Best Local Film: An acrimonious reminder of the elections that got away
Okay, so it uses as its subject Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia), the loose-cannon Congresswoman who can't seem to pass through a security checkpoint without getting in a fight. Pretty much the same incident happens to McKinney on-camera in American Blackout, a blistering video exposé of what Berkeley filmmaker Ian Inaba and his Guerrilla News Network see as the systematic disenfranchisement of African-American voters since the 2000 presidential election. Inaba, who directed 50 Cent's rap vid The New Breed and Eminem's get-out-the-vote PSA Mosh and produced the majorly skeptical 9/11 documentary Aftermath, obviously believes that what happened in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 (long lines, voting machine "shortages" in black districts, intimidation) are part of a pattern, along with the "electronic lynching" of McKinney, who was targeted by the GOP after crying voter fraud in 2000, lost her House seat, then regained it. American Blackout drives its message home with the power of righteous indignation: America got mugged at the polls. Just because it happened to hot-tempered McKinney doesn't mean it couldn't happen to you, too.