The documentary Knock Down the House that followed four women political candidates, including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, during the 2018 mid-term elections, was voted the winner of the Festival Favorite Award of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Runners-up and other strong contenders for the Festival Favorite Award included Ask Dr. Ruth, The Biggest Little Farm, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and Blinded by the Light.
Knock Down the House, which had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, follows four women political candidates from around the country – a young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada and a registered nurse in Missouri – during the 2018 mid-term elections as they took to the campaign trail, built and engaged their bases, and built a movement. The film was directed by Rachel Lears and produced by Lears, Sarah Olson and Robin Blotnick.
John Cooper, Director, Sundance Film Festival, said, “This film 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.” Ballots distributed at each screening were counted as the Festival Favorite Award determination.
Runners-up for the Festival Favorite, as ballots were counted, included:
Ask Dr. Ruth / U.S.A. (Director: Ryan White, Producers: Rafael Marmor, Ryan White, Jessica Hargrave, Christopher Leggett) — A documentary portrait chronicling the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. As her 90th birthday approaches, Dr. Ruth revisits her painful past and her career at the forefront of the sexual revolution.
The Biggest Little Farm / U.S.A. (Director: John Chester, Screenwriters: Mark Monroe, John Chester, Producers: Sandra Keats, John Chester) — Two dreamers and a dog embark on an odyssey to bring harmony to their lives and the land. As their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and life itself.
Other strong-showing audience favorites included:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Producers: Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan) — Against all odds, a thirteen year old boy in Malawi invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine. Based on the true story of William Kamkwamba. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maxwell Simba, Lily Banda, Noma Dumezweni, Aissa Maiga, Joseph Marcell.
Blinded by the Light / United Kingdom (Director: Gurinder Chadha, Screenwriters: Sarfraz Manzoor, Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges, Producers: Gurinder Chadha, Jane Barclay, Jamal Daniel) — In 1987 during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Cast: Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, Aaron Phagura.
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 23 through February 2, 2020.