ACORN and The Firestorm

In a politically charged election year, a national community organizing group comes under attack by undercover journalists.

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Reuben Atlas

Reuben Atlas is a filmmaker and non-practicing lawyer. His first feature documentary, Brothers Hypnotic, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2013. A co-production with ITVS and NTR, the film broadcast internationally and on Independent Lens. He received Sundance Institute and IDA support for ACORN and the Firestorm, and Netflix/Arte funding for a Show more film about the esoteric world of fine wine. Previously, Atlas worked at a maximum-security prison, a music law firm, and Legal Aid. Show less


Sam Pollard

Sam Pollard's first assignment as a documentary producer came in 1989 for Henry Hampton's Blackside production Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads. For one of his episodes in this series, he received an Emmy. His professional accomplishments as a feature film and television video editor and documentary producer/director span almost Show more thirty years. Recently, he directed Slavery by Another Name (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2012) and he produced/directed a documentary about Marvin Gaye for PBS’s American Masters. Together with Spike Lee, he produced and edited HBO’s When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and the follow up If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997 for producing (and editing) the documentary 4 Little Girls, has won multiple Emmy awards, and has also received a George Peabody award. Show less

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The Film

If you were impoverished, politically voiceless, and believed you didn’t matter, ACORN hoped to change your mind. For 40 years, the controversial community-organizing group sought to empower marginalized communities. Its critics, though, believed ACORN exemplified everything wrong with liberal ideals, by promoting government waste and ineffective activism. These competing perceptions exploded on the national stage in 2008, just as Barack Obama became president. Fueled by a YouTube video made by undercover journalists, ACORN’s very existence would be challenged. ACORN and the Firestorm goes beyond the 24-hour news cycle and cuts to the heart of the great political divide.