January 31, 2023

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‘A House Divided’ turned the brothers into political enemies

3 min read

Jade Sacker’s new documentary, “A House Divided,” will explore the story of two interracially adopted brothers born into a white Mormon family who become bitter ideological rivals during the Trump-era presidency.

An examination of how the bonds that can be severed in a time of hyper-partisanship emerged after Saker met brothers John and James Sullivan on opposing sides of the police barricade. They were there to rally for their respective political champions at the University of Utah vice presidential debate.

“They were initially surprised that I wanted to make a film about their relationship with a family member who everyone saw as their own worst enemy,” Sacker says. “But I told them it would be a fair reflection.”

“I wasn’t interested in making a documentary about political figures,” he adds. “I wanted to tell a human story at a time when it’s so easy to dehumanize and insult people on the other side of the political divide.”

“A House Divided,” which has not been announced but is currently in post-production, follows John and James Sullivan as they navigate identity, family trauma, race in America and their personal ideologies, and later the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The brothers rose to prominence on opposite sides of the political aisle, one as a former leader of Black Lives Matter in Utah (before being disowned by those involved in that movement due to his increased radicalization) and the other involved in the Patriot movement. A far-right nationalist group of protesters from which he later distanced himself. Their journey took an unexpected turn as one brother became the only black and only liberal activist arrested in the January 6 uprising (an event that was widely covered, with Sacker finding himself caught in the middle of the media due to his presence filming the riots for a documentary).

“A House Divided” is executive produced by Mike Jackson, John Legend, Austin Biggers and Ty Sticklorius on behalf of Get Lifted Film Co. and Saker Entertainment Law’s Neil Saker, with financing from 51 Fund, Salty Pictures, AGC Studios, Relativity Media, and Cast media. UTA Independent Film Group is handling worldwide sales.

“‘A House Divided’ is an important film that not only breaks down the current political climate but how it can break and affect family bonds,” said Jackson for Get Lifted. “It’s a fascinating inside look at a unique family led by Jade, who brings an intimate and empathetic lens to this story, a unique quality that defines her directing style.”

Sacker is a journalist and photographer who has worked in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. After starting out as a non-profit photographer in Nepal and Kenya, he traveled to Myanmar and Bangladesh to cover the Rohingya genocide as a freelance journalist before taking a position at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia. He began his first long-term project in northern Syria at the age of 20, volunteering and embedding in the Kurdish military before returning to work at UN headquarters in New York. Saker later covered the war in northern Syria and the Cambodian government’s failure to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic for Foreign Policy magazine.

Emir Lewis is the film’s story producer and Crystal Powell is the editor.

Soccer is represented by Buckward and Soccer Entertainment Act. Get Lifted is represented by WME and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein and Lezcano.

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