Film directed by Rachel Lears voted best among 121 features
Rachel Lears' documentary Knock Down the House, which focuses on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic women "insurgent" candidates, has won the Sundance Festival Favorite Award. The honor is voted on by festival-goers, choosing among the 121 features to play at Sundance.
The award, inaugurated last year, has gone to documentaries both times. Last year, Science Fair took the Festival Favorite title.
In Knock Down the House, Lears follows AOC on her long shot campaign to unseat Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in New York in 2018, as well as bids for Congress by Cori Bush in Missouri, Amy Vilela in Nevada and Paula Jean Swearengin in West Virginia, who all ran against entrenched incumbents. Only AOC prevailed, winning election in the general election after beating Crowley in the Democratic primary.
“This film is a timely and powerful portrait of bold, risk-taking women, all from very different backgrounds and communities," festival director John Cooper said in a statement. "We knew it would resonate with and inspire audiences.”
Nonfictionfilm.com covered the world premiere of the film. Watch our video piece here:
According to Sundance, runners-up for the Festival Favorite Award included the documentaries Ask Dr. Ruth, directed by Ryan White, and The Biggest Little Farm, directed by John Chester. Other top contenders included the scripted dramas The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Blinded by the Light, directed by Gurinder Chadha.
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.