Friday, September 2, 2016

A Grassroots Documentary About a Grassroots Political Candidate

A few weeks ago, Charlie Hardy, age 77, came in second to Ryan Greene in Wyoming's Democratic Primary for Congress. He collected 7,568 votes, or 42%, while Greene tallied 10,580 votes for 58%.

But the political story won't end there. Yesterday, a Kickstarter campaign for Charlie vs. Goliath, a feature documentary project about Hardy's earlier run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, just made it past the campaign goal of $40,000. In the wake of Bernie Sanders' run for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hardy's story is set to resonate.

In 2014, Hardy did win the Democratic Party's nomination for U.S. Senate, but lost in the fall to longtime Republican incumbent opponent Mike Enzi, who embraced the kinds of traditional campaign fundraising that Hardy eschewed.

The film was directed by Ketchum, Idaho filmmaker Reed Lindsay. He tells the Idaho Mountain Express that he first met Hardy in Venezuela in 2003, where at the time Hardy, then a priest, was living in a cardboard shack and ministering to the poor. A decade later, when Hardy decided to run for public office in his hometown of Cheyenne, he asked Lindsay to document it:

"I feel very passionate about the issue of money in politics," Lindsay said. "Someone who voluntarily lived in a cardboard shack in Venezuela for eight years doesn’t usually win office."
Hardy galvanized a ragtag band of all-volunteer campaign aides, including some young men he’d worked with in South America who traveled to Wyoming to help the campaign, as well as a group of young volunteers gathered from cities in Wyoming who were inspired by his messages of campaign finance reform and social justice.
"He’s gotten a lot of young people in Wyoming who haven’t been politically active before," Lindsay said.

Sound familiar? Lindsay funded the production portion for Charlie vs. Goliath out of his own pocket. The money raised on Kickstarter will be used to underwrite the post-production phase, with Lindsay hoping he can finish editing in time for screenings around the Presidential election in November.

Read Lindsay's Director's Statement here.

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