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LAist Interview: Alicia Dwyer, Filmmaker for Local Voices for Obama

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Alicia Dwyer, a filmmaker from Los Angeles who has directed, edited and produced an Academy award winning documentary and an Emmy-award winning series, recently travelled to Ohio not to film a documentary but to direct and produce advertisements. She produced ads for Local Voices for Obama, an innovative campaign to broadcast local ads featuring local voices and attitudes in swing states. LAist sat down to talk to Alicia Dwyer about her experience.

LAist: How did you get connected to Local Voices for Obama?

Alicia Dwyer: Well, I’d first signed up to go to Nevada, to volunteer for the Obama campaign’s efforts. But I had also put out some feelers to other documentary makers to see if anybody knew if there were media needs. I’ve been making documentaries for the last twelve years, and my brother and I have a small production company in Los Angeles, so we wanted to see how we could best contribute, using our skills.

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Rory Kennedy, who I worked with on the feature film Pandemic: Facing AIDS, connected me to Lee Hirsch, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker based in New York who’s the visionary behind Local Voices for Obama. It was Lee’s idea to make ads featuring people in swing states who were voting for Obama, who might speak to values and issues that undecided voters in those communities connected to. At the time Lee and I started talking, he was producing such commercials in southeastern Missouri, a deep red part of the state.

My brothers and I often work together, and we inherited the hope that, as MLK said, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. So, when the idea of going to Ohio to shoot Local Voices ads came up, we jumped on it -- I produced and directed, my brother Michael shot the ads, and my brother Jesse did the sound for them.

LAist: So how does Local Voices for Obama work?