People to Watch: Filmmaker: Chris Kay

By
From the August 1, 2013 edition

As director of the documentary “Of By For,” Chris Kay has an obvious talent for filmmaking. “Of By For” examines problems with our current political system — influence from lobbyists, campaign finance, bipartisan politics — with depth and thoughtfulness. The reason it’s so effective is two-fold: the dedicated investigation and professionalism purpose.

“Certainly the goal of the film is to get people talking,” Kay said. “And the real goal of the film is to get them talking to people they normally think they wouldn’t agree with.”

“Of By For” was born out of Kay and producer Chad Monnin’s frustration with politicwanting to gauge the country’s feelings compared to their own. They found a similar disenfranchisement rampant throughout — rich, poor black, white liberal, conservative.

So the film moved to politicians (Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich), activists (Ralph Nader, Al Sharpton) former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and journalist Dan Rather to get a better sense of why things are the way they are. Spoiler alert: Tpowerful want to stay in power, and will use any tactic necessary to do so.

Kay’s production company Old Machine is looking at 10-20 projects (both documentaries and fictional narratives),with four or five that are currently being researched. One project a documentary about the Single Speed World Championships, a wild bike race with a cast of colorful characters — imagine Gumball 3000 meets Burning Man.

Kay said the timetable for the SSWC has been pushed back due to the success of “Of By For” — opening in more cities, releasing DVDs this fall — andpartnerships that evolved out of the film.

Old Machine has already connected with epresent.uand Rootstrikers, bipartisan groups committed to halting corruptionand crack down on lobbyists. Kay is fully committed to these goals and knows how to accomplish them

“The one thing we’ll lend to the conversation is …here has to be a commitment to not hate each other. If we don’t, we won’t be able to do anything because we’re too easily manipulated right now,” Kay said