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13 Apr
Sat, Apr 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Castro Theatre
Castro Theatre 429 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114 United States

Guests Expected

Director Rachel Lears, editor Robin Blotnick, producer Sarah Olson, and subject Cori Bush are expected to attend.


“We met a machine with a movement,” says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14th District), and thank goodness director Rachel Lears was there to capture it. Profiling four women (including AOC) of disparate backgrounds running grassroots political campaigns against established male incumbents, Lears depicts a fundamental moment when these (and other) remarkable women reminded the country that people really do have the power. Unforgettably depicting the candidates’ unflagging energy and commitment, Knock Down the House is an important and ebullient documentary about reclaiming democracy one seat at a time.

“It’s entirely possible that director Rachel Lears’ decision to follow around bartender-turned-candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as one of four subjects for a film she was making about outsiders challenging Democratic incumbents in the 2018 midterms will go down in film history as one of the most fortuitous, right-time, right-subject, and right-filmmaker combos ever. Because the result, documentary Knock Down the House, is a pretty extraordinary cinematic artifact. It’s not just that it takes a snapshot of the left’s fastest-rising star at the moment she went interstellar. It also limns, both through AOC’s story and those of the other three progressive challengers tracked here — Cori Bush, Amy Vilela, and Paula Jean Swearengin — an extraordinary juncture in American politics when the landscape terraformed in a way that we still haven’t finished mapping.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

Director Rachel Lears

Rachel Lears has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and a graduate certificate in Culture and Media from NYU. She made her feature documentary directing debut with Aves de paso (2009) and co-directed The Hand That Feeds (2014), winner of Audience Awards at DOC NYC and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and a nominee for a News & Documentary Emmy. Says she of Knock Down the House, “After the 2016 election, I wanted to tell a big story about people changing American politics in big ways and about power — how it works and how to achieve it. I wanted to tell a story about people working to build solidarity across social divides, and about the intersections of economics and injustice based on race, gender, and other aspects of identity.”

Film Details

Year 2019

Language English

Runtime 86

Country USA

Director Rachel Lears

Producer Sarah Olson, Rachel Lears, Robin Blotnick

Editor Robin Blotnick

Cinematographer Rachel Lears

Music Ryan Blotnick