Philadelphia Film Festival

The 19th annual Philadelphia Film Festival will feature 216 screenings of more than 100 domestic and international narrative and documentary films, as well as a multitude of fantastic short films. The Festival will also include exciting VIP receptions and events, a variety of panels with industry professionals and some very special guests. Films will be shown October 14 to 24 utilizing 11 different screens in 6 venues throughout Philadelphia as well as at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

Gerrymandering

Above to the right is a clip from the movie Gerrymandering featured

One of politics best-kept secrets, Gerrymandering takes a detailed look at this outdated political loophole, effectively explaining both its origins and the logic behind abolishing this act forever. Every ten years when the results of the census are returned, district lines are redrawn to match the current population trends; Gerrymandering refers to the practice of allowing incumbent politicians to determine where those lines fall, and as one commentator says, “Lines never happen by accident”. Wielding the pen, politicians can make their districts look however they’d like, contain whoever they like, and exclude whoever they don’t. It is a tool that transcends party lines, and is used by both Democrats and Republicans. When done “correctly,” it all but silences the voices of any minority (be they racial, ethnic, political) the incumbents deem threatening. Our democracy is built on a system of checks and balances: if a politician does a good job, his constituents re-elect him, and if he does a poor job, he is replaced. This effective, well-paced documentary by first-time filmmaker Jeff Reichert poses a simple scenario: what happens when the people’s power to speak out against unwanted politicians is revoked? By highlighting California’s 2008 campaign to pass Proposition 11, which changes the policies that allow Gerrymandering to occur, and featuring insight from top analysts, activists and politicians, Gerrymandering explores what happens when a population’s voice is silenced not by oppression, but by loopholes. You may never have heard of Gerrymandering before, but after watching this doc you’re sure to have an opinion on the practice. — Jared Miller