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Street Fight

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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Bullfrog Films
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 82 mins.
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide:

Copyright Date: 2005
Available in French: No

STREET FIGHT chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, NJ between Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics. Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayer are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night. Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence. The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and -- in a surprising twist -- race. Both Booker and James are African-American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League educated Booker of not being "really black" it forces voters to examine how we define race in this country. "We tell our children to get educated," one Newarker says, "and when they do, we call them white. What kind of a message does that send?" STREET FIGHT tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin-doctors, media consultants, or photo ops. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets. DVD version: with chapter selection.

Awards: Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Academy Awards National PBS Broadcast on "POV" Audience Award, Tribeca Film Festival Jury Prize, Best International Documentary, & Audience Award, Hot Docs Film Festival Audience Award, SilverDocs Film Festival Full Frame Documentary Film Festival International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) Nominee for IDA Award, International Documentary Awards Competition Human Rights Watch International Travelling Film Festival International Documentary Film Festival of Montreal Maryland Film Festival Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film Urban World Film Festival