Sun Feb 23, 2020 – 2:30 pm | Bagels & More
Directed by Bryan Oldenburg
USA | 86 min | 2019
This documentary travels through Blue and Red Counties in the Director’s home state of Wisconsin, asking an interesting array of characters who they voted for in Election 2016, and what they thought happened. As the film progresses, one important question starts arising: is friendship still possible in divided WI/America? SWING STATE is the first film in a 2 (possibly 3) part series, which also looks forward to the 2020 Election.
I’ve lived in the Beloit area all my life and attended Beloit College in the mid-80s (thus making me a “Townie/Gownie,” as the campus affectionately tagged such people). I’ve been interested in politics since my late teenage years, especially the political scene in Chicago (to my South) and Madison (to the North). Election 2016 was really a politico’s dream, with a couple of polarizing candidates, who helped prove, once again, that America’s Dairyland plays an enormous role as a swing state. Interestingly enough, Wisconsin was decided by a razor-thin 22,000 votes—the same amount Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, got. I found it rather odd that Hillary Clinton decided not to visit Wisconsin once during the primaries, and I asked citizens to comment on this fact during interviews.
I started my journey at The Women’s March in Madison, where the atmosphere was predictably electric. The cast of characters (as with all the places in my film) was ideal for documentary filmmaking, both for their passion and intelligence. My goal was to strike a balance between left and right leaning views, as I continued through Beloit, Baraboo, Kenosha, Fond du Lac and Ripon (in the first film) to Janesville, Mauston, Friendship and Milwaukee (in the second). Both by way of research and travel, I discovered many things about a place I thought I knew much better. I hope you, too, learn a lot about my home state, as you listen to folks giving their take on the most interesting election of my lifetime. With the Democrats bringing their convention to Milwaukee in 2020, the interest can only continue to grow, and all eyes will be set on Wisconsin as one of a handful of important swing states.
Bryan Oldenburg began Radio Broadcasting right out of Beloit College, then entered the world of Television Commercials about ten years after that. His latest foray into Documentary Filmmaking started roughly 8 years ago with THE MINDSET MOVIE, which told the story of The Beloit College Mindset List (a chronicle of Freshman thinking throughout the decades). In SWING STATE, he teams up with veteran cinematographer, Dan Klopp, of both Milwaukee and Madison notoriety, plus welcomes in master musician, Ryan Thomas Becker, who won “Best Guitarist in Texas” a few years ago (no small accomplishment). Award-winning Associate Producer, Jim Peterson (THE YUPPIE, DARKWING DUCK, KIM POSSIBLE, etc.) comes onboard yet again to offer his brilliant insights in SWING STATE— an endeavor that is likely to become a 3-Part series, once the Democrats bring their convention to Milwaukee.