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Man in the Arena is a feature-length documentary film exploring the life and accomplishments of media icon and political strategist Roger Ailes. Long before founding FOX News, Roger Ailes was an Emmy Award winning producer, director, documentarian, sought-after corporate consultant, and top political strategist. Many know of Ailes and his association with FOX, but few know how he got there, his work electing three presidents, or his pioneering mastery of television production and broadcasting.
The film takes its title from the oft-quoted Teddy Roosevelt speech, which declares the man of action to be more vital than the critic. Roger Ailes was a quintessential “man in the arena” throughout his life. The film tracks him from his modest upbringing in Ohio until his death, focusing on his journey through ever-larger arenas, both personal and professional. His conflicts, his triumphs, his failures, his friends and enemies, and, of course, his outsized legacies in television and politics, are chronicled in the context of the larger cultural forces that defined Roger’s times.
The filmmakers were granted access to a massive cache of personal media, including scores of hours of private audio recordings made by Roger Ailes over a 30-year period.