Nat Bates for Mayor

76-minute Film, 2017

Nat Bates for Mayor, a feature documentary, premiered on Public Television’s “Truly CA” series. The feature documentary tells the story of the outrageous 2014 mayoral race in Richmond, Calif., home to the state’s second-largest refinery, where Chevron spent more than $3 million to back 83-year-old African-American candidate Nat Bates.

Councilman Bates makes a Faustian bargain with the corporate devil in hopes of keeping the waning working-class African-American community intact as it deals with gentrification throughout the Bay Area.

The guerilla-style documentary follows the candidates on the trail, captures revealing personal moments, and records audacious city council meetings as the candidates campaign to control the Bay Area’s overlooked oil town. Nothing is clear-cut as the film potently mixes issues of corporate influence, race, gentrification, homophobia, political self-determination, and humor—told through the lives of bigger-than-life small-town characters.

Cinéma vérité cameos by Bernie Sanders and Andrew Young.

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“Expect outrage—but also hilarity from the wild, guerilla-style documentary that reveals racism, class warfare, and other ugliness at the heart of political ambition.”
— East Bay Times
“The most intriguing aspect of the documentary is I have no idea what side the filmmakers are on. It does everything I wish political documentaries would do and simply present the facts and let us, the audience, come to our own conclusions..”
- Film Threat
“It’s like watching a year-long boxing match with no referee.”
— East Bay Express