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Better this World

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How did two boyhood friends from Midland, Texas wind up arrested on terrorism charges at the 2008 Republican National Convention? Better This World follows the journey of David McKay (22) and Bradley Crowder (23) from political neophytes to accused domestic terrorists with a particular focus on the relationship they develop with a radical activist mentor in the six months leading up to their arrests. A dramatic story of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal, Better This World goes to the heart of the War on Terror and its impact on civil liberties and political dissent in post-9/11 America.

Running Time: 89 min.
Subject(s): Activism, Politics, Youth
Language(s): English
Director(s):
Producer(s): Katie Galloway, Kelly Duane de la Vega, Mike Nicholson
Cinematographer: David Layton
Editor(s): Greg O'Toole
Production Company: Loteria Films

Press

  • “Riveting. Structured like a taut thriller, Better This World delivers a chilling depiction of loyalty, naivete, political zealotry and the post-9/11 security state — and it features one doozy of a kicker in the "where are they are now" category.”- Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
  • “A direct reflection of post-9/11 paranoia”
    - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
  • “Docu thriller with twists that will catch many by surprise...Playing out against the high drama of the GOP gathering in St. Paul, Minn., compounded by the U.S. policy of targeting terrorists as a top priority, Better This World delivers the kind of case study, rich in national and personal dimensions, that would have made the New Journalists of the '60s and '70s swoon.”
    - Robert Koehler, Variety
  • “Sharply focused and superbly put together...”
    - John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
  • “Very nearly perfect.”
    - Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
  • “Combining solid investigative journalism with a compelling storytelling format that plays like a grungier Man On Wire with much higher stakes, the filmmakers probe the facts and principal actors from all angles, and come away with a series of truly shocking dramatic twists sure to anger and incite the even the most stoic viewers."
    - Ilya Tovbis, IndieWire
  • “a gripping and disturbing film”
    - Martin Knelman, Toronto Star
  • “...a fascinating study of the methods employed in combating terrorism in the wake of 9/11.”
    - Ian Buckwalter, Washingtonian Magazine
  • “From a pure story standpoint, de la Vega and Galloway play it out like a tense legal thriller that tests the bounds of friendship and loyalty, and ends with a punchline that gives the entire saga a tint of the surreal.”
    - Matthew Singer, Wilaemette Week
  • Video Librarian
    Better This World disturbingly illustrates how easily the government’s expanded powers of coercion and inducement can be exploited for all the wrong reasons. Highly recommended.
  • Educational Media Reviews Online
    This film could easily serve as a case study on the ethics of current policies and practices used to ensure our safety in any social justice, political science, or ethics course… Highly Recommended

Festival Participation

  • International TV Festival Bar Montenegro
    Award for best author's approach in the category of documentary and Golden Olive for best documentary
  • Gotham Independant Film Award
    Gotham Award - Best Documentary
  • International Documentary Association
    IDA Award - Creative Achievement
  • San Francisco Film Festival
    Best Documentary
  • Sarasota International Film Festival
    Best Documentary
  • FIFDH
    Prize for peace and reconciliation

Distribution Company

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