Director Lucian Read Talks ‘Democracy For Sale’ Film & Screenings In Virginia

I chatted with Filmmaker, Lucian Read, about his documentary film, ‘ Democracy for Sale,’ currently screening in Virginia.
  • Q: Annaka Chesnutt, FOX 43
  • A: Lucian Read, filmmaker ‘Democracy for Sale’

Tell me about the plot of the film Democracy For Sale

It’s essentially about the political upheaval that’s happening in North Carolina.after the 2010 election. We decided to shoot a film there partially because I’m a North Carolina native, but it also seemed to me that a lot of the political dysfunction was playing out there. There are a lot of issues that would be very relevant to people all over the county.  Setting the film there gave us sort of a window into a lot of important issues being: money and politics, gerrymandering and voter suppression. What we are really trying to do was create a film, sort of a journey, for the correspondent (Zach Galifinakis) to see how all of this was playing out in the state and how they are interconnected.  We wanted to bring him in front of group leaders and everyday people that have been dealing with these issues and the trouble the state is having since 2010 .

Gerrymandering clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9DYdm-Dw3o

Why did you want to direct this?

It was important for me to direct this film (Democracy for Sale) because it’s personal. I was pretty much raised in the state and most of my family still lives there. To see what has happened over the last seven years, I just felt like I wanted to respond to that in some way.

Why is the film set in North Carolina? What made that state special and stand a part?

Essentially, what happened in North Carolina in 2010 , there was partial funding by citizens united related political spending, as sort of a backlash to the election of Barack Obama… there was a huge political transformation of the state, which traditionally has been a purple state, and in 2010 was flipped to being a deeply conservative legislature and governor. He kind of set out on a campaign to put into effect a ‘hard right’ wish list of budget cuts, changing voter rights and dismantling environmental regulation among other things.

Why is this film important for Virginia and every other state?

I think this film is important because it really lays out a set of incredibly important issues and explains a lot about how certain political outcomes occur and how politics run in this country. It does it in a way that is accessible, because Zach is the correspondent.

Why was Zach Galifianakis selected to lead the narrative of the film? It is very compelling to see a comedian leading the documentary charge instead of a political or investigative reporter.

Zach is very passionate about the state and very passionate about the issues. He is incredibly curious and committed to the film, which is something you don’t always get with classic TV correspondents. The other thing you get…he’s funny. So something like gerrymandering can be very dry, so having him be able to inject some humor into it on one level and real, heart-felt concern on another level, really makes it much more approachable and accessible to a general audience. I think that plays out in all of the issues.

Healthcare clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzL1r_EvQAQ

Screenings in Virginia

 Tuesday September 26 at 4 p.m. (first screening) – Woodbridge

  • NOVA – Woodbridge Campus
  • Lakeside Theatre
  • 2645 College Dr.
  • Woodbridge, VA 22191
  • Hosted by: the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Action (HOLA), the League of Women Voters, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Tuesday September 26 at 7 p.m. (second screening) – Woodbridge

  • NOVA – Woodbridge Campus
  • Lakeside Theatre
  • 2645 College Dr.
  • Woodbridge, VA 22191
  • Hosted by: the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Action (HOLA), the League of Women Voters, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Tuesday September 26 at 7:00 p.m. – Roanoke

Wednesday September 27 at 7 p.m. – Arlington

Thursday September 28 at 7:15 p.m. – Richmond

Friday September 29 at 7 p.m. – Williamsburg