Alexandra Pelosi was having one of those days.
She’s still raw from a QAnon maniac’s hammer attack on her father. “I haven’t slept through the night since,” Pelosi admitted.
On a recent morning, she whipped up a Betty Crocker birthday cake, prepared her New York apartment for an invasion of teenage girls, and vacuumed the broken glass from a fallen Christmas tree while fending off a sister who wanted to know why the was included in the new documentary she was producing about her famous mother.
The trailer had just come out.
“I do PR management in my own family,” said a harried Pelosi, as a cheerful “Happy Birthday” banner — hung in honor of her 15-year-old — did its best to lighten things up.
pelosi, the youngest of Nancy and Paul Pelosi’s five children, is a filmmaker who began her career with the cheeky documentary Journeys with George, a true-to-life look at Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. She lived off the campaign charter for months as a producer with camcorders for NBC News. Since then, Pelosi has directed more than a dozen documentaries on topics including child poverty, big money in politics, and the impact of the technology boom on San Francisco, where she was born and raised.
With a camera as her constant companion – and occasionally irritating to those around her – Pelosi filmed thousands of hours of her mother’s public and private moments, household chores and house announcer’s work. The finished product will air Tuesday on HBO.
“This is my view and it’s my film,” Pelosi said, noting that some in her family would have preferred a more reverent look at her seminal parents. She said the spokeswoman — whom she repeatedly referred to, with professional detachment, as “Nancy Pelosi” — was not a particularly collaborative subject.
“If I’ve tried to ask her a question, she never plays with me,” Pelosi said. “She never gave me permission to film. She always said, ‘Why are you filming all this?’ She never got it. So it wasn’t authorized, she never signed a release… She saw the trailer, she said to me, ‘You should take this, this, this.’
“I say, ‘Mom, the trailer is on YouTube,'” Pelosi said, in the tone of an angry offspring around the world.
She noted that the Speaker had no say in the matter.
At 52, Pelosi has her mother’s hummingbird energy, traces of the announcer’s hoarse voice, and a frenzied subway delivery that’s more New York than California. Speaking on Zoom, she wore a purple turtleneck – her signature color – with the fallen Christmas tree and scattered presents right in front of the camera.
Pelosi described her latest project as a happy coincidence that arose out of a 2018 conversation in the HBO cafeteria with Geof Bartz, a frequent collaborator and senior editor for the network’s documentary films. She mentioned her extensive catalog of family photographs, and Bartz agreed to take a look and see if there was anything there.
In November of that year, Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, and Pelosi was installed as speaker for a second historic round. The documentary film The perspective shifted from looking back at Pelosi’s career to a more contemporary account of her struggles with then-President Trump, culminating in the Jan. 6 raid on Congress by insurgents trying to overthrow the 2020 election.
In October, the House committee investigating the failed coup released excerpts from iPhone footage taken by Alexandra Pelosi that day, showing lawmakers fleeing for their lives and desperate for help to put down the insurgency. At one point, an enraged Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to smack Trump, who instigated the violence and blithely watched his marauding supporters on TV.
The tinfoil crowd picked up on Alexandra Pelosi’s presence to somehow prove that the whole thing—the desecration of the Capitol, the attack on democracy—was staged. No surprise. She’s ready, Pelosi said, for that kind of weirdness, as well as efforts to embarrass her mother by turning her work into a mockumentary that emulates the speaker’s life and unflattering times.
“I know Tucker Carlson will pick the dumbest moments and use them for his own political ends,” Pelosi said of the Fox News hate-monger. “And then all his followers will come online and destroy my film to make sure it’s not taken seriously as a documentary. And that’s okay. I’m a big girl, I wear my pants for big girls, I don’t give a fuck.
“What’s important to me,” and here she paused for a few seconds, “is that I don’t want them breaking into my house in the middle of the night and attacking me.”
It wasn’t an idle thought.
Pelosi, who has been targeted with a steady stream of death threats, is now certainly living away from her home. Her teenagers have also received death threats. She described walking down the street with them and being approached by strangers demanding answers to some of the ridiculous, conspiratorial questions posed by Carlson and his co-stars about the attack on her father.
“There’s this very toxic, negative energy circulating in my family,” Pelosi said matter-of-factly, “and we live with it.”
The release of Pelosi in the House could have been a triumphant moment, marrying Alexandra Pelosi’s artistic eye with a lifetime of unparalleled access to one of the most powerful and important women in US history. The documentary – with its chilling January 6 images, its intimate sausage-making look at the legislative process, its charming mother-daughter banter – is truly revealing.
But Pelosi isn’t looking for rave reviews or to send TV ratings through the roof.
“All I care about,” she said, “is that I physically survive the release of this film.”
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-12-12/nancy-pelosi-paul-pelosi-documentary-by-daughter-alexandra Nancy Pelosi’s daughter produces a revealing new documentary