The Presidents' Gatekeepers


CCWHIP PRODUCTIONS specializes in documentary films. Teaming with filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet (Goldfish Pictures) and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and producer David Hume Kennerly, CCWHIP produced The Presidents’ Gatekeepers, a critically-acclaimed look at the role of the White House chiefs of staff.


The Hollywood Reporter

“The behind-the-scenes brilliant ideas and terrible mistakes that have secretly shaped the country’s course”

The Daily Beast

“Riveting….. Revelatory”

—Bipartisan Policy Center

"The cinematic equivalent of Hilary Mantel’s piercing novel, Wolf Hall"

CAST OF THE PRESIDENTS' GATEKEEPERS

GEORGE H. W. BUSH
41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
1977-1981

JIMMY CARTER
39TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
1977-1981

DENIS MCDONOUGH
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
2013-

JACOB LEW
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
2012-2013

WILLIAM DALEY
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
2011-2012

RAHM EMANUEL
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
2009-2010

JOSHUA BOLTEN
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
2006-2009

ANDY CARD
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
2001-2006

JOHN PODESTA
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
1998-2001

ERSKINE BOWLES
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
1997-1998

LEON PANETTA
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
1994-1997

CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
1993 –1994

SAMUEL SKINNER
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
1991 – 1992 

JOHN SUNUNU
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
1989-1991

KEN DUBERSTEIN
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
1988-1989

HOWARD BAKER, JR.
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
1987-1988 

JAMES A. BAKER, III
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
1981-1985

JACK WATSON
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER
1980 –1981

DICK CHENEY
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GERALD FORD
1975-1977

DONALD RUMSFELD
CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GERALD FORD
1974-1975

Trailer



EXCERPTS



White House Screening



Reviews

The Hollywood Report

The two-part political special features Rahm Emanuel, Leon Panetta, Dick Cheney and others, as well as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush

Anyone who has watched fictionalized accounts of White House operations knows, from The West Wing to Scandal, that the President’s Chief of Staff is one of the most important positions one can hold. But it’s also true in real life: Former Chief and Vice President Dick Cheney once said it was a position of more power than the Vice Presidency. There have been over 20 Chiefs over the last nine presidencies (the average turnover rate is one-and-a-half years, with a record being five), and all of those still living have gathered together for Discovery’s The Presidents’ Gatekeepers, a four-hour event that focuses on their job.

The Daily Beast

The Presidents’ Gatekeepers: Review of a New Film about the Chiefs of Staff

A new documentary highlighting the men “catching the javelins meant for the old man” goes inside the second-toughest job in Washington: White House chief of staff. By Eleanor Clift

You’d think with a four-hour documentary, there wouldn’t be much on the cutting room floor. But the producers of The Presidents’ Gatekeepers had 90 hours of footage to cull, and they likened the editing process to using a meat cleaver. In a way it shows — the opening scenes of this ambitious documentary jump around among the 20 living chiefs of staff interviewed irrespective of when they served and without a narrative timeline that seems to make sense.

Bipartisan Policy Center

The Presidents’ Gatekeepers – A Fascinating Look Inside the Oval Office.

It’s been called “the toughest job I ever had,” “a heat shield for the president,” “the biggest honor of my life,” and like “walking a high-wire rope with no net below you.” Yet every man, without question, said he would do it again—to serve his country and “be at the center of history.”

For the first time, all 20 living White House chiefs of staff sat for exclusive interviews in The Presidents’ Gatekeepers, a four-hour documentary that premiered last week on Discovery Channel. The series offered a masterful look at the men who have served as the president’s closest advisers and most powerful consiglieres over 50 years and nine administrations.

On the Set

Photographs by David Hume Kennerly