Some reviews of How Democracy Works Now...

How Democracy Works Now

Series overview and filmmaker bios with contact information.

Lawrence Downes, New York Times

How Democracy Works Now

Americans who find politics and political reporting glib, unsatisfying and depressing now have an antidote for all time. It’s a series of feature-length documentary films, more than a decade in the making, running Thursday through Saturday at the New York Film Festival. The subject is the battle over immigration reform in Washington, but the title of the series — “How Democracy Works Now’’ — signals its larger scale and ambition... I’ve seen several of the films, and could make comparisons to other long-running sagas that tell you what you need to know about America — Robert Caro’s books on Lyndon Johnson, “Roots,” “The Godfather,” “The Simpsons,” the celebrated PBS series on the Loud family. But it’s probably best to just look at this achievement on its own terms. The story isn’t over yet, because we don’t know whether immigration reform will succeed or fail. The story is epic either way. And Mr. Camerini and Ms. Robertson are still on the job.

Stuart Anderson,

The Greatest Films On Government Ever Made

"Without question “How Democracy Works Now” is the best documentary film series on government ever produced. There is nothing even close. Viewers are inside the room as key Senate staffers meet with one another and their Senators to craft legislation. We are there when advocacy groups across the ideological spectrum meet with Senators and Congressional staff. In short, viewers go where they have never gone before."

David R. Ayón, The Source - Migration Policy Institute

Capitol Vérité: Inside Immigration Policymaking

"How Democracy Works Now is truly a landmark in political documentary filmmaking. The series as a whole is an education in itself, presenting virtually every angle, actor, and significant moment in one of the key unresolved policy disputes of our time. Detailed and nuanced portraits of individual legislators and advocates emerge, in a vital rendering of policy and politics as an intensely human enterprise. Given the centrality of immigration to our national identity, this series is ultimately a window not only on American politics but on the character of the country."

John Mollenkopf, Center for Urban Research, Graduate Center, CUNY, The Source - MPI

Backstage Pass: Q&A with Makers of Acclaimed, Fascinating Documentary on US Immigration Debate

"The How Democracy Works Now films take a remarkably candid, insightful, and thorough look at how the American legislative process has treated the issue of immigration policy reform, and provide a valuable tool for anyone teaching or studying the politics of policy formation or immigration policy."

David A. Martin, Univ. of Virginia School of Law, The Source - Migration Policy Institute

Backstage Pass: Q&A with Makers of Acclaimed, Fascinating Documentary on US Immigration Debate

"Anyone who watches How Democracy Works Now is immediately drawn into the mysteries, strategies, frustrations, and possible rewards of the contemporary legislative process. You won't find a better documentary introduction into the world of American politics and policymaking — and into the particular opportunities and minefields that characterize today's immigration politics."

Steve Preskill, The Third New York

How Democracy Works Now

"One of the best and most insightful pieces on the national legislative process in America we have yet encountered."

Emily Heil and Elizabeth Brotherton, Roll Call

Heard on the Hill

Robertson and Camerini had incredible access to Capitol Hill, filming backroom negotiations, strategy sessions and casual conversations. They filmed Members, staffers, lobbyists, advocates and normal citizens. And they'd often jump between offices, sometimes knowing details the opposing sides didn't know about each other. "It really took conscious discipline all the time not to slip," Robertson recalls. Camerini says they filmed the documentaries without interviews, "trying to be a fly on the wall." Eventually, skeptical staffers let their guard down and the pair were so clued in, the Congressional press corps looked to them to track the immigration debate. "They told us, 'Whenever you guys turned up, we knew something was happening,'" Robertson says.