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SXSW 2021: “Kid Candidate”


Rating: 3 out of 5.

It’s easy to run for any office but difficult to convince people to vote for you. What makes one individual candidate better than the other? In Trump’s era, it was proved that there is neither a need to be a politician nor care about people, just have an agenda purely based on bigotry, and it will be good enough to win the presidency. So why then, the seemingly nice but without office experience, 24-year-old Hayden Pedigo can’t get the same shot?

Gunpowder & Sky, in association with XTR, presents “Kid Candidate” directed by Jasmine Stodel. The documentary follows the youngest candidate, Hayden Pedigo of Amarillo city, with no experience in politics, a musician himself and a bit of frustrated citizen who decides to run for the city council to make changes. Making ridiculous, tasteless but funny videos made him famous. But will that help him win the office is an interesting take the film directs us to.

Married at a young age, charged with lots of energy and ideas he wants to implement in his beloved city, Hayden does what most candidates will never do – accepting no donations of any kind in his campaign. He concentrates on cheap videos, posts them online and hopes to deliver his message that way. Jasmine Stodel, as a filmmaker, senses a good vibe in the story as she lets Hayden reveal his whole agenda. In the meantime, we meet other candidates too, which makes this film as objective as possible.

Why this film works, or rather Hayden’s attempt to run for the city council, is the fact that his strongest opponent, through him, can see the changes people want to see. Perhaps, if one of them wins the election, they could borrow some of Hayden’s plans for the greater good? The film is not long either; with 68 minutes of runtime, it manages to tell everything we need to know about Hayden, Amarillo and its future. It is indeed a bright future one should be able to see the fruitful results of, as the light at the end of the tunnel, which would not have been possible without Hayden Pedigo.

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