THE MAKING OF A PRESIDENT
Documentary Examines the Citizen Kane-like Rise of Donald Trump
“I wished to make an examination of character…. My story was not, therefore, about how a man gets money, but what he does with his money—not when he gets old—but throughout his entire career.”
-- Orson Welles,
on the making of
You either love him or you hate him. When it comes to opinions on Donald Trump, there is no middle ground.
Or perhaps there is. It's just that the creative perspectives get drowned out by the din of passionate partisanship on either side.
Donald Trump may be more complex than most think and less easy to caricature. That's what award-winning filmmaker and author Robert Orlando believes.
In his upcoming film "Trump's Rosebud," Orlando examines the tumultuous life and multifaceted career of media mogul, business baron, T.V. star, and former President Donald J. Trump by exploring his and Trump's favorite film, “Citizen Kane.”
Orlando shows how Trump's ascent to the top of the world stage reflects the strategic rise to power of Charles Foster Kane, the main character in “Citizen Kane."
Will he find Trump's Rosebud, the crucial turning point in his life? What drives his ambition and need for recognition?
Trump saw the presidency as a role of a lifetime - the natural culmination of a life built around accumulating fame and prestige - which he acquired, as Orlando reminds us, while "also honing his media skills. "
"Both men came from affluence but wanted to speak for the commoner. Both were savvy with media and sound bites and knew how to utilize headlines," said Orlando.
"Trump's Rosebud" is loosely based on Orlando's book, "Citizen Trump," by Simon & Schuster, and the unfinished movie of the same name. The film was slated for an earlier release, but due to COVID, industry delays, the political climate, and censorship, Orlando had to delay its debut until now.
Trump is one of the most influential figures of the 21st century. Both Right and Left, friends and enemies, have said their part, and now it's a biographer filmmaker's turn to unpack the sensation of Trump.
"That's all we need, another political film! My impulse was a filmmaker's deeper dive into the media, the role of Media from early on in Trump's life," said Orlando.
With decades of film experience as an award-winning director, screenwriter, and author, Orlando's completed several documentaries on topics ranging from WWII's George Patton to John Paul II and Ronald Reagan.
The first time around, the Citizen Trump film was censored. "We launched the project in 2020, and my social media team told me that the positive Amazon reviews were blocked." said Orlando.
"I guess the film was 'too fair to Trump,' explained Orlando, but "Some friendly fire also blasted me!"
"Our culture is so bereft of independent content. As a result, digital tribalism has overtaken our spirits with bitterness and a sense of nihilism."
"Trump's Rosebud" promises to be entertaining, full of surprises, and filled with his style. It's Trump's show. "I am just a guy in the audience eating popcorn and watching," said Orlando.
"Trump's Rosebud" traces Trump's life from his early days in Queens, through his first launch in Hollywood to his real estate business, The Apprentice, and finally to the White House. "We know how it all happened. I want to know: Why did it all happen?" explains Orlando.
"I don't have derangement syndrome, and I also don't indulge in psychobabble, but like Welles's Kane, every story does have a beginning, and where we come from does shape our lives, warts and all." Orlando concludes.
Trump, like Kane, amongst other things, must also be viewed through the prism of his childhood, influences, and life experiences, from which no one escapes that later become our character and destiny.
"No one is one-dimensional -- people are complex," said Orlando. "And successful people like Trump are even more complex, which means ghosts, wounds, call it what you will. For now, let's call it Trump's Rosebud."
What the hell is an independent filmmaker doing in the swamp? D.C. It's a long story, but the bottom line is I wanted to find out the truth about one man, Donald Trump.
Trump and I had something in common. Our favorite film was Citizen Kane. A few years back, I wrote a book on Trump's life called Citizen Trump, then tried to make a film.
That's when Covid hit. I lost financing and was censored by Amazon. I was also dumb enough to release a film in the middle of the 2020 election. It was a blood bath.
After Jan 6th, I was ready to walk away from it but couldn't let it go. But now I needed eyewitnesses—those who knew the man.
Starring Sebastian Gorka, Rachel Bovard, Jeffrey Lord, Bob Tyrrell, and Bill Barr.
With all the diverse opinions, I might need to meet Trump myself. If He had a Rosebud, I was going to find out.
And here I go.
"That's all we need -- another political film or subject matter! My impulse was a filmmaker's deeper dive into the media to understand the most influential figure of our times and his parallels with Kane."
Robert Orlando is a filmmaker, creative director and author. As a filmmaker, he has made numerous award-winning works beginning with his mind-melting Moment In Time. As a creative director, he founded Nexus Media, a cutting-edge agency offering Fortune 100 companies innovative messaging. As an author, he offers insight into ancient and modern history in books and films. His latest documentaries are Silence Patton, First Victim of the Cold War, and The Divine Plan: Reagan, John Paul II and the Dramatic End of the Cold War, which was #1 at the box office. His books include Amazon Bestseller, The Tradgedy of Patton, Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe and as co-author with Paul Kengor, The Divine Plan. He’s written numerous screenplays as well as articles on a wide range of topics for HuffPost, Patheos, Newsmax, and Daily Caller. Orlando has been a guest on TV shows such as those of Eric Metaxas and Mike Huckabee and on CBN, and makes select appearances at colleges and universities. His films have been shown around the world, and have included screenings at the White House and the Vatican. His latest works for the screen are Daughter of Mercy, a docudrama series, and a groundbreaking grapho-film, Trump's Rosebud coming January 6th, 2023. His studio is in downtown Princeton N.J., where he also resides. Stay tuned!
20 NASSAU STREET No.22,
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY 08542