Slay the Dragon

April 7, 2019

First look: Slay the Dragon

A documentary about gerrymandering from Participant Media, “Slay the Dragon,” premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27.


Gerrymandering has been a popular topic recently, and for good reason. Beyond the blatant political interests fueling the practice, gerrymandering has led to an erosion of democracy, a disregard for the voter, and without it various events in the past years would not have been pulled off. Slay the Dragon draws direct connections between this practice and the Flint water crisis, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s removal of collective bargaining for public employees, bathroom bills, racism, and voter ID laws.

We learn about packing and cracking and witness creative redistricting lines full of twists, curves, and squiggles to guarantee a certain majority. But we also experience hope in the form of Katie Fahey, a Michigander who forms the group Voters Not Politicians working to bring a measure onto the state’s ballot to require an independent group—not the legislature—to draw the lines. And in Wisconsin, an activist group challenges the state’s redistricting in a case that makes its way to the US Supreme Court. Directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance crafts a detailed, maddening, ultimately inspiring look—deftly balancing the facts and maps with the tireless work of people like Fahey to get us to act to ensure that democracy will survive.

—Brian Gordon

After the Premiere Screening: a conversation with directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durance, subject Katie Fahey, editor-at-large for Melissa Harris-Perry, author of the national bestseller Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t CountDavid Daley, and Senior Reporter at Mother Jones and author of Give Us the BallotAri Berman.


Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance have directed several films together, including Clinton for PBS’s American Experience, and the six-part series Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Separately and together, they have won numerous Peabody, Emmy®, and Writers Guild Awards, and an Academy Award® nomination.

Film Trailer:

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