Cleveland International Film Festival Film: FROM THE HOOD TO THE HOLLER
For Kentucky, 2020 was an especially difficult year. The Covid-19 crisis compounded with the aftermath of Breonna Taylor’s murder highlighted systemic issues in a state that has suffered from stark inequality for decades. As one of the poorest states in the nation, Kentucky has some of the worst access in the U.S. to education, healthcare, and clean drinking water. It’s ironic that a state with some of the most disenfranchised people is represented by one of the most powerful politicians in the country; Mitch McConnell.
Running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mitch McConnell, Charles Booker attempts one of the biggest upsets in political history by challenging establishment-backed candidate Amy McGrath. FROM THE HOOD TO THE HOLLER follows Booker’s campaign across Kentucky, from the most urban to the most rural settings, with Booker and his team rewriting the campaign playbook. Instead of exploiting divisions, they lean into the idea that average Kentuckians have common bonds, united by their shared day- to-day fight to survive. Booker works to represent Kentuckians, both Black and White, who feel entirely left out of the political process. His message is simple: Whether you are from the city “hood” — like Booker — or the Appalachian “holler,” you are not invisible.
A captivating documentary showcasing a young man finding his voice as a leader and of his incredible journey against the odds, FROM THE HOOD TO THE HOLLER follows Booker as he works to unite people of all colors across Kentucky, while fighting against big money in politics, voter suppression, and systemic corruption in a historically deeply red state.
DIRECTOR PAT MCGEE:
“Our film shows some very intimate family stories about love and sacrifice. We see the results in a man finding his voice as a leader, and someone that deeply cares for and respects women. It was a privilege to capture the birth of Charles Booker’s movement as he works to unite factions that are historically on opposing sides.”
“I am so deeply honored that our film, “From the Hood to the Holler,” is being presented at the prestigious Cleveland International Film Festival. This is a powerful story of what is possible when we realize our common bonds and stand together, and it is my honor to lift up this testimony at a time when our country needs it most. The film features many incredible women who are leading the charge for change and raising the standard, and I am most proud that the world will get to see this truth. So many people are marginalized and ignored in our politics, and I hope this film can be a reminder that healing and unity can still blossom in the forgotten places. With the 2022 elections coming up, and the rights of women clearly under attack, it is important to show the type of movement that can resist that hate and win in November. Everyone needs to see this film!”
REPRINTED FROM “DEADLINE”
Charles Booker, the Democratic Senate candidate who narrowly lost to former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath in a close race in Kentucky, is set to have his campaign documented by American Relapse and Bernie Blackout director, Pat McGee. Booker’s campaign was gaining steam right up until he lost to McGrath by a narrow margin. McGee was embedded with the Booker campaign since the Kentucky House of Representatives member handed him access during the past few weeks.
Booker was running on a platform of universal health care, a Green New Deal to tackle climate change, systemic criminal justice reform and universal basic income, only started his campaign in January.
McGee, who runs his own production company, Pat McGee Pictures, told Deadline that once the Sanders campaign “ended abruptly,” he turned his attention to Booker, calling him a “fascinating person. I’m always trying to find a story and it doesn’t matter what your politics are,” he said. “As a storyteller, it has all the layers and ingredients. There is a very powerful story, the David vs Goliath story, can a black man cut through the clutter and get elected in Kentucky? When his campaign started taking off, it became a microcosm of what was going on in the rest of the country. It was incredible to see his connection with people from all sorts of backgrounds. He speaks the language of struggle because he grew up a poor black child … and it resonated with people.”