When: Tue., March 27, 7 p.m. 2018
Directors Eric Weiss and Bradley Berman knew that Richmond’s 2014 mayoral campaign was a soul-searching story that needed to be told on film, so they shadowed the candidates. On one side was the Black old-guard powerbroker Nat Bates, who benefitted from millions in Chevron largesse. His opponent, Mike Parker, was a white organizer with the scrappy Richmond Progressive Alliance — a group Bates smeared as the “Richmond Plantation Alliance” because he viewed RPA as usurping Black influence. The RPA labeled Bates a Chevron puppet. Bates supporters, like then-councilmember Corky Boozé, shot back that Parker looked like a “Hells Angel” who would “destroy” Richmond. By the time the cantankerous urban goat herder Tom Butt entered the race, the city’s factions were in a full-blown war of identity — to say nothing of their disagreements over gentrification, LGBTQ rights, and holding Chevron’s local refinery accountable for environmental pollution. Berman describes the film as a “primer for Richmond politics.” In that sense, it’s like watching a year-long boxing match with no referee. A panel discussion with Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles and environmental activist Andres Soto, moderated by KQED’s John Sepulvado, follows the film.