Documentary Films on American Elections (1920-2008)

Roselly Torres's picture

Ocoee: Legacy of the Election Day Massacre

Bianca White & Sandra Krasa, documentary, 26 minutes, 2002

In the early twentieth century, Ocoee was home to one of Florida's most prosperous African American communities. On Election Day 1920, Mose Norman and July Perry attempted to vote and the African American community was erased from Ocoee's history, until now. Through the voice of the grandson of the man that was lynched that day, Ocoee exposes the events that ensued when two black men exercised their right to vote. Now, Ocoee must confront its past in an effort of reconciliation and healing.

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Youth International Party, documentary, 10 minutes, 1968

Filmed as the official statement of the Youth International Party, this film is as freewheeling and irreverent as the Yippies themselves. It presents an overview of 1968 Chicago, Mayor Daley, and the pig the Yippies ran for president. The film juxtaposes orgy scenes from D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance" and Keystone Cops chases with Yippie antics in Chicago. The film also explores the issue of police brutality - both humorously and with an undercurrent of deep anger. This film was actually produced by and for yippies; Newsreel adopted it in order to bring it to a wider audience.



Summer '68

Norman Fruchter & John Douglas, documentary, 60 minutes, 1969

This film provides an in-depth examination of protest activities surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It documents draft resistance, the growth of G.I. coffee houses, the development of alternative media, and the early days of Newsreel itself. It explores the problems that the movement faced in using mainstream media to broadcast its message and also documents the philosophies, tactics, and problems of the student movement in the crucial year of 1968.



Chicago Convention Challenge

Newsreel, documentary, 17 minutes, 1968

Using footage taken in the midst of demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention of 1968, this film conveys the immediacy of anti-war organizing in meeting rooms, at rallies and in the streets. It is a valuable historical portrait of events that culminated in police riots against the protesters.

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Just Ralph

Clifton Watson, documentary, 11 minutes, 2005

An alternately serious and humorous "day in the life" of Ralph, a Palestinian-American grocery store owner, whose Brooklyn store is the neighborhood drop-in center. As the 2004 election approached, Ralph reflected on being a Palestinian and on voting for the first time, while the neighborhood chimed in. A short that wrecks the western media stereotype of Palestinians and displays a truly multicultural neighborhood. Part of the 2005 Call for Change Series.

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Schlock 'n Awe

Robert Lyons, animation, 3 minutes, 2004

Bush/Cheney 2004? This cartoon campaign parody asks the question - can this country survive four more years? Based on the Village Voice's long-running cartoon Schlock 'N Roll by Ward Sutton.

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Voices in the Street

J.T. Takagi & Herman Lew, documentary, 13 minutes, 2005

When the Republicans had their 2004 convention at Madison Square Garden, workers in the area from hot dog vendors to day laborers were directly affected. A short on the lives and thoughts of people working on the street and their relation to the political process. Part of the 2005 Call for Change Series.

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Keeping Speech Free

Third World Newsreel, documentary, 34 minutes, 2004

A half-hour program on the struggle to protect the first amendment rights of protestors. With hard-hitting documentation of the protests during the 2004 Republican National Convention in NYC, this is an essential document of the state of civil liberties in early 2000s America.

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Closer to the Dream

Hervé Cohen & Guetty Felin, documentary, 54 minutes, 2008

An electoral road movie about Barack Obama and the movement that united Americans across party, racial and ethnic lines. In 2008 Haitian-American filmmaker Guetty Felin, her husband, French filmmaker Hervé Cohen and their two biracial sons embark on a journey to witness the historical grassroots movement that elected the first US Black president. Shot in verité style, the film introduces us to the new face of America, ready to mark a new chapter in the nation's history.

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 Livia Camperi

Categories: Media, Video