Entries in Will Rabbe (18)


Meet the Press's "Press Pass", NBC News, March 8, 2015 -- With Chuck Todd



The Boston Globe, February 13 2015 -- Dukakis Reflects on Failed Presidential Run in New Documentary


Obama Meets "Mad Men" Parody, 3/25-3/28/12 -- VARIOUS 

We featured our own version of the "Mad Men" opening on The Chris Matthews Show, just in time for the season 5 premiere on AMC. Our take of this iconic sequence portrays the struggles of President Obama's 2012 campaign, showcasing his rivals and highlighting the issues that may complicate his bid for reelection in 2012. Below is some of the press the video recieved:

In addition, Politico's "Click" & The Daily Show's "Indecision 2012" Blog below:



Romney as "The Artist" Parody Trailer, 2/26-27/12 -- VARIOUS

The Chris Matthews Show celebrated Oscar Weekend with a movie trailer of our own, "Mitt: Better Off Mute". Much like the perfect silent picture star whose career was thwarted by the emergence of sound in cinema, Mitt Romney has stumbled when he's had to open his mouth... the following is some of the coverage the video recieved:



Scribe to pen Harding-era political thriller


Screenwriter Barbara Turner has been tapped to pen "Unscrupulous," the developing indie feature about the Harding administration.

Turner is a co-writer of HBO Films' "Hemingway and Gellhorn," set to star Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. Other pics on her resume include "Pollock," Robert Altman's "The Company" and "Georgia."

Produced by William Rabbe, political thriller "Unscrupulous" is based on Charles L. Mee's 1980 book "The Ohio Gang," which depicts the 1920s administration of President Harding as a scandal-plagued collection of eccentric characters.



By Gordon Cox
TV producer William Rabbe, who was co-host and producer of IFC's politico series "2008 Uncut," has optioned "The Ohio Gang," Charles L. Mee's 1980 book about the Warren Harding administration, to adapt into a political-thriller feature called "Unscrupulous."
Though Rabbe has already taken steps to determine the pic's narrative approach and streamline the plot of the complicated historical tale, he plans to hire a scribe to pen the screenplay. No director or cast is yet attached.

Harding, who was U.S. president from 1921 until his death in 1923, topped what is widely regarded as the most scandal-plagued political administration in history. The bribery-based Teapot Dome Scandal reps the best-known of a number of White House misdeeds, including marital infidelity, bootlegging kickbacks and possibly murder.

Rabbe said he is looking to partner with a production company on the brewing project, for which no timeline has yet been set.

He's also at work on a doc about the Iran hostage crisis.


Washingtonian Magazine, 7/13/10 -- THE NEXT HOT PRESIDENT

Find the original article at Washingtonian


Politico: Ben Smith's Blog, 7/12/10 -- UNLIKELY THRILLER





National Review Online, 10/24/08 -- TITO THE MOVIE


Multichannel News, 8/29/08 -- IFC JUMPS ON ELECTION BANDWAGON

By Larry Barrett

IFC Friday announced a slew of new programs this fall dedicated to tracking the 2008 presidential campaign and election, promising to “uncover the stories that are top of mind for the network’s young, independent voters.”

Will Rabbe and Sarah Scully will host the six weekly programs devoted to “thought-provoking aspects of this year’s election process,” including the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and provide an inside view of each candidate’s campaign, IFC officials said.

“The 2008 race is perhaps the most important election of our lifetime,” Debbie DeMontreux., senior vice president of programming for IFC, said in a statement. “With an unprecedented cast of diverse characters competing in the most expensive, technologically advanced and drawn-out elections, it has never been a better time to be a political spectator.”

“These election news segments will offer a smart, non-partisan perspective on aspects of this year’s election that are important to our audience, but may not be making headline news,” she added.

Topics explored in each episode include:

"The Democratic National Convention"—airs Sept. 2 and will include highlights from the DNC with daily online videos and blog posts from inside, and outside, the convention hall.

"The Republican National Convention" – airs September 9 and will feature highlights from St. Paul, Minnesota and also include daily online videos and blog posts from inside, and outside, the convention hall.

"The Conventions: Partying With the Parties”—the half-hour special airs September 16 and will provide a thorough review of key moments from Democratic and Republican conventions, including interviews with party insiders, protestors outside, voters and pundits about the event.

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”—airs September 23 and IFC News will check in with the brave souls who have, or are currently, running against all odds as third party candidates. 

"The Rise of the Independent"—airs September 30 when IFC News expounds on the discussion of the electoral map with an overview of how independent voters have become the key demographic in this election and where that has led the campaigns and the polls.  

"Band on the Run"—scheduled for broadcast sometime in October will include IFC News hosts Will and Sarah traveling with both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, offering an insider's view of the campaign machinery at work. 

IFC News election coverage will air Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET 


Politico, 7/24/08 -- TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

Click here to view IFC's 2008 Uncut Special: America's Next Top Candidate.


Wilshire & Washington, 1/30/08 -- A NEW BRAND OF POLITICS

By Ted Johnson

The ad looks like yet another effort to get 20-somethings out to vote: Slacking on a couch, a college-age guy chews on a piece of pizza and motions to a friend to take a look at his laptop.

“Check this out,” he says. “Look at all these presidential candidates talking about change. They are going to change this, change that. You know what I’d like? A little extra change in my pocket.”

“I hear you,” his friend says. “I may just sit this election out.”

“Oh, come on, man, you’ve got a voice. Go use it. You can change history if you just vote.”

“You’re right. I’m voting,” the friend agrees. “How about sharing a slice of pizza for a change?”

Yes, this ad is not a PSA but a promotion for Pizza Hut — and all the better if it does get out the vote.

The presidential election may be a historic moment, but it’s also certain to be a marketing opportunity.

With signs of unprecedented voter interest in the race, companies are jumping on the bandwagon, tying themselves to the election through 30-second spots, online surveys, expert polling, even their own political coverage.

The result is a sometimes odd mix of the trivial and the serious.

IFC, also known as the Independent Film Channel, is even using the election to enhance its branding.

It has created a two-reporter news unit that has been covering the caucuses and primaries, in addition to polling on such overlooked election issues as the death penalty.

The same goes for the cable channel Nickelodeon, which has launched a series of election-year news specials with Linda Ellerbee.

Some 80,000 kids — we assume — participated in an online primary poll to pick a nominee from each party.

Oddly enough, the winners were the oldest contender, John McCain, and the youngest, Barack Obama.

Madison Avenue wizards are not shy about wading into the otherwise bleak waters of a looming recession.

Pizza Hut needed a way to promote a nationwide rollout of affordable pizzas.

All of the presidential candidates were talking about the faltering economy.

And the electorate was starting to tune in in record numbers to the presidential debates.

“Obviously, with the possibility of a recession, the candidates have been talking about the economy a lot, and we thought, ‘We have got this great solution,’” says company spokesman Chris Fuller.

“We had a brainstorming session where we got our ad minds together and came up with the snippets of the candidates.”

The initial result was an irreverent spot that runs through snippets of each candidate at the debates.

A narrator asks, “Are people seeing lower prices now?”

Then we see Dennis J. Kucinich, saying, “More people in this country have seen UFOs ... ” Then the word “Confused?” comes on screen before the Pizza Hut meat-covered pizza choice appears.

The spot, which started airing just before the Iowa caucus, drew the ire of Kucinich supporters, some of whom vowed to boycott the chain. (For one, Kucinich is a vegan.)

“We do know that out of this field, someone is going to be president,” Fuller said. “We are sensitive to that.”

Apparently, the ad didn’t help Kucinich, who dropped his long-shot bid for the presidency on Jan. 24.

It’s also nothing new: Going back to the 1940s, stores boasted of Election Day sales.

In 1976, as Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford faced one another in the election, kids flooded General Mills with mail-in votes to allow the Trix rabbit a bowl of cereal.

He had to wait until the 1980 election to get another.

What is different is the anticipation that this election will bring a groundswell of younger voters — as has been proven in the early caucuses and primaries.

“That is not an opportunity they are going to pass up,” says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, a research consulting firm based in New York.

“You are dealing with what we call the bionic consumers of the 21st century,” he says.

“This is a generation that is hot-wired to the Internet. They are just more knowledgeable about how to get information.

“They are more difficult to get engaged than in previous generations, so marketers have their radar out, looking for an opportunity.”

There’s the obvious: MySpace, YouTube and Facebook, which have extended their brands into presidential debates and forums.

Less apparent is IFC, which has been looking to capitalize on the word “independent” — the idea that the channel is about much more than independent film but is the “voice of independent culture.”

So it didn’t seem like too great a leap to think that the cable channel would capitalize on the coming presidential contest with election reports, weekly news updates, news specials, polls and blogging.

Two documentary filmmakers, Will Rabbe and Sarah Scully, serve as correspondents for political coverage that “doesn’t fall into the extremes of the political process,” says IFC General Manager Evan Shapiro.

The idea was to serve the “independent mind-set and give them a true, nonfiltered view of the process.”

For example, another reporter for its IFC news unit, Matt Singer, who looked as if he stepped right out of the Sundance Film Festival, reported on the Supreme Court hearings on lethal injection, an issue that isn’t getting as much coverage in mainstream media.

The network also commissioned E-Poll Market Research for a survey that found wide support for the death penalty.

It also asked about seeming contradictions — like whether it makes sense to be anti-abortion and pro-death-penalty.

On the trail, it has tried to dig in to topics such as why John McCain suddenly leapt ahead in the early states.

“Ron Paul is getting a lot of attention,” Shapiro says. “To our people, he is a folk hero.”

And should Michael Bloomberg wage an independent bid for the White House, there would be extensive coverage — perhaps the ultimate in branding by extension.

That makes sense. Less so was the effort by Fantastic Sams to get into the electoral action.

Several weeks ago, reporters were inundated with e-mails offering up the company’s lead stylist, Martha Clemence, to be interviewed about the “Hillary do,” a follow-up to an earlier pitch offering comment on Mitt Romney and presidential hair.

Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic couldn’t resist poking fun at the press release in a blog post.

Less than 90 minutes later, and after a few more snarky comments from readers, he received a short comment from a “Martha Clemence”: “Mission accomplished.”

Ted Johnson is managing editor of Variety and author of the blog Wilshire & Washington.





By Rory L. Aronsky

Amidst all the canned speeches, the hard campaigning in numerous states, and the constant need to try to attract the “undecideds”, it’s nice to know that there are people like Vermin Supreme who really care about the important issues that bear down upon our nation, such as funding the necessary time travel research in order to go back in time and kill the baby Hitler. Supreme may be only one of thousands of people who descend upon New Hampshire every four years for their very important presidential primary, but he’s undoubtedly the most unique, wearing a boot on top of his head, decked out in what could easily be considered a style that’s only his, and constantly campaigning for himself in a refreshing and very different manner from the major candidates that have their major speeches planned for them. 

 “Winning New Hampshire” takes a look at the most recent primary, January of this year, but for the first couple of minutes, countless people constantly crow about the importance of New Hampshire. A Fox News correspondent mentions that no one’s been the Democratic or Republican nominee for President without coming in first or second in New Hampshire. And this goes on and on for a little bit and it’s remarkable to see the level of enthusiasm many people have for being at this place at this time. Another interviewee mentions that voters will go to see a candidate more than once because they’re comparison shopping and that is so true, except it’s a more careful form of shopping. It’s necessary to find a person whose ideals match yours or are as close to yours as possible, who believes in some of the same things you do. The thing is that if you help vote in a candidate who really screws things up, it’s harder to try to return/exchange/recall him than it is to return a faulty coffee maker. And therein lies much of the documentary, where there’s many glimpses at the on-going campaigns in New Hampshire, though it becomes very Kerry-heavy. There could be two reasons for this. One, the filmmakers liked Kerry from the get-go even before the Iowa caucus, and two, they decided that Kerry should be followed and examined closely due to his unexpected win at the debate in Iowa. 

 Unsure voters will no doubt be appreciative of much of time spent with Kerry, as we get to a point near the election where everything is really heating up, where both candidates are campaigning aggressively to try to suck up votes into their political vacuum bags. It’s crunch time now. And that brings up another point. Once you decide to run for President, it’s goodbye to any full night’s sleep. I thought I’d hate going back to college because of losing many hours of sleep, but I’d hate running for President even more. Watch John Kerry in “Winning New Hampshire” and think of all that he’s done since January, shaking hands, appearing at rallies, doing his best to sway voters, it’s remarkable not only for him, but for any candidate because you’ve got to appear tireless, ready to take on the most well-known job in the United States if you’re elected. 

 “Winning New Hampshire” properly covers all the bases, from the media, to the campaign workers, to the young voters who’ve gotten up and realized that they have to do something for their country. It’s solid work in a 48-minute package, and a perfect documentary for our current time. Things are going to get tough, discussions amongst many are going to become even more heated as election time nears, but it’s also nice to know that there are people like Vermin Supreme, who are able to have some fun with the political system. He actually paid the grand to put himself on that primary ballot and there were probably a few votes thrown his way. Anyone who wears a boot on their head  deserves that.



News - October 18, 2004

By JODY RECORD, Union Leader Correspondent

PORTSMOUTH — There is one line in the documentary “Winning New Hampshire, A Portrait of the 2004 Democratic Primary” that captures the very essence of the first-in-the-nation primary.

 It goes something like this: no one in New Hampshire votes for somebody they haven’t met.

 If filmmakers Will Rabbe, Aram Fisher and Mark Lynch had only wanted to give Granite Staters an up-close-and-personal glimpse into the political process, they might have stopped there, but they didn’t. And that’s a good thing for the rest of the nation who might not understand just what all the hype is about.

 The short film that debuted at the Music Hall last night as part of the Fourth Annual New Hampshire Film Expo captured it all: Retired Army General Wesley Clark doing jumping jacks with basketball students; Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman telling a group of supporters polls don’t matter in New Hampshire and then noting, as a matter of record, that his numbers were up; Sen. John Kerry’s stepsons doing dead-on impersonations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush and a certain movie star turned governor.

 Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and vice-presidential challenger Sen. John Edwards are shown in more traditional roles, pressing palms, signing autographs and highlighting the differences between their ideas and those of the other candidates.

 But primarily-no pun intended — “Winning New Hampshire” shines its light on Kerry because, when the film was first started, he was tanking in New Hampshire

 “I thought we’d have the best chance of covering him; getting access to him,” Rabbe said last night after the documentary had been shown.

 But providing a glimpse of the uniquely New Hampshire process required following the other candidates as well, Rabbe said.

 The Boston University graduates opted to make a film of the New Hampshire primary because of their shared interest in politics. The 45-minute flick is shot in quick jerky motions, as though the person holding the camera was caught in the media jostling that is an innate part of campaign coverage.

 “We used a lot of really tight close-ups,” Rabbe said. “And shots of people’s feet. It’s what people don’t usually see. It’s like being on the outside looking in.”

 The documentary opens with a selection of newspaper headlines, most notably The Union Leader and the Boston Globe. Scene changes are marked through quotes from past Presidents, including John Quincy Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 Throughout the film there are numerous references to the historical significance of the New Hampshire primary, with Sen. Ted Kennedy noting the Granite State was the first campaign stop for John F. Kennedy when he was seeking the presidency.

 Secretary of State Bill Gardner points out, among other things, that the “unique political culture makes a difference here.”

 Portsmouth residents Noelle and Kit Clews called some of the film’s footage “absolutely fascinating.”

 “What really interested me the most was to hear Howard Dean had spread his money around the country and John Kerry knew to concentrate on Iowa and New Hampshire,” Noelle Clews said.

 Of the documentary itself, she said, “I think it really represents the process quite accurately. It’s wonderful.”

 Kit Clews said he “loved it.”

 “I particularly loved the line that nobody in New Hampshire votes for someone they haven’t met because that’s how it is,” Kit Clews said. “When we’re abroad and we talk about what it’s like in New Hampshire (politically), peoples’ jaws drop.” 



By JERRY MILLER, Union Leader Correspondent

News - October 12, 2004

PORTSMOUTH — At 22, Will Rabbe has already realized a dream.

 The recent Boston University graduate and filmmaker will have his first film debuted at the New Hampshire Film Expo next weekend in the Port City.

 "Winning New Hampshire," a 45-minute documentary produced by Rabbe and two university classmates, Aram Fisher and Mark Lynch, is a look at the most recent New Hampshire Presidential Primary and John Kerry's victory. 

 The film will roll Sunday at 5 p.m. at Portsmouth Music Hall.

  Nearly two dozen political documentaries were made last summer; "Winning New Hampshire" was made by the youngest team of filmmakers.

  "It's a great product. It highlights a time of history. People didn't know John Kerry would turn it around and become the Democratic nominee," Rabbe said during an interview last week from his home in New York state.

  "It can be seen as almost a tribute to the New Hampshire Primary," Rabbe said of his labor of love. "We found people there take their politics very seriously."

  Characterizing the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary as a "political carnival" of sorts, Rabbe said among the things that make it unique is that for a relatively small entry fee, anyone can participate.

  "It really is the be-all and end-all" for most of the field, he said.

  Rabbe said he opted to target Kerry because "I knew him the best and felt he would be the most interesting of all the candidates to follow."

  But, Rabbe said, it was also important to "hedge my bets," so he ended up trailing not only Kerry but also the campaigns of Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark.

  In the end, it was Kerry who emerged the winner.

  Despite producing the film on less than a shoestring budget — Rabbe declined to say how much was spent — the filmmakers were able to make their way to Iowa for some footage, including the candidates squaring off in debate.

  Rabbe said, "We set the scene (for New Hampshire) through the Iowa debate . . . everybody attacked Dean."

  About the cost of the project, Rabbe said, "We're college students. We didn't have a tremendous amount of money. We had to be extremely resourceful."

  It meant begging and borrowing equipment; that proved difficult. Rabbe said the trio approached the head of BU's film department to borrow gear. "He laughed at us and said, 'I'm sorry guys; you have the wrong candidate. He was obviously a Dean supporter."

  It was an editing professor who signed off on cameras, microphones and the host of other equipment needed to make the movie.

  "It was a blank check for equipment," a figure Rabbe put at $10,000.

  Rabbe said what impressed him most about politics New Hampshire-style was not only the grassroots nature of the campaigns but also the number of 18- to 25-year-olds who dropped out of their normal lives to stuff envelopes, hold signs and do what it takes to run a campaign.

  "It was a phenomenon, and it was common to all the candidates," he said.

  "The role of youth in a grassroots campaign is vital. It's one of the things the film highlights," he said. "The youth vote is critical to the campaigns of Kerry and President Bush.

  "I believe this is the demographic that will show the greatest turnout" in this election, Rabbe said of young voters, even though in past elections, fewer young voters have turned out than any other demographic.

  The New Hampshire Film Exposition is the first of many film festivals Rabbe hopes to participate in. Outside New Hampshire, the film will be shown at the "Sometime In October Film Festival" Oct. 16 to 19 in Wilmington, Del., and at the International Student Film Festival Nov. 3 in Hollywood.

 The trio hope the exposure will lead to a distribution arrangement after the election, especially if Kerry defeats Bush.

 "We've already gotten some good offers," Rabbe said.

For more information about the New Hampshire Film Expo, go to The "Winning New Hampshire" Web site is


Fosters Daily Democrat, 10/19/04 -- PRIMARY FILM

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A documentary film on New Hampshire’s presidential primary opened in Portsmouth, "Winning New Hampshire — A Portrait of the 2004 Democratic Primary" debuted Sunday night as part of the Fourth Annual New Hampshire Film Expo. The filmmakers are Boston University graduates.

It shows moments such as retired Gen. Wesley Clark doing jumping jacks with basketball students and Sen. John Kerry’s stepsons impersonating President Bush, former President Bill Clinton and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But it mostly focuses Kerry because his campaign in New Hampshire was tanking and the filmmakers thought they’d have the best access to him.

In a last-minute turnaround, Kerry captured New Hampshire and went on to win the Democratic presidential nomination.