Wednesday, February 12, 2014

We're the People - It's Not a Movie, It's a Movement

If there is one thing our generation is good at, it is having an opinion.

Our thoughts about current events are tweeted, our personal and economic distresses are complained about in status updates, and our support and passion for the things we care about come in the form of hash tags and “Likes.”

I believe that we were all born into a very passionate generation. But if we truly care about marriage rights, environmental laws and national security, what are we doing to have our voices heard?

Not a lot.

America not only has a low voter turnout, we have the lowest in the entire world.  And here’s the real kicker. Fifty Five percent of the eligible voters between the ages of 18-29 do not even vote in a national election. This means that during some of the most important political actions of our time, over half of an entire generation is choosing to disconnect, stay uneducated and remain voiceless.

It is pretty embarrassing when you think about it, isn’t it? So embarrassing in fact, that one woman has decided to make a movie about it.

Let me introduce you to Kim.



Kim works in the film industry in Los Angeles. She has created a number of film shorts and is currently a Production Assistant for The CW’s Hart of Dixie. She says that she knew at a young age she wanted to make movies.

“I was always just that weird kid that wanted to make a Power Rangers movie, or who's friends wanted to skateboard and I wanted to make a skate movie. It sounds so cliché, but there really wasn't anything else I ever wanted to do,” Kim says.

Now Kim is taking her talent to the next level by creating a documentary called We’re the People, set to release in early 2015. The documentary is intended, in a nonpartisan view, to bring awareness to young American’s disconnect with politics and to ask the question “why?”

While creating a documentary about politics is new venture for Kim, being passionate about it is not.

“I grew up in a very political family and I've always been interested in politics. It's really only been recently that I've gotten into it enough to feel like I could tackle a project like this. Senator Davis' filibuster last June was a big part of that. I remember being so inspired by her, but also by everyone that rallied around her and used that as a starting point to get involved in their own local politics,” she said. “That passion is where I got the idea for the movie. I really think that once we can understand [low voter turnout], we can start working with nonvoters to see if we can get them to feel that passion as well.”

The film will be shot this spring in Texas, a state with one of the lowest 18-29 year old voter turnouts in the country. Kim and her team plan to speak with college students, political activists, elected officials, and hopeful candidates so that they can further investigate and grasp why people aren't voting.

“I'm honestly just really excited to be in Texas, seeing the state and meeting people. I've been setting up interviews with people all over the state, and I'm really excited to finally meet those people face to face. I also love the idea of just showing up in random small towns and talking to people on the fly there,” Kim says. “Plus, I really want to come home with a southern accent.”

While the task of creating a documentary film can seem daunting, Kim says that she doesn't feel nervous about it. Rather, the importance of creating We're the People drives her to feel confident in her endeavor.

“I read an article the other day that said four million disabled Americans aren't voting. That's real. That's not something that can be ignored,” Kim said.

If you are like me, at this point you are probably thinking, “Yeah, they should really vote!” And then you realize…I don’t vote either. Crap.

Each of us have our own reasons why we don’t vote, whether it is because we aren't informed enough on the campaigns to know who to vote for, or just don’t care. Kim says she has heard her share of excuses as well.

“The most upsetting [reason not to vote] I hear a lot is, ‘It doesn't make a difference.’ If everyone said that, then nothing would ever get done.”

So what does Kim hope to accomplish with her film? To raise the percentage of voter turnout? Meet The President? Win an Academy Award? For her, it is pretty simple.

“I want my friend, Siera, to vote. You know? I want to see the needle move. I'm not crazy enough to think that once the film is finished, we'll immediately see hoards of new voters come out, but I do really think this is the start,” Kim says. “I also hope people see this and start to think about what they can do, in their own neighborhood. Not just to get out the vote, but to try and get involved and make a difference in something they're passionate and excited about.”

Passion is the core of what is driving Kim to share the message of Were the People with our generation and for her, the duty is personal.

“We owe it to our past. To the people that fought and died for the right to vote. To the people in other counties who are still dying to vote. I owe it to my Grandma, who never got to see me vote but would kick my ass if she knew I wasn't, “ Kim says.

The truth is, a whole mess of us would be getting an ass kicking if our ancestors knew that we were simply opting out of a right that they fought so hard for. This is why I admire Kim and her unique angle to make a difference through film.

She isn't making a movie about global warming, the healthcare system or poverty. Those films already fill up our Netflix queue. We have already watched them all on lazy Sundays and sleepless Tuesday nights. Kim knows we all have opinions and passions so now she is giving us a film that will challenge us to fight for our passions in one of the most assured ways to make a difference.

By voting.



If you would like to learn more about Kim, her team and the film, please visit werethepeople.org. More importantly, if you would like to support the We’re the People film as it goes through production, please DONATE here.

Be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter too!

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