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Filmmaker Spotlights Role of Women in Conservative Movement

Documentarian Stephen Bannon has made a film called “Fire From the Heartland” which chronicles the stories of several women important to the conservative movement.

“No one had ever touched the topic, and in addition, we did it in a way that let the women speak for themselves,” Bannon told Pop Tarts. “I wanted to pick a cross-section of women who would be emblematic – congresswomen, known commentators, and a cross section of Tea Party activists.”

The inspiration for the film came to Bannon, who previously produced "Generation Zero," when Sarah Palin emerged on the national political scene as Jon McCain's vice presidential running mate scene in 2008.

“I noticed there is a new generation of young, female activists who are at the forefront of this rebellion who are inspired by Sarah Palin. I wanted to tell their stories and I wanted to do it in a way that could be linked back to the founders of the country – Abigail Adams, the pioneer women, the frontier women, Clare Boothe Luce, Phyllis Schlafly,” Bannon said. “If you look at the conservative rebellion, it is women that are at the vanguard – not men, and that has never happened before in this country.”

“Fire From the Heartland” features several key female Republican figures, from congresswoman Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Jean Schmidt of Ohio, to prominent political voices Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. But Bannon credits Palin for “re-awakening” the conservative female movement in the United States, and standing tall against what he calls personal attacks brought on by the entertainment community and liberal media.

Hollywood does not understand Middle America and it certainly does not understand, and in fact, despises, the core values of the country. The elite of Hollywood hold it in tremendous disregard. I could not think higher Governor Palin, she is a force of nature and has inspired a generation of women to really get actively involved in politics and more importantly, take their culture back and take their country back,” he said. “I’ve seen it across the country. These women are incredibly inspired, and were not really politically engaged until Sarah Palin came on the scene.”

“Fire From the Heartland” was made without Palin’s involvement, but Bannon hopes she makes her way to a screening over the coming weeks.

“We made this totally independently of any influence so we could tell our story, but I think Governor Palin would love the film, hopefully we’ll get to show it to her,” Bannon said. 

Looking at this year's midterm elections, Bannon predicted Republican gains, but said no real change can come until the Presidential election of 2012. 

“I think (Obama) is going down the path of destroying the Democratic Party because he has driven out the moderates, and we're going to have a huge wave of enthusiasm that brings conservatives back in to at least share power,” he said. “But if anybody thinks that November 2nd is going to change things, they're fooling themselves. It's going to be a nasty, nasty two years until the Presidential election of 2012, because right now, all we're trying to do is really stop his administration in its tracks. We haven't even begun the types of cuts we have to make in federal spending, the types of restructuring we have to do with the federal budget, what we have to do to rebuild our manufacturing base, are so large that people don't realize what's in front of them.” 

"Fire in the Heartland" is available on DVD on October 11.

- Deidre Behar contributed to this report

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