Top documentarians join Democratic Super PAC

Led by filmmaker Lee Hirsch (pictured), the documentarians are developing a series of ads for battleground states plus traditional Republican strongholds ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
September 7, 2016

A group of America’s top documentary filmmakers have joined Local Voices, a Democratic Super PAC, to “capture today’s voters, in their own words” for the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Founded by filmmaker Lee Hirsch (Amandla!, Bully) (pictured) in 2008, Local Voices will use the roster of premier documentarians in a series of campaign ads in battleground states plus traditional Republican strongholds.

The 2016 election is the the Super PAC’s third consecutive engagement with the national political cycle, and participating filmmakers will showcase the ideals, beliefs and judgement calls of everyday Americans in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia and Utah.

Local Voices roaster of documentarians for the 2016 presidential election includes: Amir Bar-Lev, (Happy Valley, The Tillman Story); Amy Berg, (West of Memphis, Deliver Us from Evil); Marshall Curry (Street Fight, Point and Shoot); Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You); Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone? and Love Marilyn); Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You); Kristi Jacobson, (A Place at the Table, Solitary); Gabriel London, (The Mind of Mark DeFriest , Youth Authority); Tyler Measom (Sons of Perdition, An Honest Liar); Diana Whitten (Vessel); and Roger Ross Williams (Life, Animated, God Loves Uganda).

“Local Voices’ ad campaigns have proven to be uniquely effective because we are creating opportunities for voters in local markets, red or blue, to talk about the election on their own terms. We are sidestepping manufactured political messages and letting people speak for themselves, neighbor-to-neighbor,” said Hirsch in a statement.

Using a documentary approach, Local Voices’ award-winning ads capture the concerns of rural and working-class voters in unscripted and personal commentaries. The ads are aired in the same communities where they were filmed, with the goal of enabling the spots to speak to the singular concerns and hopes of each community.

In 2012, Local Voices’ spent $1.4 million on its ad campaign, reaching more than 20 million people through 29 ads. For the 2016 election, the Super PAC hopes to raise $5 million to create over 50 ads to be broadcast locally and distributed nationally on social media.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.