Andres: Barred from the Ballot Box, 6:41.  US and some international broadcast rights available.

It was the third day we’d been shooting with Andres Idarraga for the video, Democracy's Ghosts.  We accompanied him to his class at the University of Rhode Island expecting to grab a little b-roll footage of him to show how much progress he’d made in the short time since he’d been released from prison for drug dealing. His teacher asked him to read the paper he'd been working on. We were rocked by how well he wrote and how forcefully he brought his circumstances and the issue of felon disfranchisement to classmates he likely didn’t know all that well. 

The piece Andres had been working on was an Op-Ed for a local newspaper based on testimony he’d be giving before a committee of the Rhode Island State Legislature. We thought we should do something with this.  By the time he appeared before the legislature, his reading was dead on. Because of his testimony and that of others, the committee was convinced to put a measure before the legislature calling for a ballot initiative.  The state will vote in November 2006 to decide whether to make it possible for former felons living and working in the community to vote.

We decided to make a graphic piece out of it, figuring it would be useful for the campaign to change people’s minds about these harsh felon disfranchisement laws.  We believe democracy can and should involve everyone.  And we believe in Andres. 

Andres:Barred has recently been featured in the Rhode Island and Connecticut international film festivals.

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