Street Fight

Directed, Produced, Photographed, Written & Edited by Marshall Curry

NOMINEE
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
ACADEMY AWARD
2005
WINNER
AUDIENCE AWARD
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER
DONNET AWARD
INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY ASSOCIATION
NOMINEE
DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY AWARD
WRITER'S GUILD OF AMERICA
WINNER
AUDIENCE AWARD
HOTDOCS FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER
BEST INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY JURY PRIZE
HOTDOCS FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER
AUDIENCE AWARD
SILVER DOCS FILM FESTIVAL
Street Fight still

2005, 82 min, Video / 35mm

Street Fight chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, N.J. between Cory Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics.

Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night.

Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.

The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and -- in a surprising twist -- race. Both Booker and James are African-American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League educated Booker of not being "really black" it forces voters to examine both how we define race in this country. "We tell our children to get educated," one Newarker says, "and when they do, we call them white. What kind of a message does that send?"

Street Fight tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin-doctors, media consultants, or photo ops. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets.

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Marshall Curry, Academy-Award Nominated Director, Street Fight