Craig Bergman had just hit the road to produce his first political documentary about Agenda 21—the United Nations’ controversial sustainable development plan—when news of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives broke in May 2013.
“When I saw this scandal, I said somebody has to seize this and seize it right now. So I said, ‘Look guys, Agenda 21 will wait. We can go back and revisit that … we have to do this,’” Bergman said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
Bergman, who has been a long-time advocate for the fair tax, grew up in a “Kennedy Democrat family” and joined the military at age 17.
“I became a Republican in the Army,” he said.
After leaving the military, the self-declared Midwestern “renaissance man” began a career in banking. But he developed an interest in politics, which eventually led him to depart the financial services industry to run political campaigns. By 2000, he had become the national operations director for Republican Alan Keyes’ presidential campaign.
“I was the talking head expert that somebody brings on, and several people always said, ‘You should be on radio,’” said Bergman, who later took the advice and became a nationally syndicated talk radio host after accurately predicting Mitt Romney’s loss in crucial swing states during the 2012 election cycle.
Bergman’s decision to break into the film industry came next.
With eight independent filmmakers and award-winning film producer Judd Saul on board as director, Bergman was able to pivot the small crew’s focus away from Agenda 21 and toward the production of a documentary capturing the accounts of Americans affected by the IRS’ targeting.
According to Bergman, the film’s budget of $310,000 meant the crew had three to four weeks to shoot the film. From late September through October, the crew traveled across the country gathering interviews and scheduling media appearances.
“Our crew was made up of very talented people who didn’t necessarily have our political world view, but they weren’t hostile to it,” said Bergman. “The whole film crew lived on the bus … and the camaraderie, stories and jokes—it was like being in college again.”
With 40 hours worth of footage transcribed to fit a 3-inch binder, Bergman spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with a highlighter in hand, picking out soundbites and creating the film’s order.
According to Bergman, it took nine cuts and several consultations with the film’s executive producer, John Sullivan, who produced Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America,” to get the film to the point where it wasn’t “getting any criticism.”
Bergman’s film, “Unfair: Exposing the IRS,” focuses on Washington’s sprawling regulatory machine and portrays the IRS as “the gestapo.”
The 90-minute documentary intertwines commentary by prominent politicians and pundits such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Glenn Beck, with real stories from American veterans, families and grassroots leaders who endured personal attacks and penalties because of their political affiliation.
“It is an A+ movie that we spent six months making, and I’m sure that we can do better. I’m a perfectionist, and I can guarantee that our next movie will raise the bar,” said Bergman.
Over the next two years, Bergman said he plans to produce six more documentary films on “hard-hitting issues” such as the military police state, tax reform and the environment before branching out into more standard theatrical productions.
“We have a formula that works and we’re not afraid,” said Bergman.
“Unfair: Exposing the IRS” has its debut Oct. 14 in theaters nationwide for a one-night-only event. Tickets can be purchased at unfairmovie.com.