HBO’s By The People: The Election of Barack Obama

bythepeopleelectionpremiere_novideoHBO—Nearly a year before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency on Feb. 10, 2007, filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams began to roll cameras on the young senator. Over the next 19 months, they found themselves traveling all across the country, chronicling the daily ups and downs of the campaign trail as experienced by Obama, his family, his staff and volunteers. While Obama’s meteoric rise to the White House has been well documented in the press, few have witnessed the behind-the- scenes story of the passionate campaigners who helped a young African-American freshman senator attain the nation’s highest office.

Producer/Actor Edward Norton

Producer/Actor Edward Norton

Rice conceived the idea of making a documentary about Obama long before the Illinois Senator announced his decision to run for president. Inspired by his oratorical skills and star appeal at the 2004 Democratic Convention, she set out to film his political career in 2006. Rice approached documentary producer Sams, who joined to co-direct and actor Edward Norton’s production company, Class 5, agreed to produce the project. After Norton approached Obama’s team with the idea, the senator agreed to grant the filmmakers what turned out to be unprecedented and exclusive access.

Initially, it wasn’t even about a presidential campaign; the idea was simply to examine the political experience of a promising young politician of our generation,” says Norton, a two-time Oscar® nominee.

For Rice, the project had an even more personal dimension. She lost her older brother in the Sept. 11 attacks on the Twin Towers – an event that galvanized her political awakening. Then she saw Obama’s 2004 convention speech on TV. Rice recalls, “That’s when the idea of making a political documentary came into my mind.”

Notes Sams, “It was clear that Obama was inspiring people to think differently about politics. We wanted to explore his impact and see where it would take both him and the country.”

From this unique vantage point, By The People captures the boundless fervor of the campaign’s volunteers, as well as the extraordinary skill and technical sophistication of its organizers. “I think people will look back on this campaign as one that was conducted with a real understanding of communication and organizing tools that were singular to that moment,” says Norton. “It was an historic new read on how you could do an end run around conventional political methodology and strategies.”

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Premieres November 3 at 9pm ET

By The People: The Election of Barack Obama is a moving record of the Obama campaign’s history-making odyssey to the White House. Interwoven with the drama of the campaign is never-before-seen footage of Obama behind the scenes, as well as interviews and candid moments with wife Michelle Obama, the couple’s young daughters, Malia and Sasha, and senior campaign staff, volunteers, reporters, supporters and opponents. Watch the trailer.


Filed under Change, Culture, Democrats, History, Media and Entertainment, Movies, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, TV Shows, Uncategorized

17 responses to “HBO’s By The People: The Election of Barack Obama

  1. audiegrl

    That little boy Lorenzo is cute as a bug. I feel bad for him, I had some callers like that too. 😉

  2. SouthernGirl2

    This gives me chills all over again. The excitement was unreal. God bless our President!

  3. SouthernGirl2

    We would appreciate it if you would add to your blog roll and vice versa!

    Thank You, Kindly!

  4. SouthernGirl2

    Thank You for adding us. We’re just getting started and we will add you also.

    The little boy was too cute and so patient but so polite. lol

    Who was the guy jumping up & down yelling…Yeah?!

    Sasha Obama…”Hi daddy”! Just too sweet!

    • audiegrl

      hey s-girl,

      we just started on 8/20, so we are very new too.

      Right now, its just a countdown to November 3rd. 🙂

      • SouthernGirl2

        Right there with you, Audiegrl!

        Can you believe it’s going to be a year already? Wow! I remember the tears, tears, tears!
        It was mind-blowing!

        You should check out the article Carolinagirl wrote about “The President Is Not Your Boyfriend”! It is so on point but will make a person laugh!

  5. SouthernGirl2

    Hi Audiegrl,

    Thanks for the video. Was that one brother a Muslim? Nation of Islam? LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Too funny for words!

    Oh Lord, you made me laugh so hard! He went off there for second, didn’t he? Tired of this mess!!!! lol

    Thank You, I did appreciate it!

  6. SouthernGirl2


    You know you’re wrong to send me that video and make me laugh that hard! Some of it is too weird, don’t you think? Hawaii? The question about his mother? It’s bizzare indeed!

    Thanks again!

  7. Hey Audiegrl & 44Diaries Fam,

    This is a tight Halloween Site Revamp! Love the pop-up vampire too!

    I can’t wait to see the HBO documentary either…been anticipating it since it was first announced.

    Happy Halloween!


    • audiegrl

      Thanks Webb and Happy Halloween! The Vampire is one of Geo’s creations. We had a ton of fun with this. 🙂

      Did you have a good birthday?

      • I’m blown away by the frontpage! You all actually have my favorite series (as of late–when LOST is not on the air)…TruBLOOD.

        It was a Great B-Day–Thanks for the shout-out!

        • audiegrl

          I couldn’t leave out my True Blood! I was worried at first, the books were wonderful, but sometimes when they move it to the screen something gets lost in the translation. But Alan Ball ended up taking the books, and adding something extra to them. I am so glad he kept LaFayette, he is one of my favorite characters. 🙂

  8. shanti2

    Happy BOOWEEN, Audiegrl.

    I too am looking so forward to seeing the Obama documentary.

    Love, love, love your site!

  9. This site looks fantastic!!

    I didn’t even know that Edward Norton produced the documentary for HBO.

    I don’t have cable, but can’t wait to see if it’s streaming online.

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