Errol Morris’ controversial documentary about former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, American Dharma, has finally found a distributor willing to deal with its toxic subject matter. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the “filmmaker-friendly” distribution company Utopia has acquired distribution rights to Morris’ embattled documentary and will be giving it an awards-qualifying theatrical release.
In the film, which Morris has described as a “horror movie,” the director gives Bannon a slightly freewheeling interview treatment, similar to the approach he took with Robert McNamara in the Academy Award–winning documentary The Fog of War, and later to Donald Rumsfeld in The Unknown Known.
But American Dharma sparked backlash when it premiered last year at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, where Morris was subject to biting criticism for his handling of Bannon, providing him a platform in what Variety called a “toothless bromance.”
Since then, Morris has shuttled the documentary around the festival circuit, showing later in 2018 at TIFF and the New York Film Festival, but struggled to find a U.S. distributor willing to associate itself with the radioactive Bannon. The industry’s hesitation to release the film has been a source of frustration for Morris, who said in a February tweet that he would release the film himself.
Thanks to Utopia, he doesn’t have to. Audiences can soon look forward to debating whether American Dharma is confrontational enough, as Bannon’s loathsomeness comes to a theater near you!