Let The People Decide


1H 48MIN

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Available on 10/10/2020 10am
This film traces the history of the struggle over voting rights from 1960 through the present day. Over those nearly 60 years this film connects the dots in a way meant to show that the conflicts over voting that are raging now did not burst forth from a vacuum, but are a part of a perpetual struggle centered around race, power and politics. The film is in 3 acts: Act 1 takes place in Mississippi from 1961-1964. In this instance, Mississippi is a proxy for the entire southern struggle for voting rights. We follow Bob Moses and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as they try to encourage impoverished and illiterate share croppers to register to vote under threat of both economic and violent retaliation. Act 2 focuses on the era after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is the political era when the "Southern Strategy" was hatched and the former "Solid South" of the Democratic Party, flipped to the Republican party. We trace this political movement from George Wallace and Barry Goldwater to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Act 3 brings us to the present day. Much the way Act 1 used Mississippi as a proxy for the south in the early 1960's, Act 3 uses North Carolina as a proxy for the rest of the United States with regard to the struggle over the political fallout of the US Supreme Court decision "Shelby v. Holder". This ruling in 2013 severely weakened the Voting Rights Act, and many states rushed to enact new voting measures that they claimed were meant to protect the "integrity" of the ballot box. Civil Rights groups challenged these laws as racially discriminatory and designed to prevent minorities and the poor from voting. We follow Rev. Dr. William Barber II of the North Carolina NAACP as the Moral Monday movement that he leads challenges these laws in the streets and the courts. This film is non-partisan in nature and works to represent all sides of the issue, and the arguments over voting is itself the crux of the story. Today, both sides of the debate will state that voting is sacred heart of a democracy, yet they both feel that elections are inherently "unfair". "Let The People Decide" relies of first person accounts from the civil rights movement from more than 50 years ago as well as on the ground civil disobedience conflicts from today's struggles. With more than 40 interviews to date, the film has input from several generations of historians, authors, activists, politicians, professors and entertainers who help paint a picture of the conflict that spans those generations in eerily similar tones.

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Director Biography - Gavin Guerra

Gavin Guerra graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1990 and has since spent over 29 years creating award winning visual entertainment. During that time he has worked in many formats (Film, TV, Theater, Interactive) on many fantastic projects (X2- Xmen United, Vertical Limit, Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, as well as countless commercials and show opens).
In addition to making his documentary film directing debut, Gavin has been an adjunct professor of film making and computer generated visual effects at various colleges and universities for 18 years and is currently producing the new planetarium domed space show film for the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Links: www.vramfx.com, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1989440/, https://www.linkedin.com/in/gavin-guerra-73358b/

Director Statement

Some stories present themselves and others need to be extracted. Being someone with an intense interest in history, as well as spending decades in the film industry, this story of race and voting was one that I could not wait for someone else to do. I was in the audience for a cast reunion of the TV mini-series "Roots," when they challenged the audience by asking what are WE (the audience) doing to promote social justice in today's society. This film, Let The People Decide is a direct result of that challenge.


Directed by Gavin Guerra

Written by Gavin Guerra

Produced by Gavin Guerra
Santosh Gunaseelan

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