Film and TV

Documentary Filmmaker Randy Murray Captures Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Doc

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio loves the media and the media loves him. So does the Republican political establishment. So does the Tea Party. Through his six terms in office, the 82-year-old sheriff has perfected the media stunt and used public relation campaigns to keep journalists on his side -- or at least by his side. (A definite exception to the rule for critical coverage of Sheriff Joe is our partner paper, Phoenix New Times; at, you can find dozens of stories on Arpaio -- including accounts of how he arrested the then- owners because they refused to turn over readers' confidential information.)

Documentary filmmaker Randy Murray set out to chronicle the kooky politician -- and after eight years of filming was stunned by the number of lives the sheriff had destroyed. What started as a fluffy film had turned into a major expose of media corruption and political scandal. The Joe Show will screen Sunday as part of the DocuWest International Film Festival; in advance of that event, we spoke with Murray about his film.

See also: Skanks Documents a Community Drag Musical in Birmingham, Alabama

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris