I was at a southern-themed bar called Mason Dixon, in New York’s Lower East side, eating corn and chicken wings and drinking bourbon. I have no idea how my friends and I ended up there, but it seemed as good a place as anywhere. You could feel the electricity of what we hoped was about to happen buzzing through every inch of New York City concrete.
Everytime a blue state was called, the whole bar was given free shots, and after CNN called it for Obama, we all took turns riding the mechanical bull that is Mason Dixon’s center piece. It seemed the only thing to do. We closed out the bar, and once they threw us out onto the streets, we just kind of wandered around until sunrise. The high we were on made going to bed a laughable impossibility.
I remember it was the first thing that had happened in my lifetime that gave me faith in our country’s political system.
Two weeks before that night we all remember, filmmaker Jeff Deutchman asked friends around the world to record their experiences of 11/04/08, a day that became “historic” before it had even taken place.
In Jeff’s acclaimed feature documentary, we witness a global canvas begin to unfold: in St. Louis and Austin, idealistic volunteers think they can turn their states blue; in Chicago, voter lines are made even longer when Obama shows up to cast his own vote; in Alaska, children seem to be as invested in the election results as their parents; in Paris, an organization discusses whether there could ever be a black President of France; in Dubai, Berlin, Geneva and New Delhi, expatriates express their emotion from a distance; and in Harlem, a felon casts doubt on whether any of this will actually affect his life. As we approach the final announcement of Obama’s victory at 11pm EST, what emerges is a portrait of how people choose to live through “history”: the celebration of a new future remaining entangled with the universally visible tensions of the past.
On Wednesday, October 20, for one night only, the film will screen in 20 cities around the country. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Jeff Deutchman that will be live-streamed into every participating theater. Audience members will be able to tweet their questions to Jeff.
And on October 21 in NYC, the Film Society of Lincoln Center & Damon Dash will present 11/4/08 at the Walter Reade Theater. Jeff will be present for a Q and A, and after the film everyone in attendance is invited to an after party at The Dash Gallery where you can meet the filmmaker and many of the participants in the film.
Watch the Trailer: