The highlight of my two days here in Austin so far (besides stumbling up on the mega Whole Foods, which left me feeling overwhelmed and wanting to curl up in a fetal position under the locally grown organic pesticide free kumquat display) was definitely the screening of Run Granny Run. I love seeing great documentaries, and I especially love those which capture a story perfectly, and convey a much larger idea. This movie has yet to be picked up by any distributor, but do what you can to find it and see it!
Granny D, also known as Doris Haddock, first gained recognition for walking across the country at age 90 in 1999 to raise awareness for campaign finance reform. She then ran for senate in NH in 2004, going up against a two term Republican incumbent when the Democrat candidate suddenly dropped out in July of that year. She didn't think she would win, and in fact most didn't think she'd get more than 10% of the vote, but she ran to show that average citizens can and should play a role in democracy. She did end up losing, but not before showing up her opponent in a live debate and garnering nearly 40% of the vote in her state.
It was incredibly inspiring seeing the footage of this 90 year old woman walking across the country, stopping people in Chicago trying to get them to register to vote (something I have literally done myself!) - it really struck me in a way I wasn't anticipating. Seeing someone act on their convention in such a way, to take on such a burden and work so hard at her age was great! A great story and great film making. As a bonus, Granny D, now 97, was there along with the filmmaker with a Q and A session after the film.
The film ends with a statement from Granny D that I love:
"Democracy is not something we have, but something we do."
Use it as your new myspace quote!
Run Granny Run
South By Southwest