BELLWETHER 2016 — Who will win the presidential election?
BELLWETHER 2016 — Who will win the presidential election?
Want to know who will win the next election? BELLWETHER takes you inside the ONLY town in America that always votes for the winner.
Want to know who will win the next election? BELLWETHER takes you inside the ONLY town in America that always votes for the winner. Read more
About this project
THE BIGGEST STORY IN AMERICA
Every four years the hopes of 320 million Americans boil down to a single mark on a ballot—who will be the next president?
The media turn the election into “reality TV". News anchors and pundits obsess over every word the candidates utter. BELLWETHER takes a different approach.
BELLWETHER looks at the election through the eyes of voters—voters in the one community that always reflects who Americans want as their next president: Vigo County, Indiana, and its county seat, Terre Haute.
Since 1888, voters here have picked the winning president in every election except two, 30 out of 32 elections. BELLWETHER looks at why Terre Haute hasn’t missed a winner in 60 years, whether they’ll do it again, and what that tells us about America today.
AN EVOLVING ONLINE DOCUMENTARY
BELLWETHER is a series of mini-documentaries—real films, with heart and stakes. We’ll focus on people and places where political and personal fault-lines intersect, and produce character-driven short films that frame national issues in local lives. We’ll publish these pieces on our website (under construction), regularly updating and adding new stories.
Our films will link to other resources to put stories & issues in national and historical context—opinion polls, social media, “snapshots” of locals, current news, data, and stories of elections past. This digital “hub” will evolve throughout election 2016 to shed light on the big picture.
What makes people vote the way they do? What shapes their points of view on “deal-breaker” issues? Income and inequality, immigration, race, the environment, religion, taxes, abortion, guns. Why do people get turned on by politics—and why are so many turned off?
Terre Haute and Vigo County are the perfect place to explore these issues...
A thriving farming community, an aging industrial center, a growing college town, a former stronghold for radical labor and the KKK, a prohibition-era Red Light district, the birthplace of the Coke bottle, host to a Federal prison holding major terrorists, and the hometown of labor icon Eugene Debs and "Citizens United" lawyer James Bopp—Terre Haute is not only the most accurate presidential bellwether in the nation, it also stands at the junction of major strands in the American experience.
Join BELLWETHER and explore the state of the nation at the heart of the heartland.
BELLWETHER is being produced by a team from the worlds of publishing, digital design, & documentary film. The project is directed by Emmy-winning writer & producer Don Campbell, long-time Director of Development for NY-based Partisan Pictures, in collaboration with award winning documentary producers Lise Zumwalt and Louis Galdieri; Director of Photography Andrew Baker; Jeff Seelbach, Commissioning Editor for AJ+; and David McGowan, founder of the Woodstock Digital Media Festival.
We’ve been on the job for over a year, scouting stories and places, meeting people in town from all walks of life and starting to film their stories. We've rented a house in town, and since July, Don's made Terre Haute his home.
We’ve enlisted local supporters, including Terre Haute's daily paper, the Tribune-Star, and launched internships in documentary production and journalism with Indiana State University. We’ve set up offices and begun production—but one element is missing: your support.
REAL COSTS — 1 FULL YEAR
Our plan—to publish a set of short films on a particular theme or subject every month from January 2016 through December 2016—means shooting in Terre Haute all year round, editing pretty much non-stop, and constantly revising our website. We project a minimum $130,000 out-of-pocket costs.
Here's a breakdown of where the money goes:
We’ve already secured $30,000 in grant awards, we're applying for another $35,000 and we're approaching individual donors to raise another $30,000. This Kickstarter campaign fills in the gap—$35,000—to help cover the first 6 months of producing segments and building the website.
All contributions are tax deductible and will be processed by our fiscal sponsor, Center for Independent Documentary (CID), who will send you a receipt. Kickstarter is all or nothing. We have to raise the whole $35,000 or we don't keep any of it!
Please join us in this breakthrough journey to investigate the forces shaping American lives and political choice in this critical election year.
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REWARD YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE... FOR BELLWETHER
Stake your claim to a Bellwether thank-you—not just stuff but personalized services as well:
- Vintage postcards or historic campaign buttons reproduced by Bellwether...
- An original poster based on Terre Haute poet Max Erhmann's beloved "Desiderata" and created by an iconoclastic Vigo County artist...
- Add your voice to the project's direction with personal blog posts and editorial ideas...
- Or meet 1-on-1 with our core crew of award-winning filmmakers for insights on cinematography, editing, and writing your own documentary projects.
A PLACE TO GATHER
Terre Haute proudly claims the nickname "The Crossroads of America”—where the old National Road, US 40, crosses US 41, once the Midwest’s busiest north-south route. Now, the city stands at the intersection of America's past and the road to tomorrow.
Many voters today feel America is at a crossroads, a fork in the road where we can right our economy, or lose the American Dream; rebuild our cities and towns, or watch as our children leave for greener pastures; revitalize our democracy, or surrender to polarizing forces.
Poised between progressive and conservative forces, Terre Haute and Vigo County represent another American crossroads, a unique cross-section of American stories—and voters whose choices may forecast our future.
Risks and challenges
Rather than wait for institutional support from a broadcaster or publisher, we've plunged into production. Our team is all-in on the project, and we're covering much of the initial up-front costs—production, housing, editing, and web development—with in-kind support. There's no turning back, but sweat-equity alone won't get us to the finish line.
This crowdfunding campaign will spell the difference between just "getting by" and critical steps to making BELLWETHER a go-to destination throughout Campaign 2016.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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