Sunday, September 26th


Hickory Community Theatre

Directed by Jeff Daniels

THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE meets THE ATOMIC CAFE in this archive-based feature documentary that views the dramatic climax of the Cold War through the lens of a commercial television network, as it narrowly succeeds in producing America’s most watched, most controversial made-for-TV-movie, THE DAY AFTER (1983).

This film addresses a universal challenge – grasping how vast global issues such as climate change, the refugee crisis and in this case nuclear proliferation affect us personally. We have much to learn from how this television network took a subject so terrifying, so unpalatable and turned it into prime-time family viewing. With irreverent humor and sobering apocalyptic vision, this film reveals how a commercial broadcaster seized a moment of unprecedented television viewership, made an emotional connection with an audience of over 100 million and forced an urgent conversation with the US President on his policy towards nuclear proliferation.

Strong plot points are illustrated through immersive archive and contemporary interviews with the larger than life subjects who were there – a TV-executive with unprecedented vision aspiring to produce a politically controversial movie, a headstrong Hollywood director aiming to unseat a president, a family- friendly commercial network struggling to think out of its conservative box, an actor-turned-president who is both moved and threatened by this TV-movie, and a White House debating the merits and messaging of a public response.

Multi-award winner, Jeff Daniels has worked as a writer/director/producer on each of his last three documentaries. His most recent TV-hour documentary FAIR GAME (SBS 2017) sparked a nationwide discussion on racism in Australian sporting culture. His last archive-based feature documentary MOTHER WITH A GUN (Netflix 2017) won the award for best Australian documentary at the Antenna Film Festival last year and is currently airing internationally on Netflix. His first feature THE 10 CONDITIONS OF LOVE (ABC Australia 2009) made international headlines (New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Guardian, CNN, The Age, The Australian, The New Yorker, China People’s Daily) when its premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival saw the festival’s website hacked and staff threatened by Chinese nationals, and all Chinese films pulled by its government. Shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide, 10 CONDITIONS continues to screen to this day.