‘A House Divided’ Looks at Brothers Turned Political Enemies

Jade Sacker’s new documentary, “A House Divided,” will explore the story of two brothers interracially adopted at birth by a white Morman family, who grew up to become bitter ideological rivals during the Trump era presidency.

The examination of how the ties that bind can be severed at a time of hyper-partisanship emerged after Sacker met brothers John and James Sullivan on opposing sides of a police barricade. They were there to protest on behalf of their respective political champions at the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah.

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

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

“A House Divided,” which has not been announced but is currently in post-production, follows John and James Sullivan as they grapple with identity, familial trauma, race in America, and their personal ideologies in the lead-up to, and aftermath of, the 2020 U.S. presidential election. 

The brothers rose to prominence on opposite sides of the political aisle, one as a former leader in Black Lives Matter in Utah (before his increased radicalization led to his disavowal by people involved in that movement) and the other involved in the Patriot Movement, a far-right nationalist group of protestors that he later distanced himself from. Their journeys take an unexpected turn as one brother becomes the only Black and only liberal activist arrested at the Jan. 6 Insurrection (an incident that was widely covered, with Sacker finding herself caught in the middle of a media maelstrom due to her presence filming the riot for the documentary).  

“A House Divided” is executive produced by Mike Jackson, John Legend, Austyn Biggers and Ty Stiklorius on behalf of Get Lifted Film Co. and Sacker Entertainment Law’s Neil Sacker, with financing from 51 Fund, Salty Pictures, AGC Studios, Relativity Media, and Kast 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 also how it can fracture and impact family bonds,” said Jackson on behalf of Get Lifted. “It’s a fascinating inside look at one unique family guided by Jade, who brings an intimate and compassionate 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 as a nonprofit photographer in Nepal and Kenya, she traveled to Myanmar and Bangladesh to cover the Rohingya genocide as an independent journalist before taking a position at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia. She began her first long-term project in Northern Syria at 20 years old by volunteering for, and embedding in, the Kurdish military before returning to work at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Sacker 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 story producer for the film, and Christelle Powell is editor.

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

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