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Behind the Scenes of the Iowa Caucuses

Documentary filmmaker AJ Schnack is turning his camera’s attention to that most hallowed of American political rituals with his new film, “Caucus.”

Schnack, known for the documentaries “Convention” and “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” offers an intimate, sometimes funny portrait of the Iowa caucuses, an event that helps mold the election of the leader of the free world.

Schnack and his team track the 2011-2012 Republican primary contenders as they navigate the obstacles and pitfalls of the Iowa political scene, including lousy weather, corn dogs and butter sculptures. The documentarians follow GOP underdogs Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann as they try to break through a field of larger-than-life opponents, such as pizza magnate Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and erstwhile front-runner Mitt Romney.

“Caucus,” in tracing Santorum’s and Bachmann’s grass-roots campaign efforts, successes and failures, offers a rare view of the American political process.

The film makes its world premiere at the 2013 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, which runs April 25 through May 5.

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