Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on March 28, 2006 - 12:30am.
The Cleveland Film Festival screening of Laura Paglin's documentary 'No Umbrella - Election Day' quickly sold out, but those who weren't able to get tickets got another chance in the rotunda of City Hall on Monday night. Free and open to the public, the film played at 6 p.m., before a city council meeting. About 100 people were there. Paglin is a local director who has been getting a lot of attention lately. The subject of her short documentary, which recently played at Sundance, is an election day fiasco in ward 7, that took place last November. The "star" of the film is councilwoman Fannie Lewis, who fought heroically for her constituents right to vote that day, when the board of elections failed to provide enough workers and ballots at one poling station.
It was chance that brought Paglin to the right place at the right time and allowed her to capture a powerful and moving story. However, her talents as a filmmaker allowed her to create a film that is impressive in its technical qualities too.
Paglin and Ms. Lewis were there for the screening. Paglin said a few words of introduction, mainly that she hoped that "No Umbrella" would leave you feeling angry. It did! Paglin's cinematography captured the outrage felt by a group of mostly African American voters as they waited in line for hours to vote and Ms. Lewis's frustration as she made what seemed like an endless series of phone calls to the board of elections. Despite the rumors, the film didn't appear damaging to the reputation of former mayor Jane Cambell.
The film's title comes from a phrase Ms. Lewis used that day to describe the situation "its like praying for rain and not bringing umbrellas" (the phrase is captured in the film). Ms. Lewis spoke to the crowd after the film. Her warmth and energy was just as strong as it appeared in the film.