President Gerald Ford is sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, while First Lady Betty Ford looks on. Photo via fb.com
Gerald Ford’s legacy as the 38th president is getting a movie deal.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and the Peter F. Secchia Family of Grand Rapids said last week that they have commissioned a new documentary film about Ford’s life and presidency.
The documentary, which will feature “never-before-seen archival materials” and “intimate interviews” with prominent public leaders, historians and members and friends of the Ford family, will be written and produced by award-winning producers Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance of New York-based Ark Media.
Work on the project began in March and is expected to be completed some time this fall.
A release date will be announced once distribution and broadcast partners have been named.
The documentary is currently untitled.
Ford's "moral compass"
Red Cavaney, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation chairman, said the film will tell the story of President Ford, a man he described as having “a moral compass that guided his every decision.”
“As we all know, not every decision President Ford made was popular at the time, but popularity was not this man's goal,” Cavaney said. “He took pride in the strength of his Midwestern values, which played a significant role in his presidential decision making as well as his life. This film will tell his story, helping people to better understand the 38th president.
“We've made an important decision in selecting Ark Media as our production company, and we're looking forward to seeing their artistic vision and high-quality product take shape in an objective and creative way."
Peter Secchia, former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Italy, added that “while his time in office was relatively short, America's 38th president played a significant role in the healing and revitalization of our country.”
“Our hope is that this documentary will not only reach audiences who are unfamiliar with Gerald Ford's presidency, but also shed a new light on the importance of his character and his decisions that determined our nation's future," Secchia said.
Films by Goodman, Ark Media’s co-founder, have won multiple Emmys and Writers Guild Awards, the duPont-Columbia and Peabody Awards, RFK Journalism Prize and twice been official selections at the Sundance Film Festival.
Goodman recently directed and co-produced the PBS documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” which has been nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary Series.
The documentary was created in partnership with critically acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns.
Durrance, Goodman’s long-time partner, has also won a Peabody, two Emmys, a duPont-Columbia silver baton and an Overseas Press Club award.