Ocasio-Cortez stunned senior House Democrat in New York primary last week
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' improbable victory in a House Democratic primary over one of the most senior figures in the party has made her an instant celebrity. And one prescient documentary filmmaker was there to capture her on the road to victory.
Rachel Lears tells Vanity Fair she filmed Ocasio-Cortez on primary day last week as the 28-year-old Democratic Socialist won her race against 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley, a man some had expected to eventually succeed Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Lears has reportedly been documenting Ocasio-Cortez since March 2017 for a film focusing on four women who decided to run for office in the wake of Donald Trump's election as president. The working title of her film is Knock Down the House.
She was able to engage voters that have been neglected by the Democratic Party machine in New York City.
"Lears began working on her documentary the day after Trump’s election," Yohana Desta wrote in Vanity Fair. "She got in touch with organizations...to find charismatic female candidates who weren’t career politicians, but had become newly galvanized to represent their communities."
Lears has reportedly captured a wide variety of footage of Ocasio-Cortez, including the day she decided to run for Congress and video of her at Flats Fix, a Mexican restaurant where she worked as a bartender.
Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican Anthony Pappas in November, a race she is expected to win. As for Knock Down the House, Lears hopes to complete filming in early 2019. She has established a Kickstarter campaign for the film, which so far has raised more than $28,000.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.