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changed their mind because they didn’t have the budget.” I was disappointed but then I
thought, I’ll just cancel my piano lessons for the day and go out on my own.’ I got up and
tried to vote early but there was a big long line. I had a list of polling locations and headed
downtown. I stopped at a few of the smaller ones and from everything I could see from the
outside, it looked like a normal day. I was about to leave but then through, I’ll just check
out this library. It was in the Hough neighborhood.” Hough It is one of the roughest areas of
Cleveland and Laura replies, “A woman told me “it’s really bad in there. There’s a big, long
line and nothing’s moving. People are screaming and yelling” She invited me to come in
and it was non-stop filming after that. If this woman hadn’t asked me to come in with my
camera I probably wouldn’t have gone in. The media was actually banned from filming
inside polling stations that day. I wish I could find that woman and thank her.”
Laura was in the right place at the right time. She notes, “I knew I had some great stuff
but I’m also thinking ‘everyone’s doing an election documentary’. About six months after
the election, I decided to look at the footage. I thought ‘there’s probably not enough here
to create a story, but but just for the hell of it, I’ll put together a few minutes so my family in
the West Coast to see how crazy it is here.’ Voting is not an issue there. I found a natural
beginning spot, put together about five minutes and thought, ‘hmm that’s pretty good, I’ll
try another five minutes.’ I put the film together fairly fast. It was pretty easy to edit that’s
the irony. I test screened it for a few critical friends. Everything worked except the ending.
That was the main obstacle. Once I had that, I sent it to Sundance on the latest possible
deadline thinking, ‘Everyone will have an election documentary - they’ll probably be getting
thousands.”
Laura’s intuition brought her to the polling place in the Hough area of Cleveland that day in
the middle of a rainstorm. Once she discovered decent footage, her initial thought was to
enter it in Sundance but was hesitant because she assumed everyone would have an
election documentary. Again, she followed her intuition and entered despite her personal
doubts. This is a highly competitive international film festival and her documentary, No
Umbrella Election Day in the City, was accepted as a 2006 Sundance participant (one of
70 short films out of approximately 4000 entries).
Paglin’s synopsis reads:
No Umbrella - Election Day in the City is an unblinking look at the 2004 US Election
Day failures in one of Ohio's poorest neighborhoods. In the most hotly contested
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