×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Steve Bannon Slips in Quietly to Venice Premiere of ‘American Dharma’

UPDATED Steve Bannon eluded paparazzi but showed up for the world premiere Wednesday of Errol Morris-directed “American Dharma,” the documentary about him that has created a stir at the Venice Film Festival following its press screening.

On Thursday, Bannon’s press team denied that the former top Trump advisor attended the screening.

The former top Trump adviser, who was recently dropped as a participant at The New Yorker festival, was expected to enter the Sala Grande theater on the Lido via the red carpet. Instead, Bannon walked in through a side entrance just as the screening was about to start and sat in a balcony seat at the back.

He was dressed informally in a dark T-shirt and looked quite scruffy. Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said Bannon’s security detail had advised him not to attend and confirmed that the alt-right maven entered the screening through a side door.

Bannon’s press team in a statement on Thursday said that instead, during the Wednesday afternoon screening, the alt-right maven “was in a [Venice] hotel in meetings with a reporter and Giorgia Meloni of the Brotherhood of Italy,” the statement said. Meloni is the leading lady of Italy’s right. Her party, which is actually known as The Brothers of Italy, traces its roots to the post-Fascist Italian Social Movement founded in the 1940s by Benito Mussolini’s supporters.

Also on Thursday, the Venice press office said that Bannon had been identified by a festival security guard but that Barbera himself had not seen him, opening up the possibility of a mis-identification on the security guard’s part.

During a press conference before the official screening, Morris was grilled by journalists who asked whether dedicating a film to Bannon was “normalizing” his right-wing views. That point was also raised by Variety critic Owen Gleiberman in his review.

“If you walked into ‘American Dharma,’ Errol Morris’s documentary about Stephen K. Bannon, knowing nothing about Donald Trump’s former adviser (who he is, what he’s done, what he stands for), you’d probably find him to be a fascinating, compelling, and at times even charming figure,” Gleiberman wrote. “If that sounds like a swipe against the movie, it is.”

“Did I struggle with the question?” Morris said at the press conference. “The answer is yes. If the question is am I still struggling with it, the answer would still be yes.”

However, he added, “my answer is not to remain silent and not make the movie. I believe I’ve done something different….Trying to explore the nature of what [Bannon] calls national populism, what it means for the world, for my country, I think is absolutely essential.”

The film’s world premiere elicited a mostly warm response from the audience – several minutes of clapping and one isolated “Boo.” Bannon slipped out before the lights went back on, as quietly as he had slipped in.

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    PGA Awards: 'Assassination of Gianni Versace' Wins Limited Series Award

    The second season of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” has won the David L. Wolper Award for limited series television. “Fahrenheit 451” won the award for top streamed or televised motion picture. The 10th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” took the award for game and competiton television. “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” won [...]

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Andy Gruenberg, Veteran Film Executive, Dies at 68

    Veteran film executive Andy Gruenberg, who most recently oversaw theatrical distribution at Netflix, died suddenly on Friday. He was 68. Gruenberg worked on classic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Silverado” while at Columbia Pictures in the 80s and 90s. He then moved to MGM where he served as exec VP of distribution. There he [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Author Tony Mendez arrives at the

    Tony Mendez, Former CIA Officer Depicted in 'Argo,' Dies at 78

    Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78. Mendez’s book agent, Christy Fletcher, announced the news on Twitter Saturday morning. “Early this morning, Antonio (Tony) [...]

  • Glass Movie

    'Glass' to Rank in Top 3 MLK Debuts With $48 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is on its way to a solid debut with an estimated $48 million for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split,” the Universal superhero thriller should bring in around $41 million from 3,841 domestic locations over the Friday through Sunday period. The estimates are [...]

  • China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to

    China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to Hit French Theaters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Midnight Blur Films has signed a deal with French distributor Les Acacias to release Chinese arthouse drama “Three Adventures of Brooke” in France this year, the Chinese production company told Variety on Saturday. A release date has yet to be set for the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and stars Chinese newcomer Xu Fangyi [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content