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‘Slay the Dragon’ filmmakers take fight to gerrymandering

Political Theater, Episode 118

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at an anti-gerrymandering rally in front of the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, 2017. Schwarzenegger has a small role in the documentary "Slay the Dragon," which is about gerrymandering.
Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at an anti-gerrymandering rally in front of the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, 2017. Schwarzenegger has a small role in the documentary "Slay the Dragon," which is about gerrymandering. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a small role in the new documentary “Slay the Dragon” about gerrymandering, but the action adventure star and former California governor has nothing on the citizen activists, lawyers, politicians and voters who are the heroes of this political thriller.

Gerrymandering has been around almost as long as the republic itself. But the practice of drawing congressional and legislative districts to the advantage of one political party has really taken off in the last decade, and the effects on U.S. politics has been far-reaching.

Veteran journalists and filmmakers Chris Durrance and Barak Goodman compile a who’s who of the gerrymandering world, including those practiced in its dark arts, like Redistricting Majority Project, or REDMAP, guru Chris Jankowski, as well as those fighting for efforts such as independent redistricting commissions, like Katie Fahey of Voters Not Politicians.

The documentary traces the roots of REDMAP, from the aftermath of the 2008 election to GOP sweeps in 2010 and citizen and activist attempts to address gerrymandering through 2018.

Durrance, Goodman and Fahey spoke with Political Theater about their new movie. It was initially scheduled to open on March 13. But, like everything these days, its release has been delayed. At this point it has an April 3 opening. We joked that this is the real reason the new James Bond movie was moved from April to November. Hey, we’ll take our laughs where we can get them.

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