Another of Steve Carlis’ acclaimed successes as executive producer is the 2004 TV documentary Staffers.
Staffers provides unprecedented access to the inner works of the U.S political process. The documentary literally takes you behind the scenes of the 2004 Democratic Primaries… where presidential candidates Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Joe Lieberman, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Kerry fought tooth-and-nail to become the official Democratic presidential candidate for the 2004 United States presidential election.
However, what’s special about Staffers is that it focuses on the daily lives of press secretaries, personal assistants, “body persons,” and low-level personnel supporting the presidential candidates in their campaigns. The documentary goes well beyond what we see in the news, the debates, and poll results… and gives you a privileged view of how a political campaign really operates.
The main protagonists are everyday people who work hard and dedicate their lives to help their candidate win the primaries. For these young men and women, their daily lives become a hectic whirlwind of town meetings, celebrity rallies, handshakes, shouting matches, early plane rides, late nights, and fast food meals.
In Staffers, we get to see the not-so-amazing real faces of politicians, away from the noise and coverage of mainstream media. We see the huge difference between life behind the scenes… and the costly, carefully designed “stagecraft” politicians work so hard to create. We can see how the candidates (and their staffers) react to surprising victories and crushing defeats. We see the small, humanizing moments that happen every day in a political campaign – but that are never shown by the mainstream media.
Steve Carlis was one of the fundamental forces behind this project. His experience as executive producer in the film industry was critical to create a documentary that could effectively show the real behind-the-scenes action of the 2004 Democratic Primaries… and expose the drama and suffering of the small army of people that work hard to help their candidate become the Democratic presidential candidate.