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As America gears up for the midterm elections, a new documentary revisits a midterm campaign from four years ago.
Attorney Bakari Sellers became the U.S.’ youngest black elected official when he entered the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2006. Eight years later, he vacated his seat to run for lieutenant governor in the state. His campaign, although ultimately unsuccessful, is the focus of While I Breathe, I Hope, which examines the challenges facing Democrats, and particularly black politicians, in the South.
Executive produced by Charlamagne Tha God, the film follows Sellers as he attempts to become the first Democrat elected to a South Carolina state office since 2006 and the first African-American since the 1870s. He faces an uphill battle, particularly when he decides to campaign on removing the Confederate flag from the front of the state capitol building. After the election, in which he won 41.13 percent of the vote, Sellers re-emerges in the national spotlight after the June 2015 Charleston church massacre in which his friend and fellow state congressman Clementa C. Pinckney was killed. The film concludes with Sellers, now a political commentator at CNN, addressing the crowd at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this project and to support my fellow South Carolina brethren,” Charlamagne said Thursday in a statement. “Bakari’s story is one that’s extremely important and needs to be told, especially in today’s political climate. He is one of the most important voices of our present and future.”
While I Breathe, I Hope was produced and directed by Emily Harrold, also a native of South Carolina. The film, which will have its world premiere in October at the New Orleans Film Festival, was also executive produced by Jedd Canty, Karen Kinney and Marco Williams and produced by Lauren Franklin, Diane Robertson and Xuan Vu.
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Venice Film Festival