Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has found a constituency that really likes her, outside her congressional district in Brooklyn and The Bronx: Moviegoers at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Director Rachel Lears’ documentary “Knock Down the House,” which chronicled Ocasio-Cortez’ underdog victory and the unsuccessful campaigns of three other insurgent Democrats, has won the Festival Favorite award, the Sundance Institute announced Tuesday.
The award is decided by audiences attending all 121 feature films in the festival.
John Cooper, the festival’s director, said in a statement that the movie is “a timely and powerful portrait of bold, risk-taking women, all from very different backgrounds and communities, and we knew it would resonate with and inspire audiences.”
Ocasio-Cortez canceled her planned appearance at the movie’s premiere on Jan. 27, to stay in Washington after the end of the government shutdown. She appeared on The MARC Theatre’s screen via Skype to hear the post-screening cheers.
“Knock Down the House” also won the Audience Award in the festival’s U.S. Documentary competition. A distribution deal is pending.
Other movies that ranked highly for the Festival Favorite award were: Ryan White’s “Ask Dr. Ruth,” the documentary profile of sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer; John Chester’s “The Biggest Little Farm,” a documentary in which Chester and his wife leave L.A. to start a family farm; “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” directed by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, about a Malawi teen building a wind turbine to help his village; and Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light,” about a Pakistani-English teen surviving Thatcher’s England by embracing the music of Bruce Springsteen.
This is the second year Sundance has given a Festival Favorite award. Last year’s winner was the documentary “Science Fair,” which followed several teens as they competed in an international science competition.