A conversation about the American vote.
Interview with Writer/Director Talora Michal
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
When production started, all footage was captured for a feature documentary film, Four Corners. The feature focuses on the question of contemporary civil rights in America and asks participants to propose win-win solutions to America’s most polarized problems. In reviewing the footage with Executive Producer Georgia Van Cuylenburg, we agreed the content about voting didn’t fit into the feature but was too important not to release. The questions Does my vote count? and If it’s not being counted, should I vote anyway? were important to address.
We ceased post-production of Four Corners and invested time to shape the voting content into a unique film. I’m a Floridian who voted in the 2000 election: I have strong criticism of our election system but mirror the sentiment of one speaker in the film who shared “we are really lucky” to have the right to vote. This film is now the cornerstone of what has come to be referred to in the editing room as The Four Corners Project.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
The cute kids. They are adorable and the unscripted moment that kicks of the discussion shouldn’t be missed. On a serious note, people have become rather cynical about American voting. Watching One Voice—close to the election, too—can serve as a powerful reminder that “we the people” is not just a catch phrase. In 2012, America’s Voting Eligible Population (VEP) was 222,474,111 people. 58% voted: grade school children know this is an “F”. Americans have the right to chose not to vote, but as a whole are failing to exercise citizenship.
Documentaries are invitations to think critically about what someone has to say. When we invest in watching a documentary, we say, “speak: I will listen”. Voters are disillusioned; One Voice can help remind people that with voting there is hope and power.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” My parents taught me these words hundreds of years after Rabbi Hillel wrote them; they are the vertebra of the spine that holds me upright as I live in search of a way to leave the world a little better off than when I entered it.
Personal power and the value of the individual’s voice is promoted in this film, along with the theme that there is strength in numbers: one voice can make a difference, but collected demonstrate how there is strength in numbers.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of heir development and production?
About five days before the 2012 election, select content was released in a rough cut on Youtube [no longer live for viewing]. After the election, we resolved to include more perspectives and alter the physical appearance of the film. During this time, our political consultant, Nick Goroff, suggested we include a segment related to the Voting Rights Act, as it was being challenged in The Supreme Court at that time. The base format remained the same, but the addition of more voices enhanced the picture.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Across the board, feedback has been positive and inspired. One Voice won a Silver Lei at the Honolulu International Film Festival, is an official selection for Awareness Festival, and has been nominated for two SOFIE awards. I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience as a filmmaker.
But the crowning achievement came from a former student. She shared she wasn’t sure she would vote out of nervousness. After viewing the film, she wrote that One Voice gave her the confidence to vote. This email was a powerful testament that the picture is accomplishing what we set out to do.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
As a first time filmmaker, I am honored One Voice has been welcomed and recognized by multiple organizations.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
The production team aspires to involve as many people in the voting conversation as possible, and help nervous voters find a quiet place to educate and vote. The One Voice website is a one-stop resource to help voters educate and prepare for the vote. I hope viewing One Voice will spark confidence in voters—as it did with my former student—to educate and strive to make a difference on election day.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We hope that journalists will take interest in spreading the message participants share in this film prior to the election, especially those made towards the end of the film. It would be wonderful if One Voice piqued interested in The Four Corners Project as we continue to seek a distributor for when the feature has concluded.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
An increase of participation by VEPs in every election.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Does my vote count?
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Now that One Voice has wrapped, we are resuming work on the feature, Four Corners.
Interview: October 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
One Voice: A Voting Conversation
A conversation about the American vote.
Length: 24 minutes
Director: Talora Michal
Producer: Georgia Van Cuylenburg
Writer: Talora Michal
About the writer, director and producer:
Talora Michal is a seasoned educator and writer with an MFA from Antioch University who resides in South Florida. One Voice is her first film.
Georgia Van Cuylenburg is an actress, writer, comedian, and producer. Her first documentary Baby Let Your Hair Hang Down was met with critical acclaim.
Allison Weber; Maryam Henein; Rio Brown; Rebecca "Rivky" Farber; Alexis Bercy; Angela Mcardle
; Barbara Weinstein; Maya Jordon; Michael Black; Mike Dunn; Miles McKee; Monsignor George Puthusseril; Nata Cornelio; Nicholas M. Goroff; Nikita Komarov; Noah Diamond; Patricio E. Coicou; Rebecca Billerio; Ricardo Diaz; Robert Lee Taylor; Robin Vidal; Sam Humied; Sarah Johnson; Sheila Clark; Stephanie Wong; Tony Gomes; Victorious DeCosta; Aimee Zannoni; Allison Feldman; Amanda Lee Sisk; Brooke Siffrin; Christian Riveron; Colton Beu; Darryl Marksberry; Georgia Van Cuylenburg; Jay Silverstein; Jennifer Sirottsin; Jesse Payne; Justin D'Alfonso; Katherine McCall; Rev. Keith Walbolt; Laurie Buckley; Lee Chatman; Mariella Fischer; Rachel Fishman; Ricardo Riveron
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Distributors and journalists
Made in association with:
I am Spartacus Entertainment