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The Game Is Up: Disillusioned Trump Voters Tell Their Stories

Directed by Melissa Jo Peltier
Documentary Feature
USA | 113 min | 2021

A GOP congressman-turned right wing shock jock; a rising star in the Young Republicans; a party-loyal Ohio farmer; a US Army Veteran & hardcore ‘MAGA’; and three evangelicals all recount their evolutions from Trump supporters in 2016 to adamant adversaries in 2020. The film takes a deep dive into their motives for voting, their doubts, and the epiphanies that changed their minds.

In early 2020, as the US presidential election loomed, I felt I needed to use my skill set to help prevent autocracy from taking hold in the nation my maternal ancestors came to on the Mayflower in 1620. I knew there were Trump supporters who felt negatively about him, but they were surrounded by communities of other supporters and any doubts they might secretly harbor would never be acknowledged. My idea was to try and reach them through the stories of others who had the courage to speak up and change. This was a labor of love made by a small amount of money raised by a PAC, money put in directly by my husband and myself through our two production entities, and lots and lots of volunteer and deferral efforts by talented professionals who believed strongly in this vision. Despite having to think outside the box while shooting during a pandemic, we are all tremendously proud of our team effort.

The Game is Up - Poster

The Game is Up - Melissa Jo PeltierMelissa Jo Peltier

A two-time Emmy Award-winning director, writer and producer, Ms. Peltier won her first Emmy for educational programming at the age of 23. Since then, she has accumulated over 50 national and international awards and accolades for her work as a producer, writer and editor. She was director and co-writer (with her mentor, Oscar and 16x Emmy Award winner Arnold Shapiro) of the primetime documentary special, “Scared Silent: Exposing and Ending Child Abuse”, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. This multi-network simulcast was hailed at the time as television’s most watched documentary ever, and earned Ms. Peltier the coveted Humanitas Prize among many other awards. Following was the Peabody Award-winning “Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse”. In 1994, she was producer-director-writer of A&E’s four-hour mini-series “Titanic: Death of a Dream” and “Titanic: The Legend Lives On”, then the network’s highest-rated programs ever, winning her two National Emmy Awards…and still referenced by historians as the quintessential account of that disaster. Four Writer’s Guild of America nominations for documentary writing followed, as well as five more primetime Emmy Nominations as an Executive Producer of National Geographic Channel’s “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan”, a 2010 People’s Choice Award winner. From 1996-2010, Peltier was a partner and co-founder of MPH Entertainment, which created and produced over 350 hours of award-winning, original documentary and reality television programming, of which she produced, wrote or directed hundreds of hours, including the award-winning, original series “Sea Tales” and the mini-series “Founding Fathers”,“Founding Brothers” ,“History of Sex”, “Palm Beach: Money Power & Privelege” for A&E and the History Channel.

Peltier’s dramatic TV and film credits include writing the Lifetime movie “Nightwaves”; and “The Collector”, for the hit CBS series, “Ghost Whisperer”. With her MPH partners, she served as an executive producer of the comedy film “Men Seeking Women” (starring Will Ferrell) and as co-executive producer of the most beloved and profitable independent film of all time, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” She produced and was second-unit director of the multi-festival-winning indie feature, “White Irish Drinkers”, for Ovington Avenue Productions, of which she is also a principal with her husband, multi-award-winning feature and TV writer/director, John Gray. In 2018 & 2019, she produced four award-winning dramatic shorts with Gray which are now on the international festival. circuit: “The Desecrated” and “Extra Innings”, “Household Demons” and “Exit Package.”

Recently, Peltier has been a sought-after behind-the-scenes as well as credited consultant for numerous documentary projects. She was producer for the 2014 award-winning Ukrainian documentary, “Notes From a Revolution”; co-producer for the festival darling, “Look At Us Now, Mother”, and post production consultant on the critically acclaimed Jen Senko documentary “The Brainwashing of My Dad.” She authored the darkly comic Hollywood novel, “Reality Boulevard” (a Kirkus Review “Best Indie 2013” choice) and is the co-author of eight non-fiction works: including five Random House books with ‘Dog Whisperer’ Cesar Millan, all of which were New York Times Best Sellers. The first, “Cesar’s Way”, stayed number one for 11 weeks and has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Despite her long history in television and film, “The Game Is Up” is Peltier’s first solo feature-length documentary.

Film Information

Director: Melissa Jo Peltier
Country: USA
Year: 2021
Language: English
Runtime: 113 min
Rated: PG-13


Writer: Melissa Jo Peltier
Producer: Mary Kerry Craven.
Animation: Donnie Gillespie
Editor: Marilys Ernst, Mark Phillip Lichtenstein, Joseph Kleinman, Steve Pomerantz, Jason Helton
Executive Producer: John Gray, Dirk Schwenk
Original Music: Dirk Schwenk

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BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival