Variety Streaming Room
"All In: The Fight for Democracy" filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, wanted their documentary to paint a holistic picture of voter suppression in the United States through the lens of Stacey…
“All In: The Fight for Democracy” filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, wanted their documentary to paint a holistic picture of voter suppression in the United States through the lens of Stacey Abrams’ 2018 bid for Georgia governor.
Garbus and Cortés discussed the impact of the film on the future of voting rights and democracy, particularly within the context of the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, with Variety artisans editor Jazz Tangcay in the Variety Streaming Room. The discussion also included clips from the documentary portraying Abrams’ approach toward mobilizing suppressed communities.
“What has occurred in Georgia is so phenomenal and speaks to the mobilization of communities who never were heard before in such an important and powerful way,” Cortés said. “And that is what gives me hope and promise is that the people when we speak and when we organize that we can make the change that is so necessary and important.”
In one clip, Abrams, who produced the film, explores her motivations to run for governor. For Cortés, the scene represents a “phoenix rising” moment, where the politician and activist moves on from her devastating loss and ramps up the grassroots organization of Fair Fight Action, a national Georgia-based voting rights organization founded by Abrams.
“She sat in mourning because she had to figure out what was next,” Cortés said. “How do you counter what happened in 2018 and all the voter suppression that occurred in Georgia and that coming out of such sorrow and loss was a desire to really amp up this work that she had been doing for many years.”
Garbus added that while a large focus during the 2020 election included the battleground states of Ohio and Arizona, Abrams knew her state would play a decisive role in electing the president.
“She knew the numbers because she had been working with these numbers and with these people for 10 years … Mostly Black women had ideas and implemented them over the course of a decade. It did not happen overnight,” Garbus said.
In making the film, the directors said they were fortunate enough to finish production prior to the onset of the pandemic and were happy to collaborate for post-production virtually. Given that the documentary did not have a traditional release, Cortés said they aimed to apply the film’s lessons of accessibility and civic participation during promotion. The movie was available for free viewing leading up to the election on Amazon Prime Video and was marketed via a multi-state bus tour that screened the film and registered people to vote.
“We’re all a part of the continual desire to see this film as a tool to be a service to communities … And to see the film, was always this constant drum of engagement with people,” Cortés said.