John Ehrlichman, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and Dwight Chapin were three aides of Richard Nixon who worked with him in the White House during his first (relatively successful) and his second (disastrous) periods as President. Each happened to be a keen amateur home movie film-maker.
When the men were indicted for their involvement in the Watergate scandal, the 500 reels of Super 8 colour footage they had shot between them were confiscated and placed in a security vault, to remain there undisturbed and unexamined for almost forty years.
The documentary-maker Penny Lane has had unique access to this rich treasure trove, out of which she has crafted a film which shows Nixon in a new and intimate (but not necessarily more flattering) light. Cleverly editing slices of this home movie footage with sound extracts from the notorious “Nixon tapes” (already in the public domain), she has come up with a document that illuminates the whole extraordinary episode from a fresh and intriguing new vantage point.
Director and Producer Penny Lane has been making award-winning documentaries and essay films since 2002. Her films have screened at Rotterdam, AFI FEST, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and many other venues. She has been awarded grants from Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, LEF Foundation, NYSCA, Experimental Television Center, IFP and the Puffin Foundation. Our Nixon is her first feature documentary, for which she was awarded several grants and a residency at Yaddo. She is a Creative Capital grantee and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012.