Filmmaker says new movie tells ‘human story’ of progressive female candidates

Filmmaker Rachel Lears said Tuesday that her new film following Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other female progressive House candidates on the campaign trail last year presents a “nuanced human story” about the women.

“I think what we’re trying to do is really put out a more nuanced human story of all four women,” Lears told host Krystal Ball on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” adding that the film, “Knock Down the House,” also paints “a complex portrait of the political process.” 

The movie, which premieres Wednesday on Netflix, tells the story of four women who challenged Democratic House incumbents in 2018: Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Cori Bush in Missouri, Amy Vilela in Nevada and Paula Jean Swearengin in West Virginia.

“The film works on multiple levels. You’ve got this really direct, human underdog story that anybody can relate to, as you kind of go through the process with the candidates,” Lears said. 

“But at the same time there’s different layers depending on your entry point,” she added. “If you’re interested in policy there are going to be some discussions that might be of interest to you. If you’re interested in aesthetics, there’s a lot of different decisions we made to, you know, engage those types of audiences.”

The 2018 elections were a historic milestone for women seeking public office, with a record number of women launching campaigns for local, state and national offices and a record number of women being elected to Congress.

— Julia Manchester

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