DUBAI: American documentary “Knock Down the House” created a buzz in the film industry when it had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
The film, about four female US primary candidates, has an approval rating of 100 percent on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
Director Rachel Lears said the response to the film had made her hope it will encourage political participation.
“I do hope it can be a tool for people who are organizing for change in our government and in our democratic process, but also hope it can encourage people to engage with the political process who might not otherwise feel left out,” Lears told Arab News.
Lears said she was inspired to make the documentary after the 2016 US presidential elections.
“After the 2016 election a lot of ordinary people wanted to get involved in politics,” she said, explaining that there was a “wave” of women, people of color, as well as political outsiders and first-time candidates who stood to compete in the 2018 midterm elections.
Lears believes this was influenced by the Trump administration’s policies, which left some communities feeling under-represented. “I was really interested in highlighting the work of people who were working really hard to connect the struggles of different communities around the country.”
Aside from successful campaigner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Lears’ documentary followed Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin. The candidates came from different backgrounds but represented the same ideals — they refused corporate donations and aimed to represent the average working-class person.
Lears said she wanted to focus on those who had “grass-roots” campaigns. “I was looking for people who would be really interesting to watch no matter what happens with their elections. Of course, there was a very real possibility that all four of them might have lost.”
Ocasio-Cortez was the first candidate Lears met, in March 2017. Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic Party’s primary election for New York on June 26, 2018, defeating Joe Crowley in what was widely seen as the biggest victory in the 2018 US mid-term elections.
Knock Down the House was released on May 1 on Netflix.