Directed by Lydia Cornett
Running Time: 7 minutes and 6 seconds
Until 2020, Ohio had voted for the presidential winner in every election since 1964.Franklin County, a liberal stronghold and most populated county in the state, faced its share of challenges in November 2020: errors in absentee ballots, record in-person early voting turnout, and a polarizing political climate with rising Coronavirus numbers. PARTY LINE documents the experience of those who waited in line to ensure their votes were counted, revealing a public event that encompasses everything from last-minute political campaigning to a dance party in a hailstorm. As individuals from all walks of life wait in line, contradicting ideologies butt up against each other and community finds various forms.
I moved to Columbus, Ohio in the fall of 2020. Covid-19 cases were soaring nationally, the West Coast was on fire, and the political climate was anxiety-inducing, particularly in my new home and battleground state. While I waited in line to vote early in October, I was struck by the bizarreness of the event:in the midst of a global pandemic, folks from all walks of life stood in a parking lot for hours and hours to cast their ballots, well before November 3rd. I later learned that due to state voting laws, there was only one early voting location in my entire county. The simultaneous absurdity and moving commitment I found in the early voting line prompted me to observe those who were waiting with me. Instead of a collective exasperation or negativity, I witnessed the scraps of representative democracy at work:individuals soliciting votes, campaigning face-to-face, and persuading those in line to vote for their version of a better world. The hundreds of people in line, accompanied by the storefronts of various businesses, formed a unique public event at a time when common gathering felt unsafe and forbidden. I also recognized so much of the American cultural moment distilled: the fear and mistrust of the other in an extremely fraught election, the advocacy of justice movements and their appropriation by other groups, and the pandemic’s simultaneous alienation and unification of strangers. My hope is that through glimpses of interaction, contradiction, and community, Party Line finds meaning in a strange and specific moment in American history.
Director | LYDIA CORNETT
Lydia Cornett is a filmmaker from Baltimore, Maryland based in Columbus, OH andBrooklyn, NY. As a former musician turned filmmaker, she makes work that unites therestraint of observational storytelling with the physicality and connection she associateswith music-making. She was the Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow at the JacobBurns Film Center, a CoLab Fellow at UnionDocs, and a two-time recipient of the NYCWomen’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre. In 2019, her film Narmin’s Birthday won theFestival Jury Runner-Up Award at the Nitehawk Shorts Festival and premiered online withNoBudge. Her subsequent film Yves & Variation premiered at BAMcinemaFest and wenton to screen at the Hamptons International Film Festival, DOC NYC, Big Sky DocumentaryFestival, and Aspen ShortsFest. It was acquired for The New Yorker’s documentaryseries and selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick. Her latest film Bug Farm, supported by the If/Then Distribution Initiative, the NYC Women’s Fund, and the Jacob Burns Film Center,has screened virtually at the Nashville Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, AspenShortsFest, and Ashland Independent Film Festival.
FIELD SOUND | ADAM MEEKS
Adam Meeks is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of theArts. His last short film Union County premiered in competition at the 70th Berlinale, and continued on to screen at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival, Palm Springs InternationalShortFest, Maryland Film Festival, and numerous others. His work frequently examines rural and peripheral American communities, and aims to exist within the intersection of documentary and narrative processes. He is a 2019 Jacob Burns Emerging Artist Fellow and a Yaddo Residency recipient. He currently works as a video producer at Jazz at LincolnCenter.