Half-Jewish On His President’s Side

Videographer Arun Chaudhary Went to Every White House Seder

Ready For His Close-Up: Chaudhary poses for his former employer.
Courtesy Arun Chaudhary
Ready For His Close-Up: Chaudhary poses for his former employer.

By Adam Langer

Published October 30, 2012, issue of November 09, 2012.
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Were you at the White House when Bob Dylan was being honored?

No, but I don’t think I would have been star-struck. He’s just a musician. The only musician I was head-over-heels to meet was Wayne Kramer from the MC5.

So what’s next? Any narrative filmmaking in your future?

There’s gotta be. People are like, “Are you gonna make a big documentary now?” I’m like: “Why? Documentaries suck now.”

How do you mean?

Well, you don’t have to know how to do anything in order to make one. The culture of it has changed. The great documentary filmmakers from years ago are still the great documentary filmmakers of our time. If I want to call a documentary filmmaker, I’m calling Albert Maysles or D.A. Pennebaker, I’m not calling some dipshit who made some feel-good documentary.

And you’re a writer too.

Yeah, I’m from [New York University], so they teach us to be singer-songwriters. Before I started work for Obama, I was writing a script about a senator running for president.

How close to the truth did your script turn out to be?

It’s similar, actually. I find that a lot of political fiction is pretty accurate. You hear a lot of people say: “Don’t watch ‘The Ides of March.’ The real world is nothing like that.” It was a lot like that, as far as I can tell.

You wouldn’t ever run for political office, would you?

I would run for Brooklyn borough president. It seems to be a great gig. But that’s about it.

You live in Washington, D.C., now; you’re in the wrong town for that.

Yeah, but I can come back. I can take Marty Markowitz — easy.


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