What better time than presidential election season for online indie distributor SnagFilms to launch "Snag the Vote 2012," a free online film festival running through Election Day? The fest will feature more than 100 documentaries highlighting ten key issues defining the 2012 presidential election, from Economy and Jobs and Health Care to Immigration, the Environment and National Security.
Among the films are ten digital premieres in October using Sang's Social Screening ™ technology that connects viewers to each other as well as filmmakers and experts. This social media-enabled viewing platform replicates the film festival experience: while people at the screening site are watching the film live in-theater, the rest of the world can watch at the same time, invite their friends to view with them, see and/or join the feeds of folks commenting, and pose questions to the director and any special guests. Any blog or media organization can pull this experience into their site.
SnagFilms' CEO Rick Allen states: “Snag the Vote 2012 brings the election’s big issues to life in the most compelling and thoughtful way — with great films from noted directors." He adds that the recent announcement of Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan prompted both campaigns "to declare this to be an election about ideas – and like every American, we hope so.”
This initiative has potential to inform and engage audiences/citizens in a meaningful way, says Allen: "We believe smart films make for smarter politics.”
The online festival will kick-off with a Social Screening on August 23 of "The After Party," a doc that arose out of the 2004 Republican National Convention, and led to a landmark First Amendment case. The debut of a series titled "Red State Rialto" on August 25 will coincide with the 2012 Republican National Convention. The series will look at core issues through the partisan eyes of the Right. The Democrats get their turn with "Demo Docs," starting September 1 and coinciding with the Democratic Convention. It will kick-off with "Becoming Barack," an examination of Obama's road to the Presidency.
Complementing the online festival is daily commentary and journalism from both ends of the political spectrum, plus polling research and video content. Indiewire's Anthony Kaufman, of ReelPolitik, is among the contributors.
Details on the premiere titles below:
More than 1800 arrests were made during protests around the Republican National Convention in New York City, among them a film crew. "The After Party" has appearances by Andre ‘3000’, Barak Obama, twins Jenna and Barbara Pierce Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Al Sharpton – and a warrantless police spying operation uncovered by the civil rights law suit that resulted from the crew’s arrest. The film examines the thin line between security and freedom in an era of domestic surveillance, and premieres August 23.
With the Economy leading national polls as voters’ primary concern, it is no wonder that "Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?" is stunning worldwide audiences. An expose of the complex story behind the worldwide economic collapse, “Heist,” writes the New York Times, “has the virtue of taking the long view of a crisis that recent films like ‘Inside Job’ and ‘Too Big to Fail’ have only sketchily explored. It makes a strong case that government regulation is essential for democracy to flourish.” The film comes from its theatrical run to premiere in a Snag Social Screening™ in October.
The key issue of National Security is headlined by “S.O.S. State of Security,” featuring former counter terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who famously warned the Bush Administration about the dangers of Al Qaeda, and yet took responsibility for not preventing the attack on 9/11. Michele Ohayon’s film explores current threats to American democracy and assesses our readiness to thwart attacks in the future. “S.O.S.: State of Security” premieres in a Snag Social Screening™ in October.
“Harvest of Empire,” based on journalist Juan Gonzalez book of the same name, connects the history of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America to the immigration crisis now faced by the United States. “Harvest of Empire” reconstructs an under-reported foreign affairs story that has more impact on the lives of border-state Americans than many of the conflicts frequently in the headlines from elsewhere in the world. “Harvest of Empire” premieres in a Snag Social Screening™ in October.
SnagFilms is founded on the belief that art is part of the political process. That’s why we’re proud to feature the first release of Tribeca Film Festival and critical-favorite “Let Fury Have the Hour” as a part of “Snag the Vote 2012.” This film, written and directed by author and artist Antonino D’Ambrosio, chronicles how a generation of visual artists, musicians, writers, and activists used “creative response” to foment social change and activate youth participation in the politics. “Let Fury Have the Hour” features Eve Ensler, Chuck D, John Sayles, Billy Bragg, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Shepard Fairey. The film’s Snag Social Screening™ is in October.
Artist Shepard Fairey — who is responsible for the iconic 2008 Obama "Hope" poster — has also created a series of six posters for "Snag the Vote 2012," inspired by an image from author/filmmaker Antonino D'Ambrosio's "Let Fury Have the Hour," one festival premiere.