Documentary filmmaker stands behind feature

Sensing another chance for a doc to influence the electorate, Michael Moore is tubthumping “The Youngest Candidate” at his annual film fest in Traverse City, Mich.

The film, about four teenage political hopefuls, screens at the fest on Wednesday with the hope that a distrib will step in for a fall rollout. The film, directed by tyro helmer Jason Pollock, is produced by Lawrence Bender, Balance Vector Prods. and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants.

Other youth-oriented political docs are also seeking an election-year bounce. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s Oscilloscope just picked up “FrontRunners,” a SXSW fave about the presidential race at Gotham’s Stuyvesant High School. It’s set for an Oct. 15 bow at Film Forum.

The key difference with “The Youngest Candidate” is that it’s about teens running for elected office, not class president. The film follows four 2007 candidates: one who ran for mayor of Hartford, Conn.; another who ran for city council in Memphis, Tenn.; a school board candidate in Hampton Township, Pa.; and a City Council hopeful in Atlantic City, N.J.

Letterman’s company came aboard the project because the latenight host had welcomed several teen candidates onto the talkshow over the years.

“We anticipate this film will carry their sense of hope to new audiences,” said Worldwide Pants chief exec Rob Burnett.

Pollock said he made the film to draw attention to these inspirational youths in politics and to bring attention to the youth vote in this presidential election year.

“Democracy depends on talented people of all walks who are willing to advocate for their beliefs,” the helmer said. “Teenagers are running and winning elected positions all over America, and yet most Americans are unaware that 18-year-olds can run for public office.”

Moore considers the film “one of the best first-time documentaries I’ve seen” and one suited to “a year that has been defined by a virtual youth revolution.”

Attending the screening, along with Pollock and some of the film’s subjects, will be Michael Sessions, the 19-year-old mayor of Hillsdale, Mich.

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