Explore →

“Statecraft: The Bush 41 Team” To Air Nationally at 10 p.m. August 4 on PBS

President George H. W. Bush with advisors
From left: Colin Powell, Richard Cheney, Brent Scowcroft, and James Baker meet with President Bush, June 26, 1992 (Photo: George H. W. Presidential Library & Museum)

VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, announced that the documentary “Statecraft: The Bush 41 Team” will debut nationally on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET on PBS.

Directed by Lori Shinseki of Fire Horse Pictures and co-produced by VPM and the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, “Statecraft: The Bush 41 Team” offers a unique look at the foreign policy legacy of President George H.W. Bush as told via the George H. W. Bush Presidential Oral History, the historical record and the accounts of the advisers who shaped it.   

“Statecraft: The Bush 41 Team” reflects on the pillars and strategies of American diplomacy at the end of the Cold War. When George H.W. Bush became president of the United States in 1989, much of the world was in turmoil and it was clear that American diplomacy was entering a new era. This documentary features captivating archival footage and revealing interviews with members of Bush 41’s foreign policy team, including James Baker, Dick Cheney, Robert Gates, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Brent Scowcroft. Detailed, first-person accounts of major world events — the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Malta Summit, the U.S. invasion of Panama, the reunification of Germany, the Gulf War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union — provide a glimpse into one of the most fascinating foreign policy presidencies of the modern era.  

“Bush picked people who worked well together,” Shinseki said. “They each attributed their success to Bush’s leadership and national security experience. And they had a ball! Many of them actually said it was the most fun they ever had working in the White House. Their stories give us a better understanding of how their relationships with each other influenced the outcomes of the historic events they faced.”

“As producers of history content, VPM aims to present stories from the past that offer meaningful lessons about the world we live in now. With compelling interviews and rich assets from the Bush 41 administration, we hope this film inspires people to take a new look at this presidency and reflect on how our nation’s approach to diplomacy has evolved,” said Steve Humble, Executive Producer and Chief Content Officer at VPM.

“The foreign policy crises President George H. W. Bush and his team confronted ranked among the most challenging in U.S. history,” said William Antholis, Miller Center director and CEO. “This film vividly expands on many key moments recounted by Bush’s most senior advisers in their oral history interviews with Miller Center scholars.”

On August 5 at 11 a.m., the Miller Center and VPM will present a special public discussion about “Statecraft” featuring White House Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Zoellick, National Security Council staff member Philip Zelikow, New Yorker journalist Susan Glasser, and Miller Center Director of Presidential Studies Barbara Perry. For more details and to register, visit https://millr.cr/statecraft.

For more about the film, background about the major world events it features, and additional interviews with members of the Bush foreign policy team, visit https://millercenter.org/statecraftmovie.

Film Credits
Directed by Lori Shinseki
Executive Producer: Steve Humble 
Consulting Producer: Mason Mills
Producer: Ellie Hannibal
Co-Producer: Sheila Blackford
Editor: Ross McDermott
Chief Historical Consultant: Jeffrey A. Engel

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Lori Shinseki has worked in documentary film production for more than 20 years. Before “Statecraft,” she directed “The Twinning Reaction,” the disturbing story of identical twins separated in infancy and secretly studied by psychologists in the 1960s. Shinseki co-produced the HBO film “Wartorn 1861-2010” and the PBS FRONTLINE documentary “Missile Wars.” She has served as associate producer on numerous other FRONTLINE programs and on Bill Moyers’ Emmy-winning documentary “Trade Secrets.” A graduate of Duke University, Shinseki earned her MA from Stanford University. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, Tim Heaphy, and their three children.

ABOUT VPM
As Virginia’s home for public media, VPM connects nearly 2 million people across Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley to insightful programming in arts and culture, history, science, news and education.  VPM operates public television stations VPM PBS, VPM Plus, VPM PBS KIDS, lifestyle channel VPM Create and international program channel VPM WORLD, as well as Richmond NPR station VPM News (88.9 FM) and VPM Music (107.3 FM, 93.1 FM and 88.9-HD2). In the Northern Neck (89.1 FM) and Southside Virginia (90.1 FM), listeners receive a combination of news and music. Audiences can access VPM online at VPM.org and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

ABOUT THE MILLER CENTER OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Miller Center of Public Affairs is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation's most pressing contemporary governance challenges.