Better This World

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    Better This World

    Directed by

    • Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway

    USA

    2011

    94 min

    • English

    Documentary

    Passionate young activists and authorities clash in Minneapolis in events surrounding the protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention. As arrests are made and accusations fly, the truth recedes behind a desperate and strained justice system abetted by the opportunism of chameleon-like activist Brandon Darby, a cofounder of Common Ground Relief. Darby’s cult of personality spins a nasty web that entangles the lives of two young protesters, childhood friends who had regarded Darby as their mentor and were eager to show him the genuineness of their political convictions. As the filmmakers follow the twists and turns of their legal defense, the young men confront a divisive moral dilemma that pits shared ideals against practical decisions, with immediate consequences for themselves and their families. From this tense situation, a poignant portrait emerges of the activists, their friends and loved ones. Intimate phone conversations, found footage, photographs and court transcripts merge with artful reenactments, while onscreen interviews include FBI officials and the federal prosecutor handling the case. Documentarians Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway present a story that deals not only with problems of power and authority, freedom and democracy but also with the ultimate power of forgiveness and love.

    Awards

    Show All Awards Show Less Awards
    • Best Documentary Feature, San Francisco IFF
    • Bay Area Documentary Feature, San Francisco IFF
    • Best Documentary, Sarasota FF
    • Best Documentary, Gotham IFP

    Credits

    Cinematography
    David Layton
    Editing
    Greg O'Toole
    Production
    LOTERIA FILMS

    Press

    Sharply focused and superbly put together

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Katie Galloway

    Katie Galloway

    USA

    Galloway’s films explore the intersections of institutional power, civil & human rights, and political activism — with a particular focus on the American justice system. THE RETURN (2016, with Duane de la Vega) completes her triptych of feature length documentaries on the American criminal justice and mass incarceration systems for the acclaimed national independent film series P.O.V., which also broadcast BETTER THIS WORLD (2011, with Duane de la Vega) — the story of two young men charged with domestic terrorism and their relationship with a radical mentor and undercover FBI informant and PRISON TOWN, USA (2007, with Po Kutchins) which looks at the impact of the prison building boom on rural America. Prior to her work for POV Galloway produced and reported an award-winning trio of films on the justice system for PBS FRONTLINE including SNITCH, THE CASE FOR INNOCENCE and REQUIEM FOR FRANK LEE SMITH (2001). A two-time Sundance Fellow, HBO/Film Independent Documentary Fellow and recent Filmmaker in Residence at UC Berkeley Journalism School’s Investigative Reporting Program, Galloway has won the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award, Gotham Independent’s Best Documentary Award, four national Emmy nominations, Best Documentary Awards at San Francisco International, Tribeca, Sarasota and other top film festivals. Galloway holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley with a focus on Political Behavior and Public Law and a M.S. in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has taught documentary production, history and theory at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and at UC Berkeley’s Department of Media Studies. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and four sons.

    Selected Filmography

    Kelly Duane de la Vega

    Kelly Duane de la Vega

    USA

    Loteria founder Kelly Duane de la Vega documentaries have screened at film festivals worldwide, opened theatrically and broadcast nationally on POV/PBS and the Documentary Channel. Her work has received the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award, Gotham Independent Film’s Best Documentary Award, Tribeca Audience Award and multiple national Emmy nominations. Duane de la Vega’s film BETTER THIS WORLD won Best Documentary Feature at SFIF and Sarasota Film Festival, received an IDA Creative Achievement award and was selected to screen at NY MoMA’s documentary fortnight. MONUMENTAL screened at the Lincoln Center, was acquired by the Smithsonian for its permanent collection, EL POETA called “dramatic and inspiring” by the LA Times broadcast on PBS’s Voces. THE RETURN won awards at SFIF and Tribeca FF. She has produced short format work for The New York Times, Mother Jones, IFC and Discovery, among others. A Sundance & HBO/Film Independent Fellow, she has guest lectured at various universities and taught Documentary Forms at UC Berkeley.

    Selected Filmography