Why aren't Americans voting? And what is the fate of our democracy if we can't even convince a majority of citizens to participate in one of the most important, defining acts of a democratic society? Voting in America is a provocative collection of nine short films that aim to increase voter participation in the 2004 elections - particularly among historically marginalized constituencies like communities of color, formerly incarcerated individuals, single mothers and youth.
From early Greek democracy to present-day US, people have implemented new ways to vote. And just as surely, others have implemented new ways to cheat. Using a cast of non-partisan animal characters who change costume as time marches forward, this animated four-minute film delves into the whole issue of voting corruption with irony and a good dose of humor.
17 seeks to dispel some of the stereotypes surrounding youth voters by focusing on a politically active teen who was a key player in recent challenges to the 26th Amendment: the right of citizens to vote upon reaching the age of 18.
A Navajo punk rock band formed by the children of a traditional medicine man and nurtured on the songs and dance of their forefathers turn to a more aggressive brand of music to promote Native American empowerment. With an important national election approaching, they hit the stages of the reservation where they grew up to encourage its people to exercise their political voice through their right to vote.
Despite years of disenfranchisement, the Latino and African American communities in Lockhart, Texas are fighting back – registering voters, running for local office, organizing the first ever MLK day march in their community. Texas Majority Minority shows how important voting is, not only in determining elections but also in preventing political apartheid in Texas.
Voter News Service reports that over 5% of the voting population in the U.S. identifies as gay or lesbian. Out Of The Closet Into The Booth explores how the gay community has galvanized itself into a viable voting bloc and what the implications are for the upcoming 2004 presidential elections.
Darnita Goodman last voted when she was 18. Twenty years later, she works double shifts, takes care of her kids and a houseful of extended family, and doesn't have the time or inclination to vote again. A moving picture of life in a typically disenfranchised community, the film reveals the multiple factors that contribute to her alienation and ultimate disengagement from the democratic process.
Voting in America
VOTING IN AMERICA
Co-produced by Laura Harrison and Charlotte Lagarde
9 short films - 83:00 - 2004
Aired on PTV and Free Speech TV
“Truly engaging. Real feelings, real people, anecdotal and not preachy.The featured people were able to communicate succinctly about voting,and always in a culturally relevant way.”
Jennifer Bonardi, Democracy Matters
“Powerful! They demonstrated how far advocates and activists must reach in order to really make change.”
Lisa Prosienski, Common Cause
“A very good example of how the electoral system in this country is not as democratic as people think.”
Laura Mullins, ACORN
“It will inspire voters to vote and motivate citizens to volunteer forget out the vote efforts”
Dean Liscum, Get Out The Vote coordinator for Ft. Bend County
James & Marina Harrison, The Ben & Jerry's Foundation, The Nu Lambda Trust, Karen & Bill Froming, Victor Romero & Michael Dunn, The Lagarde Charitable Trust, Don & Gayle Nathe, Mr. & Mrs. James W. Growney, The LEF Foundation, Vivie Lee & Kate Goka, Suzanne Lampert & Barbara Brenner, Lee Ann Slinkard, The Blue Mountain Center, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and many individual donors (A complete list of donors is available from Swell Cinema).
Developed in association with the Independent Television Services (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).