If you had told Greg Whiteley in 2006 that he was going to spend the next six years of his life on the road covering a presidential candidate, he probably would’ve reconsidered the opportunity he had initially pursued so diligently. “I just couldn’t have imagined swallowing up six years of life working on this project,” says the documentary filmmaker who was just coming off making two well-regarded movies in a three-year span. “I showed up on Christmas Eve, met the [Romney] family for the first time and filmed them discussing whether or not [Mitt] should run. And I just didn’t stop filming for six years.”
In Mitt, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday and debuts on Netflix on Jan. 24, Whiteley’s cameras go beyond the campaigns, beyond the strategies, beyond the polls. Viewers barely glimpse Romney’s advisors or television talking heads, and the media-fueled horse-races that are the Republican primaries and general election exist only as a low buzz in the background. Instead, Whiteley is in the family room and hotel rooms of the giant brood of Romneys as they rally around their dad, catching them unguarded at the most crucial moments of the elections: losing to John McCain, the momentum-shifting 2012 debates with President Obama, and the almost-bittersweet final moment of a six-year campaign that came up short. You might not love the Mitt Romney who ran for president, but Whiteley makes it very difficult not to like the man and his family.
“People ask me, ‘How did this happen?’” says Whiteley, “To this day, I can’t tell you. I continue to be surprised by it.” READ FULL STORY