Suppressed: The Fight to Vote

(Presented by PDA Oakland)

Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, the new documentary by Robert Greenwald (Director of Outfoxed, Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Making A Killing: Guns, Greed, & the NRA) weaves together personal stories from voters across the state of Georgia to paint an undeniable picture of voter suppression in the 2018 midterm election where Stacey Abrams fought to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. The issues Georgians faced included polling place closures, voter purges, missing absentee ballots, extreme wait times and a host of voter ID issues – all of which disproportionately prevented many students and people of color from casting their ballots. Suppressed: The Fight to Vote features experts, poll watchers and everyday Georgians speaking to the reality of voter suppression and the threat it poses in 2020. In a race that was ultimately decided by 54,723 votes, the film exposes that the basic constitutional right to vote continues to be under siege in America.

Sunday Sept 29:
Film at 10am

(38 Minutes) Discussion to follow



One of the great creative challenges in making films about social justice issues involves deciding how to use the craft and tools of filmmaking to effectively tell the story.  

No one wants to see a film that feels like homework, or smacks of political propaganda. Viewers want to be engaged emotionally, and that means connecting on a human level to the people affected by the issue.  It also means using camera angles, editing techniques, music cues and a narrative structure that help build the facts of the story piece by piece, leading viewers to their own conclusions about the issue – in this case, the infuriating state of voting rights in our country today.

With “Suppressed,” my team and I spent a lot of time seeking out real people who had experienced various tactics of voter suppression, who could be the faces of our story. My job as director was to find ways to help viewers care about these people and what had happened to them. I felt a great sense of responsibility to “do right” by our subjects, to convey the sense of how blindsided they were by the failure of our system and the complex and even insidious ways their votes were being denied.   

Here are a few of the folks who were brave and generous enough to let us tell their stories:

The list goes on and on, each person and each story a reason to make this film and expose these voter suppression tactics. How long would you wait in line to vote before giving up? (Some voters in Georgia in 2018 waited 4 hours or more, and still couldn’t vote.) How far would you travel to vote if your local polling station was closed? How many phone calls would you make? How much time would you spend? How much effort would you go to before giving up?

The determination of many voters was inspiring, but still many failed to overcome the roadblocks placed before them. This isn’t right, and no voter in this country should accept this. Voting is our fundamental right, and the people who help us tell this story in “Suppressed” deserve our attention, and our action.

-- Robert Greenwald, Director