Best of Enemies

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USA | 2015 | 87 minutes | Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon

A wonderfully enticing, scintillating and downright fascinating account of the infamous William F. Buckley (“National Republic” editor-in-chief) and Gore Vidal (Leftist polemicist and controversial novelist) live television debates during the 1968 national political conventions that forever changed television news.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

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  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

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AMC Pacific Place

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During the summer of 1968, ABC’s struggling news division, dead last in the ratings, made an audacious programming decision that would change the course of network news coverage forever hiring William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal for a series of televised debates to air during the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Buckley was a leading light of the new conservative movement, the founder and editor-in-chief of its ideological masthead, “National Review.” His polar opposite, Gore Vidal, was a leading leftist polemicist and a bestselling novelist, whose recently published novel “Myra Breckinridge” had become a controversial sensation. Neither man much cared for the other’s reputation or politics, but when they finally met before the cameras this distrust became a vitriolic enmity. Live and unscripted, the pair’s bombastic exchanges, which often degenerated into vicious ad hominem attacks, made for compelling viewing, and the ratings skyrocketed. Co-directed by Robert Gordon and Academy Award®-winner Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet From Stardom, SIFF 2013), Best of Enemies vividly recounts the pair’s debates—a highbrow blood sport that would serve as inspiration for the pundit television of today, influencing such programs as “Crossfire,” “Hardball,” and even “Siskel & Ebert.”

Director Biography
Morgan Neville is an American film director and founder of Tremolo Productions. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he worked for several years as a journalist before moving on to making documentary films about music, art, and cultural subjects. Robert Gordon is a Grammy Award winning author and film producer/director. Most of Gordon’s works are focused on his roots in the American south, exploring the culture, art, and politics of his home region.

Sponsored by The Seattle Times, KOMO-TV, KIRO Radio

  • Director: Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon
  • Principal Cast: Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley Jr., Howard S. Smith, Kelsey Grammer, John Lithgow
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 87 minutes
  • Producer: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville
  • Cinematographers: David Leonard
  • Editors: Aaron Wickenden, Eileen Meyer
  • Music: Jonathan Kirkscey
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: NEVILLE: Twenty Feet From Stardom (Doc, 2013), Johnny Cash’s America (Doc, 2008), The Cool School (Doc, 2008), Shakespeare Was a Big, George Jones Fan (Doc, 2005), Shotgun Freeway (Doc, 1995) GORDON: Johnny Cash’s America (Doc, 2008), Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan (Doc, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Submarine Entertainment