Knock Down the House, the award-winning documentary about four women who ran grassroots campaigns during the 2018 midterm elections, has finally nabbed a premiere date. On May 1, the film will be available on Netflix and in select theaters across the country, a particularly fitting premiere date considering that it’s May Day, aka International Workers’ Day.
Each of the women featured—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin—had their own personal reasons for wanting to change the balance of power in the U.S. and bring progressiveness to the fore. AOC worked double shifts as a bartender in order to keep her home from being foreclosed on. Vilela witnessed firsthand the cruelty of the American healthcare system when she lost a loved one to a preventable medical condition. Swearengin had seen the negative impact of the coal industry on her family, local environment and community as the daughter of a coal miner. Pastor and registered nurse Bush felt compelled to enter the world of politics after police shot an unarmed black man in her neighborhood, plunging the area into protests and increased police presence. These women reached out to the voters with varying success, but their efforts all mark a sea-change in American politics.
Rachel Lears (The Hand That Feeds) directed Knock Down the House and wrote the doc with fellow The Hand That Feeds collaborator Robin Blotnick. Lears and Blotnick produce with Sarah Olson (Fed Up). The film won the Audience Award: U.S. Documentary and the Festival Favorite Award at 2019’s Sundance Film Festival.