26/10/2018 – Our New President by director Maxim Pozdorovkin investigates the preparation of the electoral campaign and the first year of Donald Trump’s mandate via a series of fake news items linked to Russian propaganda. The documentary was screened on Friday 26th October in the Time of History section at the 63rd Valladolid International Film Festival.
The idea emerged two weeks after Trump was elected as president of the USA. A friend of the director returned to Russia after spending several days in the United States. In Russia, everyone was excited and calling Trump “our president”. Maxim Pozdorovkin initially aimed to use the documentary to argue that the Russian government, under Vladimir Putin, intended to put an end to the Obama era by hindering the election of the Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton. However, as the director explained, his interest lay in “seeing the potential of propaganda in the Russian media and how it has been used by the various presidents”.
During his visit to Valladolid, the director said that Trump followers might perceive this type of documentary as corrosive propaganda, as something negative. Meanwhile, in Russia the situation is different as the Russians see it as more appropriate. “I think that the method of confusing people in the present day has changed, as it is not so much misinformation as disorientating people and creating doubt”, the Russian director explained in his discussion with the festival audience. He also confessed that he had doubts about how to make a documentary without it seeming like propaganda, but seeing the scenes and declarations he said it appeared “obvious that it is propaganda”.
Maxim Pozdorovkin confessed that he did not know how the documentary would be received when he presents it at a festival in Moscow. Although it hasn’t been screened yet, “several clips have been shared on Facebook and there are already thousands of people showing their hatred in one way or another”.
Before the screening, the short film Sparviddshinder (The Traffic Separating Device) was shown, and attended by director Johan Palmgren. The director confessed that he had chosen the site which appears in the film over others because “it is in the centre, elderly people who have driven their whole lives continue to do so there, the GPS system isn’t up-to-date and if you’re a tourist and you don’t understand Swedish then you find it difficult to navigate these devices”. He also chose the area because it caused a lot of punctures and damage to cars.