The Third Monday in October

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The future of American politics may well be taking their first step towards leadership in this documentary from filmmaker Vanessa Roth. In the fall of 2004, as America was preparing to go to the polls in one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in history, Roth decided to take a look at the other end of the political spectrum, and followed student council elections at four middle schools across the United States, watching as hopeful thirteen-year-olds try to convince their classmates they should represent them. In San Francisco's Francisco Middle School, Jenny Wong campaigns on the hot-button issue that the school's textbooks and equipment need to be updated, while her opponent Mick Del Rosario just wants better food in the cafeteria. Hall Middle School in California's Marin County fields four candidates -- Beau Cowen, who wants to stamp out hate speech; Katie Kane, who wants more and better school dances and juice options in the lunchroom; Sam Arabian, who has dubbed himself "student action man;" and William Zolezzi, who believes he could make lunch more fun for everyone. St. Stephens Episcopal in Austin, Texas finds students choosing between Sam Brothers, a student council veteran who believes two terms are necessary to make real change, and Dustin Godevais, who runs on his regular guy appeal. And three close friends are all running for the same student council spot at Atlanta's Inman Middle School -- pro-diversity candidate Kayla Bacon, school newspaper editor Noelle Jones, and Teekia Cain, a cheerleader who wants to boost school spirit. Roth follows all eleven candidates, ranging from confident to gawky, as they campaign in any number of styles (ranging from delivering sincere speeches to performing acrobatic stunts) and offer their views on the larger political race occupying the minds of the nation. The Third Monday In October received the Audience Award at the 2006 Austin Film Festival.


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