Delving into the high-stakes and absurd institutions of western politics, Hunting in Packs
follows politicians Pramila Jayapal (Democrat, US), Michelle Rempel Garner (Conservative, Canada), and Jess Philips (Labour, UK) through elections, leadership campaigns and their efforts to enact bold new policies.
What happens when strong-willed women join the circus of politics? How do they create change? Make real policy? Achieve their goals? Though the three politicians in this film represent different ends of the political spectrum with different constituents and vastly different agendas, they share one common fight: They are all enacting bold policy in the face of an outdated political establishment. Sometimes that fight pits them against their country's leaders, and can even pit them against their own political parties as they navigate gendered double-standards within their respective systems of government.
In the UK, Philips faces a turbulent time as she fights to protect the most vulnerable from being cast aside in the haste of Brexit, namely working-class and immigrant women facing domestic abuse. She goes up against naysayers who try to intimate her into quiet submission. In Canada, Rempel Garner is prepared to fight for the people of Alberta to create regional jobs in the energy sector. Fighting with Prime Minister Trudeau every step of the way, she also begins to challenge her own party to represent a more female-forward vision. In the United States, the film follows Jayapal as she pushes forward Medicare for all, her flagship policy, and tries to build a coalition of progressive power in Washington, D.C., all the while going up against the majority of the House.
Just as each woman begins to make progress, they are thrown into the mayhem of elections and leadership campaigns and are expected to shift gears for "the good" of their leaders and parties. As each woman's portrait becomes fully realized, the viewer must come to their own conclusions as to whether current systems in Western democracies allows for their success. Through the stories of these three legislators, Hunting in Packs offers a nuanced examination of contemporary governments being rocked by the deep polarization of party politics.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "I was initially drawn to the topic because I was interested in the general lack of female representation in politics, and what the barriers were in terms of entering this space. I think on some level I've often fantasized about getting into politics — to have the confidence and belief in your individual ability to change systems, laws, and policies is spectacular. It inspires me.
I want [people] to think about politicians as human beings, first and foremost. I want them to consider the ups and downs you face as a person who deeply cares about their community and country. I want them to understand the courage and bravery it takes to enter politics — especially if you're a woman or from an under-represented community. And I want people to walk away with an understanding and compassion for people for all political stripes; just because you don't share the same values as someone, it doesn't mean you can't understand what motivates them.
I also would love people to consider the absurdity of our political systems at times, and how it really doesn't encourage or even allow individuality."
— Chloe Sosa-Sims