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Nat Bates For Mayor

A Film by Eric Weiss and Bradley Berman

75 miutes and 57 minutes

Scene Selection • Closed Captioned

Grades 7 - Adult
Item #:NBM-1129

Select DVD License (limited PPR included)

K-12 Schools, Public Libraries, Community Groups - $89
K-12 DVD + Digital File - $139
Colleges, Businesses, Other Institutions - $295
Colleges (DVD with Digital Site License) - $395
Premiered on KQED's "Truly CA" Series


Nat Bates for Mayor tells the story of the outrageous 2014 mayoral race in Richmond, CA - home to the state's second largest refinery where Chevron spent more than $3 million to back 83-year-old African-American candidate Nat Bates.

Opening with footage of a 2012 fire at the Chevron oil refinery and a heated town hall where blue-collar employees clash with environmentalists, the film sets the groundwork for the election that shifted the balance of power in the city. Councilman Nat Bates makes a Faustian bargain with the corporate devil in hopes of keeping the waning working-class African-American community intact, as it deals with gentrification occurring throughout the Bay Area.

His biggest competition comes from the Richmond Progressive Alliance, an advocacy group who wants Chevron's influence out of the city's affairs. They rally behind Councilman Tom Butt, a man with his own history of dismissing the concerns of low-income residents of the city.

The guerilla-style documentary follows the candidates on the trail, captures revealing personal moments, and records audacious city council meetings as they campaign to take control of the Bay Area's overlooked oil town. Nothing is clear-cut as the film potently mixes issues of corporate influence, race, gentrification, homophobia, political self-determination, and humor -- all told through the lives of bigger-than-life small-town characters.

FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "Our approach was to bear witness to the election rather than advocate for one side or another. In that way, the story serves as a kind of political mystery, or Rorschach test, that forces viewers to figure out where their sympathies lie -- or if it can be placed anywhere in a town where race, corporate influence, gentrification, and homophobia create a toxic climate. The documentary reveals a reality beyond heroes and villains. The restrained sensibility allows the story to be taken as an account of Richmond politics, but also as a kind of litmus for regional and national politics, the current state of the Democratic party, and entrenched political camps that prevail in contemporary American politics."
-Bradley Berman and Eric Weiss

Preview link available upon request. Contact [email protected] for more information
Nat Bates For Mayor
Nat Bates For Mayor

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