A tight-knit group of friends travel to Cumberland County, North Carolina county - named 2016 “posterchild” for voter suppression - intent on proving that the big idea of American democracy can be defended by small acts of individual citizens. What they find at the polls serves as both a warning and a call to action for anyone interested in protecting the “One Person, One Vote” fundamental of our democracy.
Capturing The Flag begins in the fall of 2016 as three old friends - Laverne, Steve and Claire – travel from New York to North Carolina to do voter protection work at the polls. Laverne and Steve have been volunteering their time and resources in this way since 2008, but this is Claire’s first election as a U.S. Citizen after immigrating from South Africa 18 years ago. In North Carolina, they are joined by a fourth friend, Trista, who is inspired by their actions at the last moment. We spend the days before Election Day in Cumberland County, fully embedded with our team as they work to protect voters in the first presidential election since the 2013 dismantling of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Through their eyes and efforts -- and the hundreds of voters they try to assist -- the human dimension of democracy comes into focus. Their intimate journeys as citizens of conscience uncover stories about the strength and fragility of American democracy that are rarely heard.
Dealing with themes that are constantly sensationalized and manipulated in the media -- Left vs. Right, North vs. South, Black vs. White -- Capturing The Flag offers instead deeply personal, often surprising perspectives on the 2016 Presidential Election and its aftermath. We follow our volunteers through an anxious poll-closing, then accompany them through the harrowing returns. Deflated, they return home. And regroup. They search for new alliances and pathways to battle voter suppression, finding inspiration in the growing movement of non-partisan pro-democracy organizations in both New York and North Carolina.
Joining us will be Director Anne De Mare. Anne is an Emmy-Award winning documentary filmmaker whose feature film exploring the realities of youth homelessness, The Homestretch (Independent Lens), received the 2015 Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting - Long Form. Anne is a fierce believer in the power of story to affect change and worked on that film’s extensive impact campaign for over two years, personally speaking at 58 events in 23 cities and engaging everyone from senior Federal policy officials to local housing authorities to at-risk youth and high school audiences. Most recently, Anne was Co-Producer on the PBS documentary Deej (America ReFramed), winner of the prestigious 2017 Peabody Award. She has been a Sundance Institute Fellow, part of the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase program, and an Associate Artist with Chicago’s legendary Kartemquin Films. Her work has been supported by MacArthur Foundation, Sundance Institute, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ITVS, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and POV/American Documentary Inc. (among others). Anne’s first feature, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, explored the relationship between asparagus farmers in rural western Michigan and the changing global economy. That film was winner of the 2006 W.K. Kellogg Good Food Film Award as well as Audience Choice and Best Documentary awards at festivals across the country. In 2010 and 2011, she worked closely with the late, great historian Michael Nash and NYU Bobst Libraries to create an extensive filmed archive of women who worked in munitions factories during WWII, accessible online as The Real Rosie The Riveter Project. Together with her long-time film partner Kirsten Kelly, Anne is currently in development for a feature documentary exploring the cycle of male violence against women, and, together with producer Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, Anne and Kirsten are in production for The Girl With the Rivet Gun, a dynamic animated documentary project based on personal histories of real-life Rosie the Riveters.