Documentary Special Presentation

The Final Year

Greg Barker’s excellent observational documentary examines, with great intimacy, the final year in Obama’s foreign policy administration as an election looms.


Dir Greg Barker
Prod Julie Goldman, John Battsek, Greg Barker
With Samantha Power, John Kerry, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice, President Barack Obama
Prod Co Passion Pictures, Motto Pictures

The final, momentous year of the Obama administration is documented with extraordinary intimacy by Greg Barker, whose Manhunt screened in the LFF2013 Documentary Competition. With an election looming, The Final Year observes the administration’s key players in foreign policy as they work to cement their gains in international relations, painstakingly negotiated over two terms. Barker gained unprecedented access to four central figures: Secretary of State John Kerry; Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations; Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor, and Barack Obama himself. What emerges is a portrait of an administration keen to secure its legacy, whether it’s climate change or Syria. Or a concerted attempt to shift the perception of America’s approach to foreign policy, from one enforced by military might to one of engagement, diplomacy and consensus. The urgency of their international work is juxtaposed against the turmoil of an election at home, which shifted from a foregone conclusion to the gradual realisation of just how different the incoming administration was likely to be. A tense and rich work that offers insight into the mechanisms of international relations, The Final Year is also a sobering look at how diplomacy is far tougher than bellicosity.

Tricia Tuttle

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Greg Barker, Director; Ambassador Samantha Power, Special Guest

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.