LOS ANGELES – While media pundits and other experts debate the impact Russia had on the 2016 election, a riveting short documentary exposing the harsh voter suppression laws that prohibit 6.1 million Americans from voting, “Let My People Vote,” is fast becoming a rallying call for youth to participate in the midterm elections. The film won an Audience Award at the Florida Film Festival and will be the subject of a conversation in Los Angeles at the Peacemaker Organizing & Awards Summit hosted by the Community Justice Reform Coalition and the LIVE FREE Campaign.
Directed by Gilda Ann Brasch of Los Angeles-based VUSI Filmworks,“Let My People Vote” will also be featured in The Color of Conversation Film Series, an extension of the prestigious Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. It will be held June 29th at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center located in the DC area.
“We are honored to be selected to participate in these landmark events, both of which seek to promote positive conversation on the issue of structural discrimination,” said Brasch.
“Let My People Vote” follows voting rights activist, Desmond Meade, as he mobilizes his team to help get Tampa residents to the polls. Meade discovers that a senior citizen they encouraged to go vote is unable to cast a ballot due to a suspended license violation from 1993. This situation struck home with Meade. He’s an ex-felon whose right to vote has not been restored even though he turned his life around many years ago.
Although he can’t vote, Meade still participates in the process. As president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition he worked in partnership with the ACLU to gather more than one million signatures to place Amendment 4, the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment, on the ballot this November.
Florida’s Jim Crow era voter suppression laws have a disparate impact on African Americans, Latinos and other minority groups. “About 1.7 million Floridians are disenfranchised,” adds Brasch. “The 2000 election was decided by 537 votes in Florida, so these votes clearly matter.”
During the midterm election cycle the filmmakers are working with partner organizations to host screenings paired with panel discussions designed to bring awareness to voter suppression and educate voters on Florida’s Amendment 4. Partners include: AFL-CIO of Central Florida, Latino Leadership Institute, LIVE FREE Campaign, United Faculty of Florida at the University of Central Florida, Orange County Teachers Association, FL & GA Black Youth Vote, Levi Strauss Foundation, and the International Documentary Association. Musical artist and activist,Moby, contributed his new single “This Wild Darkness” (Mute Records), to the film.
An award-winning producer and director, Brasch tells tales of underdog heroes. She helped produce and direct Oprah Winfrey’s ABC primetime special, “Building A Dream,” the acclaimed documentary on The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. Most recently Brasch executive produced five seasons of VH1’s hit franchise “Love & Hip Hop.” Inspired after meeting Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and filming in his prison cell of 27 years, Brasch founded VUSI Filmworks with a focus on filmmaking for social change.