ABOUT THE FILM
A tight-knit group of friends travel to Cumberland County, North Carolina county - named 2016 “posterchild” for voter suppression - intent on proving that the big idea of American democracy can be defended by small acts of individual citizens. What they find at the polls serves as both a warning and a call to action for anyone interested in protecting the “One Person, One Vote” fundamental of our democracy.
Capturing The Flag begins in the fall of 2016 as three old friends - Laverne, Steve and Claire – travel from New York to North Carolina to do voter protection work at the polls. Laverne and Steve have been volunteering their time and resources in this way since 2008, but this is Claire’s first election as a U.S. Citizen after immigrating from South Africa 18 years ago. In North Carolina, they are joined by a fourth friend, Trista, who was inspired to volunteer at the last moment. We spend the days before Election Day in Cumberland County, fully embedded with our team as they work to protect voters in the first presidential election since the 2013 dismantling of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Through their eyes and efforts -- and the hundreds of voters they try to assist -- the human dimension of democracy comes into focus. Their intimate journeys as citizens of conscience uncover stories about the strength and fragility of American democracy that are rarely heard.
Dealing with themes that are constantly sensationalized and manipulated in the media -- Left vs. Right, North vs. South, Black vs. White -- Capturing The Flag offers instead deeply personal, often surprising perspectives on the 2016 Presidential Election and its aftermath. We follow our volunteers through an anxious poll-closing, then accompany them through the harrowing returns. Deflated, they return home. And regroup. They search for new alliances and pathways to battle voter suppression, finding inspiration in the growing movement of non-partisan pro-democracy organizations in both New York and North Carolina.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Anne de Mare
Anne is an Emmy-Award winning documentary filmmaker whose feature film exploring the realities of youth homelessness, The Homestretch (Independent Lens), received the 2015 Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting - Long Form. Anne is a fierce believer in the power of story to affect change and worked on that film’s extensive impact campaign for over two years, personally speaking at 58 events in 23 cities and engaging everyone from senior Federal policy officials to local housing authorities to at-risk youth and high school audiences. Most recently, Anne was Co-Producer on the PBS documentary Deej (America ReFramed), winner of the prestigious 2017 Peabody Award. She has been a Sundance Institute Fellow, part of the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase program, and an Associate Artist with Chicago’s legendary Kartemquin Films. Her work has been supported by MacArthur Foundation, Sundance Institute, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ITVS, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and POV/American Documentary Inc. (among others). Anne’s first feature, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, explored the relationship between asparagus farmers in rural western Michigan and the changing global economy. That film was winner of the 2006 W.K. Kellogg Good Food Film Award as well as Audience Choice and Best Documentary awards at festivals across the country. In 2010 and 2011, she worked closely with the late, great historian Michael Nash and NYU Bobst Libraries to create an extensive filmed archive of women who worked in munitions factories during WWII, accessible online as The Real Rosie The Riveter Project. Together with her long-time film partner Kirsten Kelly, Anne is currently in development for a feature documentary exploring the cycle of male violence against women, and, together with producer Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, Anne and Kirsten are in production for The Girl With the Rivet Gun, a dynamic animated documentary project based on personal histories of real-life Rosie the Riveters.
Capturing The Flag is the brainchild of Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, who learned about Laverne Berry’s volunteer voter protection efforts while working in partnership with her on the upcoming documentary Perfectly Normal For Me (a recipient of Latino Public Television’s 2016 Public Media Content Fund). Elizabeth is the Producer of Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was named one of the five essential documentaries of 2013 by Tribeca Institute. She is also Associate Producer on The Homestretch (Emmy Award, Independent Lens, 2015) and the Executive Producer of The Real Rosie the Riveter Project (NYU Bobst Libraries). Elizabeth is a Board member of PEN America and The Hunter College Foundation. Elizabeth is also an accomplished playwright and screenwriter; she wrote and produced the short narrative film, Good Sister, starring Jessica Hecht and Grant Shaud, which premiered in 2013 at the Boston International Film Festival and has screened in festivals across the country. Her current projects in film include Perfectly Normal For Me and The Girl With The Rivet Gun (both as Producer); and in musical theater: We Can Do It! (Librettist). Her published plays include Squall, Road Rage and Pissed Sister (Playscripts, Inc.).
Although slightly unusual, the driving force of the film's narrative is also central to the producing team. Laverne Berry (Producer) is an entertainment and media business affairs attorney representing independent film and television producers, directors, production companies, distribution companies, authors and media companies. Drawing on eighteen years as a television producer and distribution executive before becoming a lawyer, Laverne understands both the business and legal sides of the media marketplace. She acted as Executive Producer for Perfectly Normal For Me (produced by Elizabeth Hemmerdinger) and The Silent Truth. She was the co-executive producer for Emmy-nominated Chely Wright: Wish Me Away, and The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. Laverne also has been involved in Alternative Dispute Resolution for 20 years. She is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dispute Panel, American Arbitration Association (AAA) Commercial Arbitration Panel and Mediation Panel. Laverne has been named a New York Metro Area Super Lawyer for six years, including for 2017, by Thompson Reuters; and was included in the New York Metro Super Lawyers supplement to The New York Times newspaper, The Top Women Attorneys in New York, 2014- 2017.
Satoko is a New York City based editor and media artist. Satoko has worked as an editor on hundreds of projects in both documentary film and television. Her work has screened globally and been broadcast on Showtime, PBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Discovery, TLC, The History Channel, National Geographic, MTV, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, and ESPN. Satoko, a native of Japan, has traveled around the world and lived in six different cities on three continents. She received her B.A. in Communications from the University of California, San Diego and an M.F.A. in Integrated Media Arts from CUNY Hunter College.
Aljernon's awards in the category of Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming for the PBS film Freedom Riders include the 2010-2011 Primetime Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the American Cinema Editors 2010-2011 Eddie Award. Aljernon has been editing films on a range of topics from civil rights, Native Americans and political issues for more than a decade. Recent credits include the critically acclaimed Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (PBS Independent Lens, 2016) and Freedom Summer (Sundance, 2014). His other films include the Emmy Award winning Jesse Owens and The Abolishonists, a 3-hour documentary film about a brave multiracial abolitionist movement that banded together to end slavery in the United States.
NELSON WALKER III
Nelson began his filmmaking career while a student at Brown University, working on documentaries for Discovery Channel, History Channel and PBS’s NOVA with the Rhode Island-based company Providence Pictures. He later moved to New York to pursue and MFA in Film Directing at Columbia University. While at Columbia, Nelson began working with cinema vérité pioneer Albert Maysles as a camera assistant and second camera. Along with his wife, Lynn True, Nelson has directed award-winning films, including iThemba|Hope (2005), Lumo (2007), and Summer Pasture (2012), which won the prestigious Peabody Award. His most recent film, In Transit (2014), was made in collaboration with Albert Maysles. Nelson’s cinematography has appeared in many highly lauded films, including The Gates, Watchers of the Sky, King Georges, Dior and I, and Iris. Nelson is currently the acting board chair of the Maysles Documentary Center, where he also curates and directs the annual film series, Congo in Harlem.
Christopher is a composer for Film, TV, Theater, Dance and various ensembles (jazz, chamber music, orchestral, etc.) His latest released features are Sam Pollard’s Grammy Nominated Civil Rights music documentary Two Trains Runnin’, the romantic comedy All In Time, and the thriller Cut Shoot Kill, all of which feature the composer on all instruments. He was a 2015 Sundance Institute Fellow participating as a Composer in their Music and Sound Design Lab for Documentary Film at Skywalker Ranch. Hailing from Texas, Christopher now lives in Brooklyn, with 18 albums and over 50 composer credits on IMDB. Variety called him a "notable asset” to work "well served by a fine soundtrack.” Christopher is also a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumental musician whose playing can be heard on a number of Grammy Award winning recordings.
Michele Spitz / WOMAN OF HER WORD
ACCESSIBLE AUDIO DESCRIPTION
Professional voiceover artist, philanthropist and lifelong patron of the arts, Michele Spitz is dedicated to making the world infinitely accessible to all communities by providing her vocal talents to filmmakers, publishers, speaking venues and charitable organizations. Wherever Michele's voice is, her heart is also: short and full- length documentaries, feature films, children's programming, museums, industrial videos, audio manuals and public service announcements. The multiple aspirations and advocacy of Woman of Her Word have been featured in interviews with KPOO, KWMR, PRNFM, Examiner and Slate Magazine. The select catalog of films for which Michele voiced the audio description are listed on IMDb and can be found on Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, among other distribution platforms. Michele's endeavors are ongoing and endless in the pursuit for inclusion in the arts. Her presence is an inclusive and uniting force which brings equality of experience to all that she touches. More information available at www.womanofherword.com.
Un Kyong Ho
Impact Producer / CAMPUS TOUR
Un Kyong was born in Pusan, South Korea and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a filmmaker/writer/impact producer currently based out of Philadelphia, PA where she lives with her partner and children. Un Kyong straddles the worlds of academia, community organizing, documentary filmmaking, and social impact producing. She is Associate Producer of the Emmy- and Peabody-Award winning series A Chef's Life (PBS, ongoing) and the Emmy-nominated film Private Violence (HBO, 2014), and worked on the film’s social engagement campaign on domestic violence awareness and prevention. She produced & edited Affirmative Action in a Neoliberal Age (2013) for the Center for African and African American Studies at Duke University which looks at the diverse landscape of affirmative action around the globe after the Great Recession of 2008. She holds a BA in History and German from Ohio University and completed her JD/MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Cincinnati School of Law, where she served as an Innocence Project Fellow. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersections of intellectual property, food justice, and reproductive rights from a postcolonial, feminist perspective. During her time at UC, she also worked as the Program Coordinator for Diversity Education, overseeing their multicultural and social justice programming. Her documentary interests include Korean-American diasporic experiences related to identity, representation, and belonging.