Charlie vs. Goliath
“A modern-day Frank Capra story, Charlie vs Goliath will make you feel a twinge of guilt every time you doubt the capacity of the common people to initiate change.” - Boston Globe
"Profiles the senatorial campaign of a true political outsider." - IndieWire
“One man’s battle to take on the political establishment and [showing] you can win in politics without discarding your values... Powerful, passionate, and frequently very funny.” - The Independent (UK)
- Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
- Dances With Films Festival
- Sun Valley Film Festival
- Buffalo International Film Festival
This character-driven documentary reflects on the dominance of money over grassroots politics in America, through the story of a penniless 75-year-old former priest who runs a quixotic campaign to win a US Senate seat in Wyoming.
It would be hard to find a more unlikely senatorial candidate than Charlie Hardy, a former Catholic priest who spent nearly a decade serving the poor while living in a cardboard shack in a Venezuelan slum. In 2011, Charlie returns to his hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is shocked to see poverty, hunger and homelessness.
After being snubbed by his congressional representatives, Charlie decides to run for office himself and he manages to receive the Democratic Party’s nomination for the US Senate in the 2014 midterm election, although he identifies as conservative. Wyoming, the least populous state, boasts the most congressional representation per capita in the US, but according to one of those whose vote Charlie solicits, Democrats are about as “welcome as a burr under a saddle”. His Republican opponent, long-time incumbent Mike Enzi, amasses a $3 million war chest from corporate PACs. Charlie’s advisors urge him to focus his efforts on fundraising, but he instead rejects money from special interests and makes campaign finance reform central to his people-focused platform. The election is considered the most lopsided in the country and his friends say he is “tilting at windmills". But Charlie is convinced he will triumph even with the deck stacked against him, because the voters he is able to engage with seem overwhelmingly receptive to his message. A 21st century Don Quixote, he galvanizes a ragged band of young volunteers determined to make waves in Wyoming’s elections, and in so doing set a precedent for the rest of the country.
The film provides an intimate portrait of this resolute and charismatic septuagenarian while revealing an inside look at a campaign fueled by hope rather than money. Challenging the belief that our political process is fair and democratic, the film explores the question of how an honest and sincere person without money can make a difference running for higher office. More broadly, it is also a story about whether, in the spirit of Don Quixote, it might sometimes be worth fighting an unbeatable foe and dreaming an impossible dream.
“This film is truly inspiring. It powerfully tells the story of how a US Senate candidate and his campaign sought to make the issue of money in politics front and center, and it invites all of us to stand up and join the movement to reclaim our democracy.” - John Bonifaz, President, Free Speech for People
80 Minutes | English.
Directed by: Reed Lindsay
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