I’m not technically at SILVERDOCS yet (that happens this weekend), but I was lucky enough to see a terrific new film that just had its world premiere there: Convention. Filmmaker AJ Schnack tasked an assortment of acclaimed documentarians to capture the intense and entertaining events that surrounded last year’s Democratic National Convention. The final film is at times gripping, thrilling, and propulsive. AJ and his crew of shooters (which included doc favorites such as Laura Poitras, Daniel Junge, and more) managed to cover so many angles of the event. There’s the disenfranchised protesters, the ambitious young reporter, the city government officials. It’s the story of how one medium-sized city was affected and impacted during this historic occasion.
What works best about Convention, in my opinion, is the claustrophobia of the situation and the way it comes together onscreen. At various points in the film, we see the same situation simultaneously from a variety of POVs, and it creates a fever of anticipation even though we know how it all ends. The DNC happens, of course, and the stakes are never as high as perhaps what’s happening in Iran right now. However, the snapshot of this moment in time, is developed into a stirring portrait of Americans at work.