Leading up to the 2008 American Presidential election, Barack Obama told his supporters that they were taking part in history, and that Election Day would be a defining moment of our time. Curator, editor and producer Jeff Deutchman was "curious about what history looks like" and commissioned more than 20 filmmakers from all over the world to record their experiences of Nov. 4, 2008.
His groundbreaking film is an experiment in interactive history or, as he describes it, "a participatory documentary." Footage was shot between the hours of 8 a.m. Nov. 4 to 4 a.m. Nov. 5, in Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Geneva and New Delhi, as well as across the United States.
The world had its eyes on us that day, and Deutchman's compelling film captures the reasons why. Interviews are rife with words such as "phenomenon,” “unprecedented,” “empowered,” “inspired,” “American dream” and, of course, “hope and change." It was a day about which everyone had an opinion, it seems. Perhaps, therein lies the historical importance of Nov. 4, 2008.
Whether you voted for Obama, it was quite evident that an almost perfect storm of events paved the way for the election of the first black American president. Deutchman does not analyze those factors but, instead, focuses on the democratic process and those who get involved in it.
The concept of "consensual cinema" is both unique and enticing. Deutchman's film is a work in progress as he encourages everyone to submit his footage of Nov. 4, 2008 at its conclusion. It’s history in the making.
— Pam Nadon
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