About Represent

★ Join us for our national broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens October 26th! Find your local station & learn more here

About Represent

In the heart of the Midwest, three women take on entrenched political systems in their fight to reshape local politics on their own terms. The film is equal parts personal and political, and interweaves the stories of women on both sides of the aisle who share the singular goal of improving their community through public service.

Meet the Candidates

Myya (22) attempts to spark a youth movement and unseat the incumbent mayor of Detroit, MI
Bryn (33), a farmer and working mother in Granville, OH, runs for township trustee, but, in doing so, is placed in opposition with the only other woman in office
Julie (47) walks a tightrope between her identities as a Korean immigrant, woman of color, and Republican candidate for State Representative in a liberal Chicago, IL suburb

Through the nuances of local politics, Represent elevates both the systemic failings and unsung heroes at the heart of our “smallest” elections.

 

Why Representation Matters

In 2018, the country was captivated by a “pink wave” of women running for office. After the midterms, we were awash with overdue firsts — Muslim and Native Congresswomen, among many others, finally taking their seats in the halls of power. While this is an important milestone to acknowledge, the overall representation needle barely moved, from women making up 19.4% of Congress in 2018 to only 23.7% in 2020. Even buoyed by a nationwide movement, the U.S. currently ranks a bleak 82nd in the world for gender parity in politics, a status that has actually worsened over the past 25 years.

The takeaway: All of us must take action today if we hope to see a reflective democracy in our lifetimes. Learn more about where you can begin.

 

Why Representation Matters

In 2018, the country was captivated by a “pink wave” of women running for office. After the midterms, we were awash with overdue firsts — Muslim and Native Congresswomen, among many others, finally taking their seats in the halls of power. While this is an important milestone to acknowledge, the overall representation needle barely moved, from women making up 19.4% of Congress in 2018 to only 23.7% in 2020. Even buoyed by a nationwide movement, the U.S. currently ranks a bleak 82nd in the world for gender parity in politics, a status that has actually worsened over the past 25 years.

The takeaway: All of us must take action today if we hope to see a reflective democracy in our lifetimes. Learn more about where you can begin.

Why a Bipartisan Film About Local Office?

For women considering a career in politics, the first point of entry is often running for local office. Officials on school districts, county boards, or city councils play outsized but often invisible roles in the well-being of their communities — and often, these jobs also serve as springboards for running for higher office. But few Americans understand what these offices do, let alone that they exist. Represent highlights the kinds of races that don’t usually get television airtime, lifting the veil on the grassroots political process and lighting the way for outsider candidates who might not otherwise know where to start.

Women on both sides of the aisle experience significant barriers to political participation, ranging from a comparative lack of cash and connections to childcare and paid family leave. Represent follows women across a range of political ideologies, pointing to their shared struggle to not only win their races, but to gain power within their own parties. This uniquely bipartisan approach has opened doors for Represent to generate conversations about women’s participation with a wide range of interest groups across the political spectrum.

What critics are saying about Represent

“These women are connected in their desires to change their communities and restore faith in democracy…. what Represent does make clear is that without firm reinforcements, the system will continue celebrating clichés, like Year of the Woman, instead of permanently changing.”
— The New York Times

“A timely film about the ‘unglamorous bits of democracy’ that make for a political movement.”
— The Guardian
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“A winning new documentary… Each of the film’s three narratives reminds us the patriarchy never yields its political power willingly.”
— Chicago Tribune

Represent feels like a balm. A reminder that, win or lose, there’s something to be gained by reigniting people’s interest in civil engagement, especially at the local and state level. You don’t have to agree with everyone’s politics in the documentary, but it’s nonetheless fascinating to hear each story and feel reinvigorated and moved by their determination. Represent presents a clear-eyed view of American politics on an individual level, a portrait of what drives a number of political hopefuls from historically underrepresented groups to step up on behalf of their communities.”
— Roger Ebert.com

 

represent@kartemquin.com
© The Film Represent. Site by Arlen Parsa.