Doc draws districting drama

'Gerrymandering' aims to spur political reform

Jeff Reichert, who left his post as senior vp at Magnolia Pictures in October, is directing the documentary "Gerrymandering," an examination of political redistricting that is being executive produced by Bill Mundell, a leader in the redistricting reform movement.

The film is one of three docs being backed by New York-based Green Film Co., founded last year by indie producers Dan O'Meara and Chris Romano to make films covering a range of social issues. In addition to "Gerrymandering," Green is financing the untitled documentary about Barack Obama, directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, that will air on HBO. It also has partnered with Chad Troutwine to produce "Freakonomics," a doc based on the best-seller that is being directed by several filmmakers, including Morgan Spurlock and Alex Gibney.

Reichert became interested in the topic during the Texas congressional redistricting of 2003, but he decided to aim for a broader canvas in the film.

He already has shot 90 hours, including footage of the successful Proposition 11 campaign in California, which was supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Early in his research, Reichert was introduced to Mundell, an educational entrepreneur who spearheaded the campaign on behalf of the unsuccessful 2005 California redistricting measure, Proposition 77. Reichert agreed to provide some of the financing, joining the project as executive producer.

"Making a popular movie has historically been a good way to create impetus for change," Mundell said, citing such examples as "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Sicko."

Reichert said he hopes to finish the film by fall with an eye toward a 2010 release. (partialdiff)