It seems like years since I started blogging for Howard Dean and then filming one of the greatest grassroots movements in modern history. It started under the shadow of a thing called the "Iraq War."
Well, I guess it has been years--about six, in fact, since the idea came to mind in Stowe, Vermont.
Some ask, "Well, Howard Dean, who cares about him anymore? Who has the Hillary film, who's inside the Obama campaign? When the question could be, "Wow, what if Howard Dean didn't stand up in the first place and ask his fellow Democrats, WHAT I WANT TO KNOW...."
Of course, Howard went on to defy so many in the Democratic Party and take over the DNC. From there, he engineered the real push, using a 50 state strategy, that stopped the onslaught of single party rule and was the beginning of the long slog we have ahead to elect more, and better, Democrats.
I'm premeiring the film at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I grew up there and learned about the grassroots tradition there.
Here's the website for a little more info about the festival in case you are in Minneapolis-St. Paul and would like to attend:
Gotta go, but here's a press release for now. Feel free to inquire for more information at any time. Save the balcony! (actually, I don't think there is one in this theater--but you know what I mean)
"Dean and Me" Premiering at M-SPIFF
Director brings the story of Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign home to Minnesota.
The feature documentary also stars Al Franken and Ted Mondale.
Friday, April 4, 2008 CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, thegrassrootsmovie.com
While the battle wages on for the Democratic nomination between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Minnesota native Heath Eiden will be unveiling his film about the process presidential candidates have to go through to get there at the Minnesota-St. Paul International Film Festival at 5:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 (St. Anthony Main).
The 88-minute feature film, "Dean and Me: Roadshow of an American Primary," follows Howard Dean’s meteoric rise and fall as a presidential candidate. It also brings you into the Democratic National Committee where, as chairman, Dean made a political comeback to engineer the 2006 mid-term election landslide.
The film started when Eiden, a new father, became concerned about the direction his country was going in after 911. So he picked up a camera and started filming his neighbor in Vermont who was telling people at backyard barbeques why the war in Iraq might not be such a good idea. Before long, other people started following Dean too.
The director discovers that Americans have a funny way of choosing their leaders as he finds himself doggedly at the center of the race. He catches up close and personal, what the rest of the country only saw on CNN and Fox News.
"The film is about the triumph of the spirit to carry on even in the face of humiliation," said Eiden. "Howard Dean could have disappeared from the map after the so-called Dean scream. He didn’t. He stormed back and is playing an increasingly influential role in the Democratic Party. He’s making sure the rules are followed."
The filmmaker persists as well. Despite his growing family obligations, Eiden creates a video blog along with his own media credentials and shadows his subjects across the country. He runs into current U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken in Manchester, New Hampshire. In Mason City, Iowa he follows Ted Mondale, son of the vice president, while canvassing for votes. Hillary Clinton, Martin Sheen and Ted Kennedy also appear.
Producer Deanna Kamiel (KTCA’s Nuclear Outpost, Mickey’s Diner, Prairie, Boys with Bats, Milgrom’s Obsession) worked with Eiden via phone and email as he negotiated the twists and turns of the campaign. The result was a massive amount of footage—over 200 hours—that was edited by New York City’s Iris Cahn (Godfrey Reggio's Powaqqatsi, The Curiosity Cabinet of Vic Muniz' by Anne-Marie Russell) who also co-produced.
"People really felt like they were part of something during the height of the movement Dean started," said Eiden. "That movement continues today as so many more people are becoming empowered to do something about the direction their country is going in. They’re demanding a voice in their democracy. It’s an honor to go back home to share this story at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival."
CONTACT: email@example.com, thegrassrootsmovie.com