Kingston Canadian Film Festival | What Is Democracy?
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What Is Democracy?


What is Democracy?

Director: Astra Taylor

Featuring:  Silvia Federici, Cornel West, Wendy Brown

Language: English

Runtime: 107 min

Rating: PG

Guests in attendance

To be announced

Thursday, February 28

2:00 pm

Baby Grand

Presented with support from

with additional support from

Queen’s University Department of Political Studies

The title of the latest philosophically minded doc by Winnipeg’s Astra Taylor (EXAMINED LIFE, KCFF 2009) asks a question that may seem intimidatingly huge. Yet it’s an apt indication of the ambitious scope and remarkable depth of Taylor’s wide-ranging enquiry into the history — and health – of the democratic principles that supposedly gird up much of the modern world but may seem increasingly under threat. Politicians, radicals and big thinkers — including Cornel West, Angela Davis and Silvia Federici – all contribute their thoughts and insights on the assumptions and ideas that may bind societies together or tear them apart. Taylor’s quest to investigate these competing ideas about power (and who deserves to hold it) takes viewers on a journey that spans hundreds of years and nearly as many locations as we’re compelled to consider what democracy means to citizens coping with austerity policies, social crises and economic inequities.

Filmmaker Bio

Astra Taylor is a Canadian-American writer, documentarian, and political organizer. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and grew up in Athens, Georgia. Taylor attended Brown University for a year, before dropping out to pursue filmmaking hands on. She is the director of the philosophical documentaries WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?, EXAMINED LIFE and ZIZEK!; the author of THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM: TAKING BACK POWER AND CULTURE IN THE DIGITAL AGE, the American Book Award winner; and a co-founder of the Debt Collective. Taylor has written for The Nation, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Baffler, The New York Times, and many other outlets. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a former touring member of the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Her new book, DEMOCRACY MAY NOT EXIST, BUT WE’LL MISS IT WHEN IT’S GONE, will be out from Metropolitan Books in early 2019.

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