THE FINAL YEAR is a unique insiders’ account of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team during their last year in office. Featuring unprecedented access inside the White House and State Department, THE FINAL YEAR offers an uncompromising view of the inner workings of the Obama Administration as they prepare to leave power after eight years.
Directed by Greg Barker, the film revolves around a foreign policy team assembled by Barack Obama nearly a decade ago, during his first presidential campaign: Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, Deputy National Security Advisor and presidential confidant Ben Rhodes, as well National Security Advisor Susan Rice and President Obama himself.
Ben Rhodes and Ambassador Power feature prominently, with Ben Rhodes still working with Barack Obama today. Amb. Samantha Power worked in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council, ahead of becoming UN Ambassador. She is also a Pulitzer prize winning journalist.
The film tracks this team over the course of 2016, as they travel the world attempting to solidify and “lock-in” policies that they believe will define their legacy, promote diplomacy over large-scale military action, and fundamentally alter how the US government confronts questions of war and peace.
The unfolding crisis in Syria (and Russia’s role), visiting families during the Boko Haram kidnapping, the Iran nuclear deal, the resurgence of nationalism, and the results of the US election all challenge this legacy in unexpected and fundamental ways, leading the team to re-evaluate their lasting achievements as they prepare to hand-over the machinery of American power.
Filming began in late 2015 and wrapped at 4am on the morning of January 20th, hours before the inauguration.
Greg Barker directs the film with his longstanding producing partners John Battsek and Julie Goldman. Together their films include HBO’s Manhunt, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, (PrimeTime Emmy® winner), Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma, Sergio (Sundance editing award), and Koran by Heart. The filmmaking team’s work also includes further Oscar and Bafta nominated and winning documentaries such as Academy Award-winning One day in September, BAFTA winning Searching For Sugar Man and Academy Award nominated Life Animated.
THE FINAL YEAR will be released in cinemas across the UK & Ireland on 19th January by Dogwoof.