Did your vote count? That's what Ohio University student filmmakers want to know
ATHENS, Ohio (April 25, 2007) -- Was the 2004 presidential election stolen? The issue may have died down in some quarters, but graduate student filmmakers at Ohio University thought the question was worth an in-depth probe.
The result is "How Ohio Pulled It Off," a new documentary that will screen Saturday, April 28, as a special event for the 34th Athens International Film and Video Festival.
The three filmmakers shot and edited more than 400 hours of footage, from voters' complaints on election night 2004 to interviews with lawmakers and office-holders to testimony in government investigations of the election night drama.
The impetus for the film may have been e-mails that director Charla Baker received after the election.
"I was getting e-mails from friends in other states saying, 'What the heck happened in Ohio?'" she says.
That became the central question of the film and led Baker, along with fellow directors Matthew Kraus and Mariana Quiroga, to investigate further. Kraus discovered a report from an investigation into Ohio's election night problems commissioned by U.S. Rep. John Conyers. It was titled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio."
"That was the first indication to me that things weren't quite what they seemed," Kraus said.
Conyers' report found that there were serious election irregularities in Ohio and that thousands of voters in the state were disenfranchised. The filmmakers went on to shoot hundreds of hours of footage during their investigation, interviewing state and federal officials and capturing the testimony of hundreds of voters. Additionally, they worked with a grass-roots organization called Video the Vote, which documented testimony on Election Day 2004 from voters who experienced irregularities and problems. Some voters complained that their votes for Sen. John Kerry on touch screen machines switched to votes for President George W. Bush right before their eyes.
"The disconnect between what citizens were saying and the official story was most disturbing to me," said Kraus.
Ruth Bradley, director of the Athens Film Festival, is excited about the special event.
"This is the most ambitious student film I've seen in a long time," said Bradley.
The documentary is part of the students' efforts to earn their master of fine arts degrees.
"How Ohio Pulled It Off" will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Stuart's Opera House, 34 Public Square, Nelsonville, Ohio. The filmmakers will present and discuss the film. A donation of $3 is suggested.
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Written by: Tom Bosco
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