In case you haven't been paying attention, women are kicking major butt in politics these days. A new documentary on Netflix follows four of these women — each of whom decided to run for office for the first time. The doc follows each of their campaigns and you may be wondering when Knock Down the House was filmed.
The film, directed by Emmy-nominated director and producer, Rachel Lears, revolves around four women candidates running for election during the midterm election. Knock Down the House was filmed in the moments leading up to, during, and immediately after the results. The actual election took place Nov. 6 of 2018, but the documentary covers the months of campaigning each woman went through including all their hurdles and all their triumphs.
The doc follows four progressive Democrats running for Congress: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia. The documentary, which is a "people-powered production" via Kickstarter, first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
As you may know by now, Ocasio-Cortez was the only woman of the four who surged through the midterms with a win but you may not know the layers of hard work it took to get that bid. One of the more interesting points Knock Down the House makes is that there was no "big" money donated to any of these women's campaigns — no PAC or high-powered donor that might persuade them to run on issues they normally wouldn't. "If I was a rational person, I would’ve dropped out of this race a long time ago," Ocasio-Cortez jokes in the trailer. "Americans aren’t asking for a lot, they’re just asking for politicians to help them get by."
Ocasio-Cortez's story began when she had to work double shifts to keep her house from foreclosure. Meanwhile, Nevada native, Vilela lost her daughter while doctors argued over insurance details. Bush felt inspired to create change after the shooting of an unarmed black man and protests began to tear her community apart. And Swearengin — a coal miner's daughter — wants real environmental change from the impacts of coal mining. Each woman has a story to tell through her campaign as shown in Knock Down the House and each represents a different part of the country. They all do it with little or no experience, zero corporate money, and still capture the heart of America — whether they won or lost. At the core, this documentary is about everyday Americans trying to help other everyday Americans no matter which political party.
If you watch the trailer and don't get the chills, are you even human?
Knock Down the House may have been filmed last year, during one of the busiest election cycles in history, but the film very much feels like it's happening in the present moment. If you need a motivation, or are looking for something to inspire, Ocasio-Cortez leaves you with the very sentiment she ran her campaign on saying in the trailer, "I can do this." And whatever your thing is, you can do it, too.