This is YOUR movie. It started three years ago before Dean left office as the Governor of Vermont. I have to ask you for your support now because I've had two kids since the production started and I can't do it alone anymore.
Therefore, I'm giving you the vision we have for this film (below)before the final cut is made.
Grassroots filmmaking takes heart and money. The objective is to show how YOU, the GRASSROOTS, chose Howard Dean to lead the Democratic Party and why you did it.
This documentary is already shot but needs to be put together now. You get a dvd and your name in the credits for a small donation.
It's our hope that we can do this together instead of relying on corporate interests and unoriginal participants. The whole world is watching Howard Dean and the people who chose him to speak the truth about America. We intend to show who he really is and why the grassroots are looking to Dean to lead America back to a morally respected beacon of hope for the world.
Heath, director, thegrassrootsmovie.com
American presidential politics used to be a serious subject that mainstream politicians and mainstream media presented to us, the citizenry. Now that's all changed.
It all began when I left New York City for the farm life of Vermont,
which consisted of sitting on my back deck overlooking the Green
Mountains and watching other farmers farm.
Then came 9/11. Then I heard the governor of Vermont was having his official portrait painted. I didn't see the connection right away. But I picked up my dv camera to follow the creation of the painting and, just after the portrait was officially presented, the governor declared his bid for
the presidency. It was time to leave the farm.
I set out to follow with camera the man in the painting as far as he
went. However, only official media were welcome--a strange attitude for a grassroots campaign. But the absurdities of presidential politics
had just begun. So I created my own official media credentials by
creating my own official media (Internet), DeanTV.org., and I hit the
campaign trail in my `74 green Landcruiser as the network's lone
When you enter new territory, it's wise to find a guide. Dante had
Virgil, Odysseus had Athena, and for the two years I was on the road I
had an army of grassroots Dean supporters who were traveling cross-country to rally behind Dean as he moved toward the primaries. I also
had a longtime family friend, Deanna Kamiel, a documentary producer, who gave me ongoing camera and production feedback by phone and email.
The Wisconsin primary was the event that gave me the sense of
history-in-the-making. Photographing Ted Kennedy as he moved, handshake by handshake, through throngs of supporters, brought to mind the first media moment in American politics when filmmakers Maysles, Pennebaker, Leacock and Drew made the prototype--the 1960 political documentary Primary, also in Wisconsin, also following a Kennedy.
The warmest moment occurred in Mason City, Iowa, where the temperature, by contrast, was 30 below zero. I was following Ted Mondale, son of former Vice-President Walter Mondale, as he canvassed door-to-door for Dean in this working class area during the lead-up to the Iowa caucus and Dean's lethal defeat.
Ted Mondale, like his father, born to the Democratic Party tradition in
Minnesota, was my first childhood mentor. He walked into my mother's
art gallery in Minneapolis and we've talked politics ever since--at
Vikings games, fishing trips, and during his attempted run for governor
against Jesse Ventura.
I too was born into politics. My mother was pregnant with me when she
volunteered on Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign that led to the
historic `68 Democratic convention.
The Dean campaign, I was discovering, was also historic. Individual
Americans, not political or media elite, powered the Dean movement.
This, I realized, was the real story. Grassroots politics--and grassroots media. The campaign was a contest between insiders and
outsiders: the mainstream versus the grassroots. That was my film.
I connected with other grassroots outsiders. Most often they were
Dean's original people, individual citizens, each with their own
voice--direct and unmediated. This is how I met Harriet Ward
of Concord, New Hampshire, Marina Meerburg of Stowe, Vermont, and Darius Mitchell, who ran for City Council in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Only an outsider, it turned out, would attend one of Howard Dean's final public events: the Burlington, Vermont hockey game in which his son, wearing sweater Number 12, was playing his last regular season game as a senior defenseman.
As I photographed Dean in the bleachers, munching a macrobiotic cookie
with his arm around his wife, Judy, I marveled that, for once, I didn't
have to fight for a camera position. In a matter of hours, the
candidate had metamorphosed from media icon to media cartoon.
Correspondingly, the media horde, once a multitude, had dispersed. The
speed of transformation was breathtaking.
The media had gone. But the movement had just begun.
Heath Eiden, director
Deanna Kamiel, co-producer