Alexandra Pelosi's documentary on 2020 election became Jan 6 riot footage

Alexandra Ciufudean October 14, 2022
Alexandra Pelosi's documentary on 2020 election became Jan 6 riot footage
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

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On Thursday (October 13), the January 6 committee reconvened with exclusive footage from inside the Capitol siege shot by filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, who was there working on a documentary.

The documentary creator, who is House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, was accompanying her mother that day to film the certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Instead, she captured jarring, never-before-seen footage of lawmakers reacting to the situation in real time as an angry mob stormed the Capitol.

Pelosi is a celebrated documentarian who has worked extensively with HBO, including on 2018’s Outside The Bubble: A Roadtrip With Alexandra Pelosi, a film “dissecting, with compassion, the psyche of the political right in America,” according to a New York Times review.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Who is documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi?

Alexandra Pelosi, 52, is the youngest daughter of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi and businessman Paul Pelosi.

An Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and journalist, Pelosi started her career as a field producer for NBC. While covering George W Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign for the network, she documented her own 18-month experience on the campaign trail on a handheld camcorder.

The resulting footage became Journeys With George, the documentary that earned her six Emmy nominations.

In 2001, Pelosi left network news to film exclusive documentaries for HBO. Her ongoing collaboration resulted in a number of acclaimed titles including Diary Of A Political Tourist (2004), following Democratic candidates on the campaign trail; The Trials Of Ted Haggard (2009), chronicling Haggard’s exile from New Life Church; and Meet The Donors: Does Money Talk (2016), examining money’s influence on US politics.

Pelosi’s documentary work focuses on political deep dives and close-up examinations of often overlooked aspects of American life, such as her 2018 road trip into the heartland of the political right and her 2020 investigation into social media’s effects on the American psyche.

Alexandra Pelosi was there filming a documentary about the transfer of power

The Washington Examiner reports that on January 6, 2021, Alexandra was accompanying her mother, Nancy Pelosi, to film the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory.

The documentary she was working on at the time, which included a focus on her mother’s role in the proceedings, was put on hold when Trump supporters began storming the Capitol.

Instead, Pelosi captured exclusive footage of congressional leaders fleeing the Capitol and reconvening at nearby Fort McNair, where they frantically attempted to co-ordinate efforts to quell the insurrection and finish certificating the election.

“If they stop the proceedings, we will have totally failed,” Pelosi says as she and others are seen evacuating the Capitol.

Earlier in the footage, House speaker Pelosi participates in a video call with the House Democratic Caucus on the morning of January 6. They can be seen planning the day’s proceedings as Pelosi, a devout Catholic, explains the date also marks the Feast of the Epiphany.

The meeting took place in the same conference room that was ransacked by rioters just hours later, some of whom appeared to be after the House speaker, CNN reports.

As Pelosi and colleagues exit her office, boxes containing the official electoral college certificates are being carried into the House chamber. Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary crew films as the proceedings begin, with Vice-President Pence presiding and GOP lawmakers filing their first objection.

Meanwhile, outside, the first wave of Trump supporters storm the Capitol complex. This is when Pelosi’s documentary project became something else entirely.

Where to watch the January 6 footage

For now, only a few clips of Alexandra Pelosi’s footage are available to view online. The January 6 panel showed an edited compilation during Thursday’s hearing, which can be watched on the CNN YouTube channel.

Additional videos aired by CBS show House speaker Pelosi, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s frantic efforts to secure law enforcement help.

In one of the clips, Pelosi and Schumer are on a phone call to acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, fearing for their colleagues’ safety.

“They’re breaking windows and going in, obviously ransacking our offices and all the rest of that,” Pelosi says of the Capitol rioters. “That’s nothing,” she adds, “The concern we have about personal safety just transcends everything.”

After Thursday’s hearing, CNN political commentator Anderson Cooper said his channel had managed to obtain almost the entire 40 minutes of “material” that had been given to the panel. Some of the previously unseen video aired on Anderson Cooper’s show last night.

Viewers who missed it can watch it here.

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Alexandra Ciufudean is the Head of Entertainment at The Focus where she manages a growing team of outstanding writers. On a day-to-day basis, she hunts for the latest in online trends and keeps her finger on the pulse of US culture, politics, and celebs. Alexandra helped launch The Focus in 2020 and developed the site into an expert online news source. A language nerd through and through, she boasts 5 years of experience as an editor, writer, and content specialist across web, video, and social platforms, and a master's degree in Comparative Literature.