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Filmmakers Desire to Motivate Social Change

11 Aug, 2008 By: Kyra Kudick

The presumptive nominees have been declared, the conventions are around the corner and by all accounts the 2008 race for the U.S. presidency is going to be one for the history books.

And as Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain battle for the White House, filmmakers battle to influence the voting public with socially conscious films.“It's not purely commercial,” Gary Baddeley, co-founder and CEO of The Disinformation Co., said of his reasons for making political films. “We do it for ideological reasons ... to discuss issues that are important to society — politics are front and center in social issues.”

This idea of “grass roots activism meets filmmaking” is evidenced in two films the company will release Aug. 26 through Ryko Distribution.

The Real McCain (DVD $9.95), by filmmaker Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed and Uncovered: The War on Iraq), features a series of 10 shorts he made for the Web to expose contradictions in McCain's public statements on policy, politics and social issues. “The popularity of the Web shorts has been just staggering,” Greenwald said. “Six million views on YouTube — people are looking for information they are not getting from the mainstream media.”

The DVD combines the shorts with exclusive on-camera commentary from political figures such as Jim Dean of Democracy for America, Dan Weiss from the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Baratunde Thurston of The Huffington Post.

While The Real McCain focuses on the current election, Uncounted (DVD $19.95), by first-time documentary director David Earnhardt, examines election fraud as a whole. “The 2000 presidential election was a wake-up call for me,” Earnhardt said of his inspiration for the film. “I thought, ‘this system doesn't work very well if the Supreme Court is determining who the president is.’

After the reports of alleged voter fraud again in the 2004 election, he said he began researching, embarking on a three-year journey to make a film about the “many different dysfunctions” in the voting system and ways to improve it.

The film includes interviews with such political players as Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance; Bernie Ellis, organizer for National Election Reform Conference; and Rep. John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

Additional titles related to the upcoming election and social politics include:

  • The documentary about Fox News Corp., Outfoxed: Fox Attacks! Special Collector's Edition (DVD $14.95), is available now from Ryko Distribution and The Disinformation Co.

  • Biography: John McCain and Biography: Barack Obama (DVD $12.95 each), available now from A&E Home Video.

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