When independent filmmaker Sam Mayfield came to Wisconsin to cover the historic protests happening here last winter, she thought she was going to stay for just a few days.
She ended up staying for seven months.
“I saw what I believed to be a significant piece of history unfolding in front of me,” Mayfield tells me by phone from Vermont. “I decided to continue to document it, and to make the movie.”
The movie, Wisconsin Rising, tells the story about “what happens when people act collectively,” she says.
“Corporations have as much say in the political structure as the people,” she says, alluding to the big business backing of Governor Scott Walker. “We have to look at that and question whether democracy actually exists.”
Mayfield arrived in March and could always be found where the action was. She went everywhere with her camera—climbing through windows, going to press conferences, even getting arrested (charges were dropped).
She spoke to regular folks at the protests and to the stars of the movement. She also interviewed my colleagues Ruth Conniff and Matt Rothschild.
I got to know Mayfield well during her sconnie sojourn. I just saw the trailer and I cannot wait to see the film.
But Mayfield needs financial support to finish the project. She hasa Kickstarter campaign and is asking people to chip in. “We are halfway toward our goal,” she says. She has another week to raise another $20,000.
This project is worth supporting. We need credible storytellers. We saw what happens when Fox News tells the story—we get footage of palm trees in February in Wisconsin.
Mayfield says she will be coming back for the recall election, but stresses her film is about more than Walker. “This story is about all of us,” she says.
As a going away present, I gave Mayfield a Packers sweatshirt. I felt that she needed to know what it’s like to win in Wisconsin and not just get our butts kicked.
Is she still wearing it? “I haven’t taken it off.”