Democratic National Convention
Monday, August 14, 2000

Filmmakers focus on Ohio delegates

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOS ANGELES — The Ohio Democrats have gone Hollywood.

        No, not because their delegation hotel is in Century City, the heart of TV land, across the Avenue of the Stars from the ABC Entertainment Center and right next door to the Fox studios where the Simpsons are drawn.

        It is because the 214 members of the Ohio delegation are the subject of a documentary film being shot here this week by a New York-based independent film company that hopes to sell the film to one of the cable TV networks.


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Cincinnati star

               All the Ohio Democrats will be real-life actors in the film — the working title is Delegation — but one young Cincinnati woman will have a starring role.

        Josephine Sittenfeld of Clifton — a 19-year-old Princeton student and the youngest member of the Ohio delegation — will be the focus of the film, along with delegate Louis Escobar of Toledo.

        “We want to make a movie about what these conventions are like and what they are and what a delegate sees and hears,” said director Russell Miller.

        “If everybody is saying that the political conventions are nothing but infomercials, the question is why would thousands of people take a week out of their life to do this?” Mr. Miller said. “That's the question we'd like to answer.”

        Mr. Miller — whose company is Stolen Car Productions, named after a Bruce Springsteen song — hopes the film will answer it through almost 24-hour a day contact with the Ohioans. They'll film them at delegation breakfasts, sight-seeing in nearby Hollywood and Beverly Hills, on the floor of the Staples Center, where the convention that will nominate Al Gore for president begins this afternoon.

        Mr. Miller said the Ohio delegation was chosen because it was one of the most racially and ethnically diverse delegations at the Los Angeles convention and has a wide mix of ages and economic backgrounds.

        The Ohio delegation has 55 African-Americans, six gay and lesbian members, seven Hispanics, three Asian-Americans and 20 delegates and alternates between the ages of 18 and 35.

        “I'm pretty proud of the fact that these filmmakers thought this delegation was representative of the country,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Leland told Ohio reporters in a press briefing Sunday in a hotel ballroom while the filmmakers' cameras rolled.

Floor visibility

               The Ohio delegation to this convention has no major statewide elected officials to be on center stage, but the delegation will be.

        Five states have their seats on the floor in the Staples Center directly in front of the podium — California, the host state; Tennessee, home state of the nominee; Connecticut, home state of vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman; Michigan and Ohio.

        “That's the way it usually happens,” Mr. Leland said. “The key battleground states are usually pretty visible on the floor.”

        The Ohioans are staying in the Century Plaza hotel, which is also housing President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

        Mr. Leland said Mr. Clinton — who has taken Ohio in the last two elections — has been invited to stop by the Ohio delegation caucus. the


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