentary Channel, the national cable network replaced by Pivot in 2013.
After graduating magna cum laude from BU's School of Communications, Rabbe joined White Mountain Films, where he worked closely with veteran filmmaker George Butler, who's best known for his Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary, Pumping Iron. There, Rabbe worked on several of Butler's feature documentaries, including Going Upriver, The Lord God Bird, The Good Fight and Roving Mars, an IMAX collaboration with NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory about the Mars Rovers, 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity'.
In 2005, Rabbe set out to shoot and direct The First War On Terror, a feature-length independent documentary about America’s first encounter with radical Islamic terrorism, the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-'81. The gripping story was told by over 30 interview subjects, including the former hostages and their Iranian captors, as well as former President Jimmy Carter, his late Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan and late Press Secretary Jody Powell.
When the 2008 presidential campaigns geared-up in mid-2007, Rabbe partnered with colleague Sarah Scully to become the face of 2008 Uncut, a weekly TV program that they conceived, hosted and produced for the Independent Film Channel (IFC). Together, Rabbe and Scully travelled across the country on the campaign trail, producing over 50 episodes through the November general election. The series deconstructed the 2008 electoral process from a uniquely independent viewpoint, earning a silver Telly Award as well as recognition from ABC News, The National Review, Politico, TV Week and Variety.
Following the election, Rabbe developed Unscrupulous, a narrative feature about the scandals of the Harding administration in the early 1920s. The political thriller is the story of Warren Harding, the undistinguished former President whose penchant for trouble made him an accomplice to some of the largest government swindles in American history. The project remains in development.
In 2011, Rabbe joined NBC News as a producer of The Chris Matthews Show, the nationally syndicated weekend roundtable program hosted by its namesake. While producing nearly 100 shows over two years, Rabbe created numerous viral one-offs like "Mitt: Better Off Mute" and "Chief Exec", both mash-up political spoofs of pop-culture. He also produced the short documentary Inside the Eagleton Affair, an account of George McGovern's disastrous choice of Thomas Eagleton as his running mate in 1972.
When The Chris Matthews Show wrapped in July of 2013, Rabbe oversaw the program's 10-year conclusion before transitioning to Hardball with Chris Matthews at MSNBC. In addition to daily segments, Rabbe produced a companion video for Matthews's 2013 book Tip and the Gipper. His most recent documentary, Above the Fray, was produced for NBC Learn and tells the inside story of Michael Dukakis's 1988 campaign for President.