UPDATED with video: Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams plays a central role in the documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy, directed by Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, but the film from Amazon Studios shouldn’t be construed as “The Stacey Abrams Story.”
The film has a bigger focus in mind, the directors say during Deadline’s Contenders Documentary awards-season event, beyond exploring the Democratic candidate’s narrow loss in 2018 to Republican Brian Kemp, a defeat many attribute to Republican efforts to suppress the minority vote.
“The whole point of this film was that the election in 2018…has been hundreds of years in the making,” Garbus says. “And you can’t understand what happened in that race without understanding our history.”
That history is a grim one, marked by the use of violence or other means to keep people of color from casting ballots. Lately, the filmmakers argue, Republicans have invoked the red herring of “voter fraud” to disenfranchise Black and brown people.
“What’s so unfortunate is there is no statistical information that validates this story of voter fraud,” Cortés says. “What it comes down to is a power struggle. How do you hold on to your power? You create myths that you share to those people who are most susceptible to leaning into it.”
Abrams has become a hero to many Democrats because of the voter-registration drive she led after her 2018 loss helped turn Georgia blue in the 2020 presidential race. It led to the Democrats’ double victories in the state’s Senate runoff elections last week that no less than shifted control of the Senate to Dems.
“This is not something that just happened with Stacey because of the 2018 race against Kemp. It’s a part of not only her work but it’s a part of her life,” Cortés notes. “I think the hero spotlight is one that has been shining on her for a long time. It’s just that more people see it now.”
Check out the panel video above.
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