Tuesday, October 12, 2010

See My Friend's Movie!

When I was a senior in college, I was selected to attend the Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium, where I met my friend Jeff Reichert. He and I both ended up in New York after graduation, and while I immersed myself in publishing and children's books, he became a fixture in the world of independent film and film criticism, working in marketing for several indie distribution companies and cofounding an excellent film journal called Reverse Shot.

Then a couple of years ago, Jeff decided to take the plunge:  He quit his job and became a full-time documentary filmmaker. His subject:  gerrymandering, the manipulation of Congressional district lines for political gain.

This process happens every ten years, after the Census numbers come in, so it was a film tailor-made for 2010, and Jeff worked terrifically hard to get the film done in time. He interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, lawmakers in Texas (the famous group of Democrats that hid out in Oklahoma for days to prevent the Republicans from redrawing district lines), and a representative from our neighborhood here in Brooklyn. He shot and edited and shot and edited and essentially went into a two-year filmmaking cave.

This week, all that hard work is paying off as Gerrymandering hits theatres. I saw its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last spring, and it's smart, sharp, funny and passionate -- a film guaranteed to get both Democrats and Republicans talking, while offering some nonpartisan solutions to this knotty political problem. The reviews have been great, and it's even been talked up for the documentary film Oscar! Gerrymandering is showing in a series of one-night stands across the U.S. this week, and then opening in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego on Friday, before spreading wider later this fall. If you're a fan of politics, passion projects, or just really smart filmmaking, please check it out. And yay, Jeff!


  1. This is completely off topic, but I'm wondering if you have an idea when your regular web site will be live again? I went there to reread something and found an "account suspended" sign draped across it.

  2. Yipes, Rose! Your message was the first notice I've had that it was down. I'm looking into it.

  3. Resolved the problem and all should be copacetic now.

  4. Well, I'm excited to read about Jeff's film--and I'm excited to read just a bit about you. I've been working with a later Symposium student, trying to find past students--and your blog just dropped into my mailbox through a Google alert today. I'd love to know more about what you're up to, and I'd appreciate your letting Jeff know that I'd like to catch up with him as well.

    Kate Sibley
    Education Programs Dean
    Telluride Film Festival

  5. This film sounds right up my street. Thanks for the recommendation! I'm definitely going to see it.