Filmmakers Go Positive for Obama With Late-Entry Super-PAC Ads

Photograph by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama speaks with workers at the Lordstown Complex General Motors Plant in Warren, Ohio.

Barclay tells voters in Columbus, Ohio, about his tours of duty in Vietnam. In Fort Collins, Colorado, Immy shares her thoughts on being being a U.S Army veteran and a mom. Bobby, a registered Republican, says his car repair shop in Kissimmee, Florida, has been able to expand thanks to the auto industry bailout.

All say they’re voting for President Barack Obama.

Each of the 26 different minute-long ads features a single person talking and shows scenes from a region of the country where the race between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is a toss-up.

They’re made by Local Voices, a super-political action committee that has spent about $1.2 million in just the last few weeks trying to cut through the clutter of negative political ads to deliver a message that they hope resonates with undecided voters as they go to the polls today.”We felt that the tone of most political ads was too aggressive,” said Lee Hirsch, who founded the group. “Our goal is to move the dial, community by community. The people in the ads are wonderful characters who can really speak for and to their communities.”

The super-PAC reflects is a bit of a “do-it-yourself” project by documentary filmmakers such as Hirsch, who made the critically acclaimed movie Bully, and their artist friends. In all, about 100 people volunteered their services, Hirsch said.

“We’re like the David of super-PACs,” Hirsch said.

Funding came mostly from Rosemary Pritzker, a 30-year-old photographer who helped produce some of the spots. A cousin of Obama campaign fundraiser Penny Priztker and part of the family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain, Rosemary Pritzker said she was drawn to the project because she believes in its vision.

“I like our documentary style, with real people,” she said. Her big checks make her part of a small group of women who have given in large numbers to super-PACs.

Local Voices relied upon one of its members to choose where and when to air the spots. They appeared mostly on cable stations, like the History Channel and the Food Network, in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

This is the second election for the group, which spent just over $100,000 in 2008 to produce a handful of spots backing Obama. The ads didn’t begin appearing until about three weeks ago. Why so late?

“We all have other jobs,” Hirsch said.

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