Howard Dean using Stowe Media movie content as explanation for his defeat!


In a stunning admition of historical significance, the man behing the film, "Lessons from an American Primary," Howard Dean, spoke with Sam Stein recently about how the Dean Campaign had morphed into the Grateful Dean campaign.


"The crowds weren’t necessarily made up of Iowa voters. They were made up of Deaniacs who had taken to following the candidate around the state. "It was like being the Grateful Dead," Dean explained. After finishing a speech, he’d take a break and then go to the next, where he'd see all these familiar fans geeking out to his stump speech all over again.

"I’d go to the next rally and there’d be a huge crowd of a thousand people, and they’d be the same people," Dean said. "When I saw that, I realized what was happening was this was not about ordinary Iowans."

Dean was no longer leading a presidential front-running campaign. He had become the leader of a bunch of Deanheads. Because of those crowds, he knew he was doomed.

"I knew what was going to happen before it happened," he said. "I wasn’t surprised.""


In fact, the analogy originally came from the movie by Stowe Media's Heath Eiden in a conversation with "The Daily Caller."

The film still has not been acknowledged by Howard Dean but clearly is being used as a source to jar some memories.


Seven Days is Vermont's premiere weekly paper and Margot Harrison is their film reviewer. She does a really nice job here covering the film in this article. Thanks, Margot!


This campaign season, Vermonters who are "feeling the Bern" might learn something from a glance back at another establishment-bucking Green Mountain presidential candidacy. They need look no further than Lessons From an American Primary, a documentary that Stowe resident Heath Eiden has made available for free streaming at Shot in 2003-2004, it's his first-person account of Howard Dean's primary campaign.

Lessons was originally titled Dean and Me: Roadshow of an American Primary. Eiden boiled it down to 85 minutes from 250 hours of footage he shot over two years of taking day trips from Vermont to follow Dean on the campaign trail.

In January 2008, during another historic primary, Eiden screened a rough cut at two local theaters and told this reporter he was seeking a distributor and funding to finish the doc. But he held back on post-production, he wrote in a recent email, because Dean was still seen as a potential candidate. When a new "Vermont barn burner" declared his candidacy, "the film kind of told us it was time to let go," Eiden said. Meanwhile, changing technology had "opened up this new form of grassroots distribution."

Twelve years after Dean's stroll in the national limelight, what Lessons does the film have to offer? In some respects, it's a conventional chronology of the primary, with frequent clips from network news coverage to glue the narrative together. It's a time capsule, too, taking us back to a time when internet contributions were still a novelty.

But there's also an intriguingly quirky personal element. Eiden starts the film by tracing his own path from New York to Vermont, where he bought a camera to document the birth of his child. "And then our neighbor down the road decided he wanted to be president," he recalls in voice-over — and Eiden found a second use for his video equipment.

The filmmaker created his own media company — — so he could get press access at Dean rallies from Boston to New Hampshire to Iowa. Like an affable blond Michael Moore, Eiden appears in the film posing probing and sometimes irreverent questions to a host of media personalities, from Sean Hannity to Al Franken to late Seven Days political columnist Peter Freyne.

He captured candid moments — such as Thomas Oliphant of the Boston Globe calling Dean an "independent cuss," and Ted Mondale going door-to-door to encourage salt-of-the-earth Iowa voters to attend their caucuses. Chris Matthews offered Eiden his interpretation of the "Dean scream." James Carville opined, when Eiden asked him if the media had treated Dean unfairly, "This is presidential politics. This is not a living-room game."

Documenting an outsider campaign, Eiden sometimes found himself treated like an outsider. Alexandra Pelosi waved his camera away; another interviewee objected, "I want to talk to the real media!" Friendlier was conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, who chatted perkily with Eiden at several events, comparing the Dean scene to "a Dead show." "You oughtta be in there! They're getting kinda elitist on you!" he protested at one point, when the filmmaker's access was restricted.

Carlson also offered an ominous soundbite: "In the end, the antiestablishment candidate always ends up as part of the establishment, if he succeeds. It's a structural irony."

For his part, Eiden has taken more positive lessons from the Dean campaign. "Bernie campers can learn that, win or lose, Dean's movement is still very influential because he didn't give up," he wrote to Seven Days. "His people went on to be the gatekeepers of the new digital political movement: They are in the White House, they are everywhere..."

Eiden's film also documents Dean's opposition to the "war on terror" rhetoric that played a key role in George W. Bush's reelection — and is having a resurgence. "In the current campaign season, we continue to see how easy it is to ramp up fear among people to make yourself popular," the filmmaker wrote. "My guess is the person who has the courage to not appeal to the worst in people will come away as a great leader, because in the end, something has got to bring us all together or we all lose."


The original print version of this article was headlined "Long-Awaited Dean Doc Offers 'Lessons' for Current Campaign"Chris Matthews and Heath Eiden

Ted Mondale is a star in the film Photo

Contact: Heath Eiden

Stowe Media Group

Phone 802-279-8452

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PO Box 775

Stowe, VT 05672

Stowe Media Group

Press Release

Stowe Media Group Donates Historical Feature Film

“Lessons from an American Primary” Complete; Director Puts Society Over Profit

Stowe, VT November 23, 2015:

Will Bernie Sanders, Donald Drumpf and their supporters learn their ‘lessons’ before it’s too late to avoid the usual fate of anti-establishment presidential candidates in 2016?

That’s what Director Heath Eiden says he’s hoping voters will ask themselves by donating his recently completed film, “Lessons from an American Primary,” to anyone who wants to understand how Americans end up with the choices they get.


“Rather than pursue profits at a time when Americans are yet again being asked to sacrifice everything for a perpetual war strategy after the misguided invasion of Iraq, we feel that the release of this film now during these holidays—when everyone is feeling the pinch—is a great time to share with fellow patriots who want to learn how their electoral process really works and in a very entertaining way,” said Eiden, of Stowe Media Group.


Eiden’s team includes co-producers Deanna Kamiel (Professor of Documentary Studies & Media Studies, The New School, NY) and Iris Cahn (Professor of Film, SUNY Purchase, NY) who also edited the film. The film used Governor Howard Dean's epic 2004 rise and fall as a grassroots-powered presidential candidate as the back drop and includes actors Hillary Clinton, Shawn Hannity, Martin Sheen, and Tucker Carlson, just to name a few. The documentary was shot on location in NH, IA, WI, NY, VT, MN and DC.

Eiden created his own media company and credentials to knock cameras with CNN, ABC, NBC, FOX and all the big time media players. “It was a dream to direct Martin Sheen,” said Eiden, “others were harder to get on board for their close-ups with me.”


“It’s a great virtual stocking stuffer to share with friends,” said Eiden.


The film is downloadable at:

Stowe Media Group is a commercial video and marketing business, and grassroots distributor in Stowe, VT: “It’s your vision—we direct you to it!”

 INTERVIEW CONTACT: HEATH EIDEN This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 802-279-8452