Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election
The 2000 Presidential Election
|Directed by||Richard Ray Pérez
|Produced by||Richard Ray Pérez
Robert Greenwald (Executive Producer)
Earl Katz (Executive Producer)
|Written by||William Haugse
Richard Ray Pérez
|Starring||Danny Glover (2004)|
|Narrated by||Peter Coyote|
|Music by||Bobby Johnston|
|Cinematography||Richard Ray Pérez|
|Edited by||William Haugse
|Distributed by||Shout! Factory|
|Release date(s)||September 17, 2002 (U.S. premiere)|
|Running time||47 min. (2002)
57 min. (2004)
Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election is a 2002 47-minute documentary made by Richard Ray Pérez and Joan Sekler and narrated by Peter Coyote about the contested 2000 presidential election in Florida.
A Robert Greenwald Productions Films, it was co-executive produced by Greenwald and Earl Katz of Public Interest Pictures. Greenwald later made this the first of his “Un- Trilogy," which also includes Uncovered: The War on Iraq and Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties. 
The film begins with claims that African Americans and other likely Democratic voters were disenfranchised by a resurrected 1868 law that prevented felons from voting.  This law was originally intended to keep blacks from the polls, in the wake of the Civil War. In 2000, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris used the original law to create a computerized list of supposed ex-cons. The list had the vaguest parameters, and included as many as 57,000 to 91,000 non-felons, who were overwhelmingly people of color.On election day, these people were turned away at the polls. Since 90% of African Americans vote Democratic, this effectively reduced the number of votes for Democratic candidate Al Gore.
Unprecedented also examines the Florida recount and the hanging chad controversy. It faults Gore for demanding a recount of only certain counties, instead of the whole state;  and also presents evidence that the Republican Party paid staffers to create a disturbance and end the recount prematurely.
The film then takes aim at the December 2000 Supreme Court decision that gave George W. Bush the presidency. The film documents conflicts of interest that should have resulted in the recusal of two of the SCOTUS justices.
Finally, it explores the problems with electronic voting machines. It argues that the companies that make these machines do not allow audits of the machines (allegedly because of copyright and trademark issues), which leaves them wide open for fraud. The machines also do not give paper receipts, so there is not physical evidence in case of the need for a recount.
In the festival circuit, the film won eleven awards, including the Grand Festival award at the Berkley Film and Video Festival; the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, and the Director’s Award at the New York International Film Festival.  It enjoyed a limited theatrical release  and was broadcast internationally on cable.  The DVD sold extremely well on Amazon.com, coming in at 68 on their 2004 sales rank. Liberal advocacy group MoveOn sold 25,000 copies in three days.Unprecedented was also viewed at screenings in homes and communities across the country, and was available streaming on the Internet. 
Unprecedented is said to have “jumpstarted” Greenwald’s documentary filmmaking career. 
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