Directed by Anne DeMare, Capturing the Flag tells the story of Election Day 2016 from the deeply personal perspective of a diverse team of volunteer voter protection workers in North Carolina that represents the final line of protection for each American citizen’s right to vote. Though they are faced with challenges from those associated directly with the political process, volunteer Laverne Berry and the rest of the team remain committed to ensuring that every person in their assigned areas has the opportunity to assert their civic duty.
Capturing one of the wildest moments in recent American history, Flag offers an honest portrait of the challenges of outdated and prohibitive voting procedures and the impact that it has on the overall process. To its credit, the film takes a largely unbiased approach in its coverage, choosing to focus primarily on the voter suppression as opposed to the outcome of the election itself. (Although, as the election results come in, it remains somewhat startling to relive an experience where the collective heart of a nation literally seems to break onscreen.) By taking this approach, DeMare proves that the outdated (and potentially racist) restrictions on voters are the key issue that needs to be addressed. Time and again, the viewer bears witness to people who are not allowed to cast their vote for presidency due to a technicality or reassigned location. While some remain committed to assert their right to vote, many simply walk away frustrated, resigning themselves to whatever results may befall the nation. As such, it remains staggering to consider the fact that an act as theoretically simple as voting for a person remains in actuality a complicated and frustrating process.
While the film only covers a brief moment in time, there is a resounding heart beat calling for justice within it. Berry and the rest of the team are shown as people who are dedicated to giving everyone the right to vote, regardless of who they are voting for. Although they remain volunteers, there is an equality embedded within their passion that shines through onscreen. No, they are not ‘heroes’ in the traditional sense of the word. However, they fight against an injustice that few people speak out against. Regardless of political affiliation, race or financial status, Berry and her team recognize the intrinsic value of each individual and fight to ensure that their voice is heard. In doing so, they also show extend grace in a way that the broken system seems unable to accomplish. To them, each person matters and are important to the overall political process. Though a seemingly simple offer of help, Berry and her team demonstrate the very definition of love in a world filled with personal agendas and political power struggles.
Capturing the Flag sits in a moment in time and explores the meaning of it on a grand scale. As such, the film recognizes that every vote cast or missed matters to the overall process. As the mid-term elections approach rapidly, it is an important reminder of the power of the individual and the fact that every voice matters.
To hear audio of our interview with director Anne DeMare and subject Laverne Bailey, click here.
Capturing the Flag opens in New York on Friday, October 19th, 2018