Election 2016: Filmmakers Get Out the Vote!

A look at the efforts of film directors, producers and composers as they volunteer in battleground states for the 2016 Presidential Election.

The following post collects together pictures and text from filmmakers who have been volunteering for the 2016 Presidential Election over the past week (or longer). Some of the below first appeared on social media and is reproduced here with permission. — N.D.


Trieste Kelly Dunn
Lines of volunteers 100 people deep ALL day in this Wake County campaign office (just ONE of twenty offices in the area btw). Drove past a Drumpf campaign office down the street – three people. North Carolinians bringin’ the ground game hard for Hillary!!! #hillyeah



Esther Robinson

"Sleepy but on the road to PA.... it takes a family to get out the vote!!!!"
“Sleepy but on the road to PA…. it takes a family to get out the vote!!!!”

My husband (composer T Griffin) and I plus our son Otis  all drove to Bucks County (Langhorne) PA to GOTV. Todd and I have canvassed in PA the last three elections, but this was the first with a kid… We were lucky because our dear friend (and filmmaker) Sandi Dubowski set up referrals for folks with kids, which meant that even for people who were maxed out (basically anyone with a kid under 5), it was easy to figure out where to go…

Some thoughts:

1. It clearly helps diffuse the door-threshold tension to have a 3.5 year old start  things off with, “Hi, I’m Otis.”
2. Todd, Otis and I had road-tripped through rural Nevada, Idaho and Utah this summer – we saw more trump signs in Bucks County, PA.
3. We did two rounds of addresses. The second set was a predominantly immigrant and African-American neighborhood – this was my favorite. Lots of supporters and folks were really nice… The big surprise? Hindu nationalism! Not something I knew that much about… Turns out Hindu nationalists (even ones that have voted Democratic in the past) support Drumpf…
4. Door-knocking is a skill set that documentary filmmakers/producers have IN SPADES…  Sierra Pettingill (our teammate and a doc director/producer) and I were basically thrilled to have a reason to talk to random people all day…
5. The documentary community turned out for canvassing nationwide and I was inspired all weekend by my friends actions and reports. A good life in general (not just elections) is built through action and love – my documentary community delivers on all fronts…

Sierra Pettengill
Battleground battling



Sandi DuBowski
Met Reed, a gay Iraqi refugee here in Columbus who will join us for our Election Viewing party tonight. God Bless America, the home of refugees. #imwithher. #nevertrump. #Ohhillyes.



Jonathan Lisecki
We were tired of scouring political blogs and binge watching MSNBC, so Scott Ehrens and I went to Nevada and helped get out the vote. It was fun and the people that we met and spoke with were lovely.



Anna Rose Holmer
Spent the day in Pennsylvania doing Get Out the Vote action with these ladies!  #imwithher #getoutthevote #pantsuitpower #strongertogether



Rodney Ascher

A phone bank in a big beautiful, sun-dappled Pasadena back yard. Tents, snacks, lemonade.

My wife and I were given paper printouts of names to call since the laptops with their high-tech autodialers were all filled up. There are some confusing notations on my list:

Volunteer Coordinator: You don’t need to call the numbers which have been highlighted yellow.
Me: What about the ones that have been crossed out?
VC: No, not them either.
Me: These little dots here on the side?
VC: Those don’t mean anything.
Me: Do I need to highlight or cross out anything myself?
VC: Not in yellow, no. You can make a blue check for yes. Don’t cross out anything.
Me: OK.
Me: In the 5 box range between Hillary and Donald, where do I check for third party? If someone’s voting third party?
VC: There haven’t been a lot of…
Me: The middle?
VC: Sure. You all good?
Me: Yeah. Sorry, I don’t mean to be a pain, I imagine you guys have had to spend a lot of time deciding on the simplest, most consistent ways to notate these things.
VC: You have no idea. Be grateful you didn’t have to be part of that. We’re back here debating whether or not to use red pens for anything.
Me: Are you kidding? I would have loved that.
VC: Ugh. Everyone wants to make up their own codes.
Me: Like the scene in Reservoir Dogs where Mr. Pink wants to be Mr. Purple? “What’s the big deal? I just want a cool name.” But Lawrence Tierney is all like [gravelly voice], “I have a system, there’s a reason.”
VC: Something like that.


Jennifer Phang
Who knew canvassing in Vegas could feel so good??? Hey tomorrow is Election Day! Get yourself to your polling place if you haven’t voted! #GOTV



Adam Egypt Mortimer
So many phone calls


Grace Lee
Some random observations from canvassing in Las Vegas today:
1. Black voters are on it. Every single black voter we talked to today had a plan to vote, eagerly took our literature and was appreciative that we came by. One woman even said she was waiting for us!
2. Many people have voted early, which is heartening.
3. The youngish white dude living in a geodesic dome house is voting for Gary Johnson.
4. An entire block of apartments (4 pages of our canvassing list) was demolished. Wonder what kind of monstrosity will be built that displaced all those people.
5. Met several people (mostly Asian and Latino) who aren’t US citizens and sadly can’t vote yet.
6. Talked to a guy on the street who had early voted. Said his mom got a Robocall from someone saying they were the FBI and that she shouldn’t vote for Hillary. She said, “Too late, already did.”