'Knock Down the House' Documentary Featuring AOC + Three 2018 Democratic Candidates Sold To Netflix for $10 Million

Sundance Knock Down the House.jpg

The Kickstarter campaign read: When her daughter died from a preventable medical condition, businesswoman Amy Vilela of Las Vegas didn't know what to do with her anger about America's broken health care system. Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts in a restaurant to save her family’s home from foreclosure after losing her father. Cori Bush, a Saint Louis nurse, was drawn into the streets when the shooting of Michael Brown brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. Paula Jean Swearengin buried family and neighbors to illnesses caused by West Virginia’s coal industry — and worries her children will be next. All four women understood that their lives were affected by politics, but none had considered running for office themselves. Until now.

424 backers pledged $28,111 to help bring the documentary ‘Knock Down The House: A Documentary’ to life. Created by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick, ‘Knock Down The House’ won the Sundance’s Festival Favorite Award, a fact that most certainly impacted the recent sale of all distribution rights to the film to Netflix for $10 million. Deadline reports that NEON, Focus, Hulu and Amazon were also vying for the feature

(Left to right) Paula Jean Swearengin, Amy Vilella, film director Rachel Lears, and Cori Bush at the Sundance premiere of  Knock Down the House  (photo courtesy Sundance Institute). Missing is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who scored one of the greatest upsets in political history in her defeat of Joe Crowley..

(Left to right) Paula Jean Swearengin, Amy Vilella, film director Rachel Lears, and Cori Bush at the Sundance premiere of Knock Down the House (photo courtesy Sundance Institute). Missing is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who scored one of the greatest upsets in political history in her defeat of Joe Crowley..

Hyperallergic profiles the film, writing that Lears has a good eye and sharp instincts in her decision to shadow Ocasio Cortez’s campaign even before she filed her nomination.

On one hand, through Ocasio Cortez’s campaign, Lears’ pragmatic lens reveals the very foundation on which America was built: a land that epitomized countless possibilities and equal opportunities for just about anyone. And on the other, she mines Ocasio Cortez’s solitary – and toilsome – win to anchor the frustrations of the “process” that fails the other three candidates.

The film has many bittersweet moments that deal with rejections, and it refuses to use AOC’s win to suggest that the door is wide open for women candidates. On a call, Ocasio Cortez consoles Villela after her loss with a “It’s just the reality that for one of us to make it, a thousand of us have to try.” It’s the same wisdom she passes on to her niece while handing out flyers, “For every 10 rejections, you get one acceptance, and that’s how you win everything” and by extension, the awareness that the film wishes to pass down to its audience.

The system is designed to hold outsiders at bay, concludes Hyperallergic. Being jazzed by AOC’s win is fantabulous. But without huge, systemic changes in the American system, it’s tough to see how real change happens. Still, #SHE PERSISTED!

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Wears Maori Cloak To Queen's Dinner At Buckingham Palace


New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, made quite the style statement, attending the Queen's Dinner at Buckingham Palace Thursday evening. Ardern was in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and arrived at Buckingham Palace wearing a traditional Māori cloak (or Kahu huruhuru).

 The Guardian explains that the cloaks are traditionally "bestowed on chiefs and dignitaries to convey prestige, respect and power."

Mark Sykes, an expert on the Māori special collection at the National Museum of New Zealand, further explained the garment's significance to the publication, stating: "Cloaks are worn for warmth, protection and to symbolise your status and mana [power]."

He continued, "I think it shows how she is portraying herself as a leader of Māori, of all of New Zealand, of everyone."

The prime minister is expecting her first child in June and wore a specially-designed, floor length gown by New Zealand designer Juliette Hogan. 

"And I very thankfully have a friend in Juliette Hogan," said Ardern, as reported by the New Zealand Herald. "She's made a dress that will accommodate my front pack."



Nikki Haley Slams The White House & Larry Kudlow: "With All Due Respect, I Don't Get Confused"

Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley coolly and calmly shot down the Trump Administration boys club on Tuesday, after colleagues blamed confusion and misstatements about additional Russian sanctions on her. There's a lesson learned here for women as gutsy as Haley -- which is not the majority of American women -- and for good reason. 

New York Magazine provides the story backdrop, with Ambassador Haley stating on Sunday's 'Face the Nation' that additional sanctions were forthcoming, aimed at Russian companies that support Syria's chemical-weapons program. The formal announcement was coming shortly, said Haley, probably on Monday.

Boom! For whatever reason -- but then again the topic is Russia -- Trump got cold feet and backed off the plan of additional economic sanctiosn. That would not be a positive image for America's commander-in-chief, especially Mr. Fire & Fury himself The White House boys club then decided that Haley would take the fall, having made an error that "needs to be mopped up", according to the Washington Post

None of us understand why chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow found it imperative to weigh in, telling CNN that Haley "got ahead of the curve" and “There might have been some momentary confusion about that.”

With that absurd comment, Haley fired back, ignoring the dripping sexism of Kudlow's comments about Haley. A dark-haired woman, Nikki Haley does not wear the dumb blonde stereotype. But Kudlow had waded into "irrational woman" waters, and Haley wasn't having it for one minute. In fact, Haley's widespread reputation is one of competency and crossing every 't'. 

"With all due respect, I don't get confused," Haley said in a grand slam hit across the net. Her contained, on-target rebuke made it clear that the confusion was not in her camp and not her fault. Kudlow has apologized.