SILHOUETTE CITY Excerpt: Council for National Policy Meeting
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Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 02:30:39 PM EST
We are pleased to welcome Michael W. Wilson as a guest front pager. He is the director of Silhouette City, a highly praised documentary about the farther precincts of the Religious Right. . -- FC

Max Blumenthal and I were recently discussing the vetting of Sarah Palin by the Council for National Policy (read his article here), when he confirmed my suspicion that the footage I shot of a CNP meeting (below) in the Spring of 2006 for Silhouette City is the only-known video documentation of the CNP - a highly-secretive right-wing organization that meets thrice-yearly to bring the various elite factions of the movement together to discuss conservative priorities.

Although they group doesn't publicly announce their meetings ahead of time, I found a Google-cached reference to what was then an upcoming meeting of the CNP on a personal website. This reference was written by a new member (obviously unware of the media blackout policy of the CNP) who subsequently removed the reference a few days after posting it). The video is quite brief: I arrived at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in McLean, VA in corporate attire, asked for the CNP meeting, was told the floor they occupied, entered the meeting and was immediately cornered by young volunteers "congratulating" me on landing a spot on the list. When it became apparent that I wasn't on the list and wanted to know who was, I was removed from the meeting. The resulting documentation is a frustrated attempt to learn more "facts", but the character of the group comes through pretty clearly...

When I interviewed Tim Lahaye at his Palm Springs book-signing for Kingdom Come, the final book in the Left Behind series (notably, several titles in the series were marketed as "the final book"...), he was very open about the goals of the group and said that he still tried to make at least two of the three annual meetings. He  confirmed that he was the first president of the CNP and said that their biggest accomplishment was to establish a context for right-wing conviviality - an atmosphere that allowed the various members of the movement to work beyond "fractious" behavior and to become "friends".  He later expressed admiration for my filmmaking aspirations - saying that film was his "first love" and, as a cinephile, he was mortified at the low production values and meager box office returns of Cloud Ten's treatment of his books. He complained that "they promised me a Hollywood-quality treatment and in many reviews we only got one-star!" He also told me of his (then) on-going legal wrangling with the studio and of his plans to re-make the films himself. According to The Christian Post, he settled the nine-year-old dispute in August, and will soon begin the re-makes.

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