Portland’s 2024 Election Documented in Upcoming Film

A behind-the-scenes film team team is quietly chronicling Portland’s reform journey

Maja Viklands Harris Avatar

Did you know that a documentary film team has been chronicling Portland’s election cycle since January 2024?

People’s Town Hall, a local nonprofit, is quietly following candidates and their campaigns, outgoing civic leaders, election officials, local press, and community members to explore how Portland navigates its historic 2024 election. The working title for the documentary is “The Experiment,” with an anticipated release date in early 2026.

Nathan Williams, the film’s director, said the team applies a “fly on the wall” approach, similar to Frederick Wiseman’s critically acclaimed documentary “City Hall” about the workings of city government in Boston.

“So far, the vast majority of candidates and others involved in this process have welcomed our project with open arms,” Williams told Rose City Reform.

“I think there’s a widespread feeling that something rare and special is happening this year, that we may not see again for a generation, and folks are happy we’re documenting the big picture story beyond the immediate news cycle.”

Williams emphasized the team’s commitment to neutrality, saying all video footage is embargoed until after the election. 

“We are committed to honoring that trust by not putting our thumb on the scale in any way — we aren’t advocating for any candidate or set of policy outcomes: we want to document all of these campaigns truthfully and with respect, showing what’s unique about each candidate and their message, and trusting the audience to reach their own conclusions as they watch the film.”

For more information, visit People’s Town Hall or follow the team’s progress on Instagram at pdxdemocracydoc.

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