PHOENIX — The 20th annual Sedona International Film Festival will feature more than 150 movies, including a documentary about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio called “The Joe Show.”
“He has staged a number of publicity events and stunts. He has a great team of people who execute these events, and they jokingly refer to them as ‘Joe Shows,'” said filmmaker Randy Murray. “All politicians need the media to talk to voters, and the sheriff became the master at it.”
Murray spent eight years following Arpaio’s career, filming him at work and home. He said the movie isn’t about liking or disliking the man often dubbed “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” but it’s more about relationships between politicians and the media.
“When a politician and the media sort of work together to entertain more than they inform, it becomes dangerous. And that’s one of the slogans of the film is can democracy survive when it’s more important to entertain the voters than protect them?”
Murray said he showed the film to Arpaio, who was disappointed it included many of his adversaries, but “he said the movie wouldn’t be entertaining if it didn’t tell both sides.”
As seen in the film’s trailer, Arpaio says, “I’m probably the greatest politician that ever lived,” and, “It’s amazing what I say, and what I do and what I get away with. It’s amazing.”
“The Joe Show” will premiere Feb. 26 in Sedona. It will also be screened at the upcoming Phoenix and Toronto film festivals.
Murray said he hopes it will be available in theaters this summer. A shorter television version is scheduled to air this fall on the Investigation Discovery Network.