Filmmaker Interview

Taking on the Kennedys filmmaker, Joshua Seftel

POV: How did you get the idea to do this film?

Joshua Seftel: I knew Kevin Vigilante from my time in Romania, because he had done some work over there too. When I heard that he was running for office I thought, "Oh this will be great, maybe I can help him out." So I called him up and he said, "Josh, do you realize I'm a Republican?" and I was shocked because I'm a Democrat and I always assumed he was a Democrat. So I told him I didn't feel comfortable working on his campaign, but that I would be interested in filming him and documenting his experience... and that's how the idea of the film started.

POV: What was it like to follow a story like this for so long?

Seftel: It was so grueling to make this film. First of all I had to drive to Rhode Island every day for the duration of the campaign. One time I did the math and I figured out that I drove something like fifteen thousand miles in six months. I ended up shooting two hundred hours of footage, which is an ungodly amount of footage. If you watched full time, eight hours a day, it would take you almost a month to watch all that footage, just to watch it once.

POV: Were you surprised by the success of this film?

Seftel: The thing about this film was that I didn't know what was going to happen. I just filmed it for six months but I didn't know who was going to win; I didn't even know if it was going to be an interesting race. So I was taking a pretty big chance. But the thing I did know is that there are two things that Americans love: one is the underdog, the Rocky-like figure of Kevin Vigilante, the other is the closest thing we have to American royalty, which is the Kennedy family. And these two forces were clashing with the backdrop of Rhode Island politics, which is some of the most colorful politics that we have in America.