Also representatives from “Just Voices” were there selling DVD’s of Budrus (even though that film was playing) and an earlier film “Encounter Point” (check Netlfix). However, I picked “Gerrymandering”, directed by Jeff Reichert, from the Green Film Production Company (the director says it is self-distributed). The director held a Q&A afterward. The film appears one week after Sony's "Inside Job" and is perhaps a valuable, if low-budget, counterpoint.
The film, of course, deals with the process of redistricting, which happens after every diennial census, and will start in April 2011. Politicians, of course, use this to “appoint their voters” and insulate themselves from competition. Much of the “story” deals with Proposition 11 in California, which Gov. Schwarzenegger supported in 2008. The Ballotpedia entry on this bill is here.
Even though it’s easy to blast gerrymandering, it’s hard to come up with a philosophically clean alternative. Some democracies, like Germany, use proportional representation, a movement that was getting some traction in the United States in the late 1990s.
The website for the film is here.
The small auditorium was about half full for the 9:45 PM show. The sound left something to be desired; it seemed to be mono. The screen is small, but properly shaped for 2.35:1 (this film appeared to be conventional digital video at 16:9). I've never seen "Stella Artois" placards on movie seats before. The seats are separated, and do not have cupholders.
Update: Nov. 1
Check the Washington Post editorial "Time for redistricting reform" here. Note the detailed explanaitons of Propositions 20 and 27, on the ballot Nov. 3 in California; one expanding the duties of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, the other abolishing it. There are also two important ballot initiatives in Florida.