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Southern Documentary Fund Fresh Docs: While I Breathe

  • Full Frame Theater (map)

The Southern Documentary Fund dedicates is 2017-2018 Works-in-Progress screenings to the North Carolina Arts Council's 50th Anniversary. 

JIn South Carolina, statewide officials have been, for more than a century, white men. But in 2010, South Carolinians elected the first woman, an Indian-American, to the Governorship. Now in 2014, Bakari Sellers–one of the youngest sitting members of the South Carolina House of Representatives–is running to be the first African American elected to statewide office since 1874. The son of Cleveland Sellers, a prominent 1960s Civil Rights Activist in South Carolina, Bakari understands the the historically difficult race relations in the American South. Although he is running for office in a state where the Confederate flag flies on the state house grounds, Bakari is focused on the future. His campaign platform centers on providing better educational opportunities to students and strengthening the care available to South Carolina’s eldest citizens. “Our race is not about what South Carolina was, what it is, but it’s about what South Carolina can be,” he says. But as a Democrat in a red state, Bakari has a tough race ahead. News media consistently place Bakari behind his well-liked and well-established Republican opponent, Henry McMaster. And South Carolinians have not elected a Democrat to state office since 2006. But one hundred days before election day, Bakari seems to be gaining ground. Will Bakari be able to attract enough bipartisan support in a divided state? Can he make history by becoming the first African American Lieutenant governor in South Carolina in more than a century? This film will follow Bakari and his campaign during the last month of his race, documenting the ins and outs and ups and downs of running for statewide office. In doing so, the film will explore the larger roles of race and partisanship in American politics today.