From the Blog

‘Grassroots’ launches college tour

We’re excited to announce that we launched our college tour on Sep. 21, 2011 at Vassar and Dutchess Community Colleges. We’re adding new dates in new cities every day, so keep checking in. If you want us on your campus, email us here, and let’s see if we can make it happen, together!


  • Sep. 21, 2011 – Vassar College, 5:30PM, Rosenwald Theatre (Poughkeepsie, NY)
  • Sep. 21, 2011- Dutchess Community College, 5:30PM, James and Betty Hall Theatre (Poughkeepsie, NY)
  • Sep. 23, 2011 – Yale University, 7:00PM, Whitney Humanities Center (New Haven, CT)
  • Oct. 15, 2011 – Trinity College, 5:00PM, Cinestudio (Hartford, CT)
  • Nov. 10, 2011 – George Washington University, details to come (Washington, D.C.)
  • Nov., 2011 – Arizona State University, details to come (Tempe, AZ)
  • Dec. 1, 2011 – University of Colorado, Boulder, 7:30PM, Atlas 102 (Boulder, CO)

Image courtesy of Bulldog Productions

Stephen Gyllenhaal leads a workshop at Yale. (Image courtesy of Bulldog Productions)



It’s unfashionable to be hopeful these days.

With unemployment rates at depressing highs and with nearly everyone disillusioned about the dysfunctional politics of Washington, the word “hope” provokes contempt when anyone tries to use it. If you’re an optimist, current wisdom has it, you’re an idiot.

Former Republican Congressman Michael Huffington and liberal Hollywood director Stephen Gyllenhaal see it differently. With Huffington producing, the pair teamed up to make “Grassroots,” a highly entertaining indie film about local politics in Seattle, Washington. Gyllenhaal believes so much in this eccentric, youthful and sublimely hopeful film that he’s taking it around the country this fall in anticipation of its February release on a national tour that he hopes will serve as an inspiration to anyone who has given up on politics.

“So much of our political discourse, from the local to the national, has been pessimistic, so pessimistic it’s almost poisonous. If we give in to that, we’re lost,” Gyllenhaal said. “‘Grassroots’ has an engaging message about regular people getting involved in politics on their own terms. This is a story that personally inspires me.”

‘Grassroots’ stars Jason Biggs, Joel Moore, Lauren Ambrose, Cedric the Entertainer, Cobie Smulders, among others. It is based on the memoir ‘Zioncheck for President’ by Phil Campbell. Campbell is a disillusioned, fired journalist who agrees to manage the city council campaign of his friend Grant Cogswell. Cogswell is a short-tempered, unemployed music critic – an oddball outsider with a predilection for wearing polar bear suits and a deep love for Seattle.

Gyllenhaal is bringing ‘Grassroots’ to universities across America before the film festivals because he “wanted to bring ‘Grassroots’ directly to students, first.”

“We’ll be going to colleges across the U.S. this fall and winter to hopefully inspire young people to get out there and run for office, and we’re thrilled that Yale is one of our first stops” Gyllenhaal said. “I want ‘Grassroots’ to help remind people that government only works when we all participate. We are long overdue for a national conversation about how we can get government working again.”

“I’m thrilled to be visiting colleges and towns across America.” Gyllenhaal continued. “This movie is also about young people finding it within themselves to take some real risks. It’s a ‘political coming of age story,’ if there is such a thing.”

The tour will be supplemented by educational materials that will provide the tools and basic education necessary to help people start campaigns of their own.

For more information about the film, the tour and how you can get involved, please visit, or follow us on Twitter @grassrootsfilm or facebook at


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