I ELECT: Power Every Four Years

More great news about the breakthrough voting rights film I Elect: Power Every Four Years: the film has been selected for the 36th annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

In addition to the Film Festival screenings of this film in theaters, audiences nationwide and around the world will also be able to view the film online via the Festival’s virtual programming. Watch the powerful trailer at www.billspring.net.

Audiences attending this year’s Festival in November will view the film at two theaters in South Florida, where it will be screened three times.

I ELECT: Power Every Four Years. Champions the power of voting. In this one-woman show, Bella takes a dramatic stand against racism and voter suppression.

I Elect: Power Every Four Years has also won several awards nationwide, including — “Best Original Story” at the New York Film Awards, the “Liberation/Social Justice/Protest Award” at the IndieFEST 2021 Film Awards, “Best Actress in a Leading Role” at the Across the Globe Film Festival, and an Honorable Mention at the 2021 Awareness Film Festival. The film is an Official Selection for the 2021 New York Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Image, the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival 2021, the Colorado International Activism Film Festival, and more.

“We made this film right before the presidential election, in September and October of 2020, during the pandemic and before the vaccines” said the writer/creator of the film, Bill Spring. “The story champions the power of voting, and reveals a deeply personal side of the COVID pandemic.”

The story’s universal themes have carried through beyond 2020, foreshadowing the combined strife of both the pandemic and the political apprehension we are all still living through today. “When we made this film a year ago, we could not have imagined how it would resonate with the current voter suppression issues that threaten our fragile democracy now, one year later. This story also shines a light on how individuals and communities are impacted by COVID,” says Bill Spring.

Carey Brianna Hart stars as “Bella.” The 26-minute short film was written and created by Bill Spring, produced by Jose Lima, and directed by Ricky J. Martinez. The Director of Photography was Dennise Perez, and the Creative Editor/Digital Producer was Karl Saint Lucy. The story was originally inspired by the Parkland High School students who were victims of the mass shooting at their High school, including those who later became activists for change in our society.

The electrifying performance by Carey Brianna Hart was livestreamed by this creative group of artists in October of 2020, as a way to use their talent and creativity to encourage voting. The one-act, one-woman, theatrical work is from a series of four monologues for the stage written by Bill Spring.

“We are honored that the 36th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival has selected our film I Elect: Power Every Four Years, and are grateful for the continuing momentum of awards and recognition from festivals across the country,” adds Bill Spring. “Now more than ever, artists have no choice but to create. Storytelling is critical right now, offering viewers inspiration and igniting our collective spirit.”

More About This Story…

In the grip of the 2020 pandemic, just days before the presidential election, a woman in Miami recalls her shock four years ago on election night 2016, with renewed feelings of dread about this time around. The recollection of that blistering night as she watched those fateful election results sparks a memory that shatters her nerves — as we witness her working her way through to a revelation of personal power.

Alone now, out of work and losing hope because of COVID-19’s chokehold on America, she struggles to breathe through a vortex of painful memories in front of the camera she has positioned in front of herself at home. As a way to snap herself out of this downward spiral, she decides to record her feelings on a video message to her fellow voters.

She decides to give testimony to power. The power of voting.

Viewers say they had to step back from their screens — in a good way — when watching this performance. Especially when she realizes that although the power of the people has been chipped away at on so many fronts, each of us still has the power to elect.

In the film, the character of Bella stands at a precipice — things in America are definitely not "great again." We watch her rise up as she rings a Buddhist bell. Her bell of truth is a talisman from her deceased husband, and a clarion call to vote.

I Elect: Power Every Four Years is a one-act, one woman show created and written by Bill Spring.

The role of Bella is brilliantly performed by Carey Brianna Hart, who delivers a tour de force monologue. Ricky J. Martinez directed the film version of this project. Produced by Jose Lima. The Director of Photography is Dennise Perez. Location assistance provided by Locust Projects.

Carey Brianna Hart

Starring Carey Brianna Hart

My mother was jailed in the 1960s for registering individuals to vote,” says Carey Brianna Hart. “So many people have fought, struggled and died to have this right to affect our government — it should not be taken for granted.” Born in Miami, she graduated from the New World School of the Arts. She has a BFA in Theatrical Studies from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago. She has been a major presence in South Florida theater, including: the African American Performing Arts Community Theatre, AreaStage, GableStage, M Ensemble Theatre Company, Mad Cat New Theatre, Thinking Cap Theatre, the Vinnette Carroll Theatre and the Women’s Theatre Project, among many others. She has worked with the Afro-Academic Cultural Technological & Scientific Olympics, mentoring students in Drama, Playwriting, Oratory and Poetry. Carey has coached numerous students who have become NAACP National ACT-SO Medalists. She is also the author of Dust Tracks, a one woman show of Zora Neale Hurston.

Ricky J. Martinez

Directed by Ricky J. Martinez

This work is woke! A clear ring of authenticity and activism, for us to get back on point,” says Ricky J. Martinez. The award-winning Director and published playwright has been invited to direct for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival’s the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop; Stanford University ’s National Center for New Plays; James Madison University and the Forbes Center; the Words A-fire festival in New Mexico; and other organizations across the country. His collaborations with playwrights on more than fifty world premiere plays have led to Pulitzer Prize finalists/wins and ATCA’s Steinberg finalists/wins. Awards include the 2016 Margo Jones Award, and the 2016 Remy Pioneer Award. He served as the Artistic Director for Miami’s New Theatre. Nationally, he served on the Executive Committee for the National New Play Network; the Advisory Board of the Latino Theatre Commons; as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; the National Fund for New Musicals; and San Antonio’s Luminaria Festival.

Bill Spring

Written by Bill Spring

During these unprecedented times, artists have no choice but to create. That is what we do and artists are critical right now,” says Bill Spring. “There is enormous power in artists working together, offering the viewer a passageway, inspiration, and igniting our collective spirit. It doesn’t take much for evil to come crawling out of the woodwork, but the truth-seeking voice of Bella is not one to be silenced.” Bill Spring is a writer and actor. His work has been featured nationally at various festivals including FUSE: the New York Celebration of Queer Culture at HERE Arts Center, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Autobiographical works include Miss Vanilla & the Hustler, The Prehistoric Zip Code of Water, The House, Skin Deep, Dream of the Firemen, and Kmart and Spirituality. Spring has acted in numerous productions, including the play about Anita Bryant’s anti-LGBT crusade, called 1,000 Homosexuals (at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the Colony Theatre), and in No Music in this House. Born in Atlanta, he received a BA in English with a minor in Theatre Studies at Emory University, and is a classically trained concert pianist.

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