Beyond Elections Documentary Trailer

Beyond Elections - Available Now! Disponible Ahora!

Beyond Elections is a new feature-length documentary by Michael Fox & Sílvia Leindecker, distributed PM Press. Watch Film.

Mas Allá de las Elecciones es un nuevo documental por Michael Fox y Sílvia Leindecker, distribuido por PM Press. Ver Película.

Além das Eleições é um novo documentário por Michael Fox e Sílvia Leindecker, distribuído por PM Press. Olhar Film.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Still Need Your Help & Elected Official Offer

Thank you again for your interest and support of Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas. We had an amazing tour- showed the movie in over 20 locations to hundreds of people all across the country – and are now back home in Brazil but that doesn’t mean our work is done.

Our distributor in the United States and Canada, PM Press, officially began distribution on Oct. 28, 2008, and we are still working to promote Beyond Elections across the country. But we need your help.

Ways to Help:
1. Talk to your library, your movie rental and local bookstore and ask them to carry Beyond Elections, available through

2. Hold your own Beyond Elections house party or local showing. Please contact us if you're interested in presenting it in your community, and we can send a copy for your local screening.

3. Help us get Beyond Elections in the hands of elected officials all across the country. Buy a copy of Beyond Elections online between now and Inauguration Day (and mention this offer) and we'll send another copy- free of charge -to the elected official of your choice (just mention this offer and send us the name and address of the representative when you buy your copy).

4. Join our Facebook Group & tell your friends. Only with your help will we be able to get the word out.

Thanks again for all of your interest and support.

-Michael Fox & Sílvia Leindecker
Co-Directors, Beyond Elections

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama Win! Pushing “Beyond Elections”

November 6, 2008, by Michael Fox -

“I just got a call from the Associated Press,” announced the speaker before the crowd of Obama supporters packed in to the Virginia Democratic Headquarters in the McLean Hilton in Northern Virginia “We just did what has not been done since 1964.” The crowd erupted in to euphoria. Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama had just taken Virginia. And with Virginia- as was announced moments later -so went the presidency. The emotion was indescribable. Strangers hugged. Tears fell. Cheers rolled through the ballroom. The United States had a new president- an African American president, bringing new hope to a Nation in difficult times.

Record numbers of Americans participated Tuesday in one of the greatest moments in U.S. history. But as Obama declared in his acceptance speech, “The road ahead will be long.” We are still in an ongoing disastrous war, and amidst a failing economy. Beltway lobbyists still inhabit the halls of Washington, and while Democrats have picked up seats in both the House and the Senate, there remains nothing to ensure voters that their elected representatives- both new and old -will actually fulfill their campaign promises and listen to the American people.

Veteran journalist, Bill Moyers says that “our democratic process is in a state of crisis.” Regardless of who’s in office, control lies not in the hands of the American people, but with the lobbyists and special interests that fund the political campaigns and ultimately control public policy.

But for the first time in memory, we are at a crossroads. Since the birth of our country, citizens have slowly struggled to increase our democracy for all- from the right to vote, through the civil rights movement to the civil rights act, and struggles even until today to ensure that everyone has the right to cast their ballot, and that everyone’s ballot will be counted. But now a new window of opportunity has opened. That which many believed impossible only a few years ago has now become reality. An African American will lead the United States as the 44th president. But that fact alone does not ensure equality, and we need to continue our mobilization. Not only when Obama or our representatives run astray, but for greater participation in our democracy, on a daily basis- not only in politics, but also in the economy, society and culture.

Democracy does not end when you cast your vote. That is where it begins. In the words of the Portuguese academic Boaventura de Souza Santos, democracy is “without end” (democracia sem fim).

While U.S. citizens voted in record numbers on Nov. 4, our democratic duty cannot stop there. Obama declared on Tuesday night, “This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.”

We can no longer leave important local, regional or national decisions in the hands of our elected representatives alone. They should be held accountable, not to their campaign contributors, but to the citizens who they are supposed to represent. Our elected representatives should commit to fulfill their campaign promises, open up spaces of participation with decisions directly in the hands of the citizens (direct consultations, participatory budgeting, etc.), and to be willing to be held accountable by those they represent- not only during the election cycle, but throughout their entire term.

We have centuries of history to build on, and countless participatory experiences to learn from- both in the United States and across the Americas, which are blossoming with new exciting possibilities. And we too can go “beyond elections” to open up democracy in all aspects of our lives, to not only decide our political future, but our social, cultural and economic future.

“This is our moment. This is our time.” Said Obama on Tuesday evening before more than a hundred thousand supporters in Chicago’s Grant Park. “To put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one;”

We are one, and we have the right to participate together in the decision-making processes that govern our lives. “And those who tell us that we can't,” says Obama, “we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.”

Michael Fox is a Latin America based journalist, reporter and filmmaker. He is Co-director of the recently released documentary, Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas, which has just been on tour around the U.S., and is now available at PM Press.

Monday, November 3, 2008

U.S. Elections – Demanding Participation

November 3, 2008, by Michael Fox -

The Dow may be back up, but the economic crisis isn’t going anywhere fast. According to a recent poll, American citizens are now more pessimistic about the US economy than they have been in more than four decades, and no true structural solutions are being offered. Not only were the culprits of our failing economy let off the hook, but they were actually rewarded for their selfishness and bailed out- with the American people left to front the bill.

But it is not only the financial system that is failing. Across the US, the American people are saying the same thing, “They don’t represent me!” Everyone- from housewives to truck drivers, inner city resident to small farmers are all mad as hell.

Our system is failing. Homeowners and renters are both out on the streets. Unemployment is rising, so is the gap between the rich and the poor. The elderly are losing their pensions. Millions can’t afford health insurance. Presidential approval is at an all-time low. We’re stuck in an unwanted war halfway across the world, but there is little that most Americans feel they can do about it.

And so tomorrow at the polls US citizens face one of the most decisive moments in US history. We will go cast our ballots, and hopefully we will usher in a new clean slate. But then what? Our political system has degenerated in to a political football game. Polls are churned out showing that one candidate or the other has gained points on the other. We use boxing terminology to describe the debates (“he got a few punches in”) and policy is decided by your ability to persuade US citizens, not to listen to them.

Which is exactly what we must demand. “That government of the people, by the people, for the people,” as President Abraham Lincoln said more than a century ago.

Democracy is not something that happens once every four years when you go vote for President, Senator, governor or congressman. It should be an every day act. It can be participatory, and we can no longer leave important local, regional or national decisions in the hands of our elected representatives alone.

They should be held accountable, not to their campaign contributors, but to the citizens who they are supposed to represent. So when we go vote tomorrow, we should not only consider which of the candidates is going to best represent us, but which candidate will be willing to fulfill this commitment and open up the greatest amount of dialogue and communication with the voters. Which candidate will allow him/herself to be held accountable and responsible for their decisions and their campaign promises? Which candidate will pass power to the American people?

Unaccountable politicians and beltway lobbyists got us in to this mess. Only the American people can get us out.

Michael Fox is a Latin America based journalist, reporter and filmmaker. He is Co-director of the recently released documentary, Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas, which has just been on tour around the U.S., and is now available at PM Press.

Fear Campaign on the Eve of US Elections

November 3, 2008, by Michael Fox -

Like most any day over the last two months, my wife and I spent Halloween on the road. We were in Boston on Thursday night showing our new documentary film, “Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas”, and had to drive back to New York City on Friday, one of the last stops on our US tour which had taken us out to California and back.

So, while most of the United States was following the presidential hopefuls through their TV sets, we were relying on our car radio as we drove around the country.

Now, I’m used to covering elections. Over the last five years, I’ve reported on at least as many presidential and local elections in several Latin American countries. The propaganda game plan is familiar across the region. Weeks to months before the election, the conservative party begins to churn out it’s smear and fear campaign in an attempt to demonize it’s challenger and link him or her to things like “communism”, “dictatorships”, “terrorism”, “drugs” or “crime”.

The mainstream media- controlled by a relatively small group of wealthy individuals and corporations -follows suit echoing the sound bites with words like “socialist” and “dictator” and other cold war imagery which they quickly link to the more progressive candidate.

Latin Americans are relatively used to such scare tactics, and even so, the fear campaign can have a pivotal effect on the outcome of an election. However, I never would have imagined this to also be so highly developed here in the United States- as we found over thousands of miles tuned to the AM dial.

This became blatantly clear Halloween afternoon as we drove out of Southeastern Massachusetts towards Rhode Island.

“With McCain, in my opinion, you have substance, with Obama you have style and image, that’s it,” said the host of the first station I turned to. “It’s hard to raise a family these days, why are so many families, average families, struggling to keep their heads above water? Why are so many Americans working harder and longer… three words, the tax trap.” The guest caller tried to respond and was cut off. I switched to the next station, flipped past a couple of commercials and landed on the Monica Crowley show.

“Anybody who disagrees with this guy is going to be plastered and screwed to the wall. These people are living in a dillusionary world. The Obama. Barack Obama, he hates the press…” she cried. “This guy he’s all about leading by a single party and leading by dictatorship. This guy really honestly believes that he’s the chosen one.”

Crowley continued, drawing similarities between Obama and Hitler. “The Obama tyranny that’s already here,” she continued. “This is how the Obama rolls people, this is how he rolls and it’s only gonna get worse when he becomes president. That’s why we have four days left before this election. It’s not to late to stop this.”

I switched the dial again. “I am telling you from this, and from the democrats that I know, that they are frightened.” said Fox radio host, Sean Hannity, “They don’t believe these polls, they know this race has tightened significantly, and they know that the independents are breaking for John McCain.”

“The markets rallied even on Friday,” he continued. “NASDAQ is up 4 days in a row. If Wall Street thought Obama was going to win, why do I doubt this would be happening? As we have seen before, there would be more panic selling. They have their own internal sources. I’m telling you, something is going on here, as it relates to this campaign.”

“Another odd thing here, is that the Associated Press finds that Obama cannot seal the deal… Obama is not having the ability to close, and by the way, I’m told that the Clintons despise him and my guess is when they get inside the voting booth, they’re voting for McCain.”

I switched the station and scanned the AM dial looking for even a slightly objective point of view. I never found it. Not in Southern Massachusetts, nor in Rhode Island, nor Connecticut. In fact, during our drive of more than 10,000 miles across the country, we spent hour after hour listening to AM radio, and during the entire trip, I remember hearing pro-Obama radio talk hosts only a handful of times. I don’t doubt that they are out there, but they are so disproportionately outnumbered by the radical right wing that they are but a whisper on the airwaves. That does not mean that Obama support is waning, but that such alternative voices simply aren't represented in our corporate controlled radio, where a few large corporations decide what they want the American people to listen to.

If AM radio was where I got my information, I’m sure I too would be lulled in to believing that Obama was a “dictator”, a “communist” or losing in the polls. Especially while shock-jocks like Crowley ride “the press” for buddying up to the presidential candidate. If you repeat something enough, they say it becomes true. Not really, but something doesn’t have to be true for millions of people to believe and repeat it.

I turned the station back to Hannity, who was mocking Obama.

“When you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” He said cynically. “Biden says its your patriotic duty. Look this is a direct threat on freedom, liberty and capitalism…”

If freedom, liberty and capitalism are really about choices and competition, then the direct threat is the take-over of our airwaves by a narrow-minded group of individuals that represent a small set of interests. A direct threat, aimed at distorting the facts and scaring the American people in to voting against a political candidate that even speaks of change. This is something most Latin American countries must also contend with, but you probably wouldn’t know that from listening to AM radio.

Michael Fox is a Latin America based journalist, reporter and filmmaker. He is Co-director of the recently released documentary, Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas, which has just been on tour around the U.S., and is now available at PM Press.


To schedule a screening contact mike(at)

Previous Screenings

Outubro 17, 2009- Novo Hamburgo, Brasil
Sabado, Outubro 17 @ 18hr

Seminário Estadual do Acampamento Intercontinental de Juventude - Forum Social Mundial, 10 Anos (FSM)
Sociedade Gaúcha Lomba Grande
Novo Hamburgo, RS

Outubro 15, 2009- Esteio, Brasil
Quinta-Feira, Outubro 15 @
Casa de Cultura Lufredina Araújo Gaya

Esteio, RS
*Debate com os diretores

September 28, 2009- Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa
Monday, September 28 @ 4pm
The Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA)

357 Visagie Street (corner Prinsloo), Pretoria
**Q&A w/ Directors, Michael Fox & Sílvia Leindecker

September 16, 2009- Austin, Texas
Wednesday, September 16 @ 8pm
MonkeyWrench Books,
110 E. North Loop, Austin, Texas

July 19-21, 2009 - Cape Town, South Africa

The While You Were Sleeping Collective will be hosting screenings of Beyond Elections at the Labia Cinema on Orange Street, Cape Town, on the following dates:
Sun 19 July 6:15pm
Mon 20 July 8:30pm
Tue 21 July 8:30pm

Julho 20, 2009 - Porto Alegre, Brasil
Segunda-feira, 20 de julho, as 19:30
Sala de cinema do SindBancários (CineBancários)
Rua General Câmara 424 - Centro - Porto Alegre.

Julho 21, 2009 - São Leopoldo, Brasil
Terça-feira, 21 de julho, as 10:00 am
São Leopoldo Fest, Espaço Pensamento

La Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala, 6 de Mayo, 2009, 7pm, Blanco y Negro: 7pm, Zona 1, 9a calle entre 6a y 7a Avenida, Pasaje Aycinena.

Atlanta, Georgia, 4th Annual Latin American Caribbean Film Festival 2009

Orlando, Florida,
February 13, 2009, 3:30pm, FL Interactive Entertainment Academy, Orlando Latin American Film Festival

World Social Forum, Belém, Brasil, January 31, 2009, 4:30pm, The Federal University of the Amazon (UFRA) Theater – CASA PAN AMAZÔNICA


Baltimore, Sept. 11, 2008, 6:30 pm, Red Emma's

New York City, Sept. 14, 2008, 7pm
, Bluestockings
Chicago, Sept. 16, TBA

Milwaukee, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, 7pm,
People's Book Cooperative

Madison, Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, 7 pm,
Electric Earth Coffeehouse (546 W. Washington Ave, Madison, WI)

Minneapolis, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, 10 am,
Resource Center of the Americas
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, 7pm, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul
(Davis Lecture Hall, Student Center, SW corner of Grand & Snelling) MAP

Bay Area, California, Sept. 27-30
Global Exchange

San Diego, Oct. 1-3
Monte Perdido

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008, 7pm,
The Santa Fe Complex. Click for directions.

Oklahoma City, Monday, Oct. 13, 2008,
house party, call for directions

New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008, 6pm,, 6018 El Dorado Street

Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008, 5:30pm
, Little Five Points Community Center, 1083 Austin Ave, Room 105 (call 404.610.2807 for more information) Presented by the Latin American and Caribbean Community Center

Asheville, North Carolina, Monday, Oct. 20
, 2008, 7:30pm, Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company (77 Coxe Avenue)

Washington DC, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, 7:30pm, The People's MEDIA Center, ( 3142 Georgia Ave., NW, Located between Kansas & Taylor, 4 blocks North of Petworth Metro
Green/Yellow Line Metro. Bus #64, 70, 71)

Philadelphia, PA, Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, 7pm, Prometheus Radio Project (Calvary Church, 48th & Baltimore Ave. West Philly)

New York City, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008, 7pm, The IRT Theater (154 Christopher St #3B, btw Washington & Greenwich Streets)

New Paltz, NY, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008, 5pm, SUNY, New Paltz,

(CSB Auditorium, click for directions)
Amherst, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008, 7:30pm, Hampshire College (Franklin Paterson Hall in the East lecture Hall)

Boston, Mass., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008, 8pm, MIT (Building 7, 4th floor, Audio Visual Lab, 77 Mass. Ave)

Washington DC, Saturday, November 1, 2008, 11 pm,
Busboys & Poets (5th & K, 1025 5th St, NW)

Arlington, VA, Sunday, November 2, 2008, 8pm, Busboys & Poets (Busboys @ Shirlington,
4251 South Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA)

Other Beyond Election Presentations
Halifax, Canada,
Thursday, October 9th, 2008, 7 pm, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Ave, Room 105

Toronto, Canada, Thursday, October 16, 2008, 7:30- 9:30pm, Learning Democracy by Doing Conference, (University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. West)

Burlington, Vermont, October 16, 2008, 7pm, Burlington College (95 North Avenue, Burlington)

St. Paul, MN, Friday, Dec 5, 2008 • 7 PM, House Party! 464 Dayton Ave #4, St Paul, MN 55102, (Contact Sarah Humpage, 651-592-9693 cell or 651-340-9336) Resource Center of the Americas

Los Angeles, CA, Saturday, Dec 6, 2008 • 7 PM, Eastside Café, 5469 No. Huntington Dr., El Sereno, CA 90032

Oakland, CA, Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008 • 7 PM, Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave
OAKLAND (Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas)