Pursuit of the Truth: Series Premiere Recap

by Wilson Garrett

Watch the full episode of Pursuit of The Truth ON DEMAND with a subscription to TheBlaze TV PLUS!

“The documentary film is one of the most powerful and effective vehicles for human expression ever invented. For over 100 years documentary films have given us a glimpse into worlds we wouldn’t otherwise see. They’ve brought to life serious issues that concern humanity and the world as a whole. And they’ve been an important catalyst for change.”

No pressure there, right guys?

On Thursday, TheBlaze debuted Pursuit of The Truth, a new reality series from Executive Producers Vince Vaughn and Glenn Beck. Focused on finding the next great documentary and documentary filmmaker, Pursuit of The Truth follows contestants as they pitch their ideas and are selected to compete with one another to prove they have storytelling ability and the filmmaking skills to turn their dream into a reality.

On the series premiere, audiences were introduced to several contestants – some of who clearly had what it takes,  and a few whose ideas were just a little bit out there (ok, very out there).

One of the most impressive pitches came from Joshua Ligairi, who pitched his idea for “Plan 241”, a documentary about an Alaskan militia leader who gained a cult-like following that were arrested by the FBI for some very questionable rhetoric and the belief that they would commit a crime, even though they didn’t actually do anything.

Josh showed a lot of energy and enthusiasm during his presentation, and the judges were clearly impressed with his resume and thought his concept had a lot of potential. However, his documentary really was dependent on one thing that they weren’t quite sure he could deliver on: access to the people who had been incarcerated. With thousands of applicants and hundreds of people to interview, will the judges decide to let Josh in with that huge question mark on his project?

Watch his pitch and the judges reaction below:

Chris Bell was another standout with a solid background in filmmaking. The man behind the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Bell wants to move from tackling steroids to taking on one of the biggest, and most unspoken, health threats in the world today: prescription drugs. While America is engaged in a war on drugs, there is a lack of awareness of addiction to legal prescription drugs.

The project is a personal one, as Bell’s own brother passed away due to his addiction to prescription drugs.

The filmmakers really liked Bell, citing that he had proven skills and knew how to pitch a compelling story. Chalfen and Hatkoff knew that even without the competition this film would get made, but they wondered if Bell would be able to make it a “great” film that went above and beyond, or would it simply end up being a good film.

Bell also had a pretty creative submission video, dressing up as Hulk Hogan:

And (I think) Clark Kent?

While Josh and Chris may have had the skills, no one had more passion than Jon Eric Anderson. Jon pitched the story of Rodney Nelson and the South Shore Drill Team, who found out that his best friend was killed at the same time he was winning a major competition. Jon proposed focusing on how Rodney and his team came from one of the most deadly neighborhoods in America, yet were able to overcome their environment to excel.

Why does Jon feel like Rodney Nelson’s story is one that needs to be told? Watch his pitch and personal confession to the judges below:

Who would have thought that someone would reveal their past as a low-bottom alcoholic to not only three judges, but the world as well, in order to show the passion they have for their story?

While all the judges were impressed by his passion, Peter Billingsley and Daniel Chalfen were unsure whether Jon would be able to get the pieces he needed, including archival footage of Rodney’s competition, in order to make a compelling documentary. Hatkoff, clearly the champion of the underdogs of the competition, was impressed by Jon’s passion and said he would fight for his documentary.

The most unusual concept came from Angela Hefner, who pitched “Growing Temptations” which focuses on the dangers of homegrown gardening. Hefner believes that compost can have damaging effects on the human body not unlike tobacco.

When the judges started to question Hefner, her idea seemed to fall apart before our very eyes. Is there a scientific foundation for this? No. Who would you interview? I would explain to people and they would nod their head “Yes”. 

As Chalfen put it: I don’t even care about a hook, or proof, or science. I care about story – and she’s got no story.

Last up was John Bartosz, whose idea “Gold in September” would seek to tell the story of a deadly childhood illness. The story would focus on the story of Bartosz’s daughter Annie who would be on a mission to raise awareness on childhood cancer.

Bartosz was by far the most passionate presenter, and his pitch concluded with an emotional call to remember the thirty kids who die every week from childhood cancer.

The judges were moved by his story, and believe that Bartosz is so committed to this project that he will find a way to raise awareness on this issue no matter what, but they weren’t sure if it worked as the “next great documentary”.

Next week: The search for the next great documentary film continues in New York and Dallas as more contestants bring their ideas to the judges.

Meet the Judges:

Craig Hatkoff is a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival along with his wife Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro. The largest film festival in North America, the festival was created immediately following the events of September 11th to help revitalize lower Manhattan. In 2010, Craig created and curates the annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards in collaboration with Professor Clayton Christensen, with whom he is Co-founder of the Disruptor Foundation. Craig is Chairman of Turtle Pond Publications LLC, a private entertainment and media based company.

Peter Billingsley is an Emmy and Tony nominated producer and a partner at Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Productions based in Los Angeles, CA.  He has executive produced the documentaries Art of Conflict and Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland.  Other credits include directing the blockbuster hit Couples Retreat, executive producing Iron Man, Four Christmases, The Break-Up, and the Emmy nominated television show Dinner for Five.  He currently is an executive producer on the TBS hit sitcom Sullivan & Son  which is entering its third season, and is preparing to direct the feature film Term Life  film for Universal Pictures.  Billingsley is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Daniel J. Chalfen is a world-renowned producer and documentary filmmaker. He is the co-founder of Naked Edge Films. His recent credits include “State 194” for Participant Media; "The Revisionaries" and “Donor Unknown” for PBS’ Independent Lens; Emmy-nominated “War Don Don” and Oscar short-listed “39 Pounds of Love” for HBO; and “Gone” for Discovery ID. Other credits include the Sarah Jessica Parker Executive Produced “Pretty Old,” the Danny Glover Executive Produced "The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan," “Code of the West,” “Budrus,” and "Meeting Resistance." Chalfen’s forthcoming films include Academy Award nominated director James Spione’s “Silenced,” Gabriel London’s “The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest,” and Meghan O’Hara & Mike Attie’s “In Country.” Chalfen is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and a Founding Member of the DCTV Cinema Advisory Council.

 

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck blasted the Democrats — and anyone else on the left — who have been so eager to open our southern U.S. border for the past several months, but also willing to turn a blind eye to the Cuban people in need of help today.

"While we are welcoming people from any country, all over the world, without any kind of information, and setting them into our country, putting them on American planes paid for by American taxpayers," Glenn began. "And our Coast Guard Cutters are turning these [Cuban] people away. Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Glenn said that he's "sick and tired" of hearing about "brave" leftist activists like Colin Kaepernick, who protest the America flag while wearing Che Guevara and Fidel Castro t-shirts. Meanwhile, the Cuban people are risking their lives by taking to the sea to escape their oppressive regime and come to America.

"Anybody who glorifies Che doesn't know their ass from their elbow. You can't call them a human rights activist. You're protesting the American flag, because you so deeply believe in the right to be free? And yet, you wear a Che T-shirt?" Glenn said.

Glenn went on to argue that, even though the left has "bastardized" the meaning of our country, he still believes America is the best nation on Earth. In fact, he'd give up his citizenship "in a heartbeat" if another country could prove to be better, more noble, and more free. But no other nation exists like ours, he said, which is why it's so imperative we fight for freedom here, in Cuba, and around the world.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain:

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There's a new "reality" spreading, and the mere act of questioning it has become incredibly dangerous, Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Abigail Shrier told Glenn on the most recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast."

Shrier's book, "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," exposes the radical gender activism that — like critical race theory — has overtaken our children's schools and culture. But even worse, she warned, it could end your parental rights for good.

Shrier made it clear she is by no means "anti-trans," but simply speaking up against the extremes of this new "reality" has made her enemy No. 1 to many activists. Her book has been bashed so hard by the Left that Target has stopped selling it twice, Amazon once banned ads for it, and the American Booksellers Association even called sending it to others "a serious, violent incident."

In the clip below, Shrier explained why she believes "there may be no hope for the public school system."

"You have teachers behaving like activists across the country who have no interest in actually teaching. They believe their job is to remake your child," she asserted. "We're seeing so much evidence of that, I think it's fair to say that it may be too deeply rooted in the ideology being taught in public school. I'm not sure that the public school system is redeemable at this point."

Watch the video clip below for more or find the full podcast with Abigail Shrier here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

What is actually in Texas' new GOP-led voting bill? Nearly every Texas House Democrat fled the state to block its passage, calling it racist and oppressive, and President Joe Biden backed them as well.

But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to set the record straight and call out the lies: All of these claims are "completely false." He also explained his promise to "arrest" the Texas House Democrats when they return to the Lone Star State.

"What is in the bill is completely different than what they're saying, what Kamala Harris is saying, what President Biden is saying. What's in the bill actually increases the number of hours that people have to vote in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas, we have at least 12 days of early voting, and we are adding hours to those days. And on top of that, we are giving people time off from work to be able to vote. Bottom line, we're making it easier to vote in the state of Texas," Gov Abbott explained.

"In comparison, Delaware — the state that President Biden votes in — has exactly zero hours of early voting," he added. "That said, there is one thing that we're doing in the state of Texas, and that is we're making sure we tighten the reins on mail-in ballots that can lead to voter fraud. And it's not me saying that. It's a federal judge, appointed by Barack Obama, in Corpus Christi, Texas, who wrote in a legal opinion that voter fraud occurs, quote, in abundance as it concerns mail-in ballots. We know. Texans know. There is fraud in mail-in ballots in the state of Texas. It must be fixed. That's one thing we're trying to do. That being said, all these claims that we're denying people the right to vote and yada, yada, yada, are completely false."

Abbott went on to discuss the much-debated voter ID laws in Texas and to explain why Democrats insist on calling basic voter ID requirements "racist."

"When Democrats do not have truth on their side, they resort to one single word and that is 'racism' ... Texas implemented voter ID almost a decade ago, and when we went through that fight, what word did they use? Racism," he said. "Guess what? After Texas imposed voter ID requirements in the state of Texas, there have been more people voting and more people of color who went to vote. Voting didn't get harder. It got easier and more abundant in the state of Texas. And so, once again, Democrats have absolutely no legal standing, other than to say, 'racism.'"

Glenn asked Gov. Abbott to explain his pledge to "arrest" the Democratic lawmakers that fled once they return to Texas.

"Let me explain how this works. So, whenever there is a break of quorum, which is what is happening now — meaning there is not a sufficient number of people who are showing up to the Texas House of Representatives for the Texas House to engage in business. Whenever there's a quorum break like that, the House issues what's called a 'call on the House.' And when that happens, the sergeant-at-arms is authorized to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to — you can call it arrest, apprehend, whatever you want to call it — any of the members who are not in the Texas House of Representatives and bring them to the Texas House where they will be 'cabined' with no ability to leave the Texas House chamber, without a permission slip from the speaker."

Watch the video clip below for more details:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.