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The Link Between Politics And Pageants...

The link between politics and beauty pagaents is tantalizingly explored in the documentary film AND THE WINNER IS......, which will premiere at this week's Palm Beach International Film Festival. While contemporary politics (not only in America) is often more a popularity contest than one of substance (our current President to the contrary), the premise of the film is an audacious and delicious one.

AND THE WINNER IS....documents the small town of Centerville’s bold decision to elect its next mayor through a beauty pageant style event. In a flavor reminiscent of “American Idol,” seven aspiring candidates launch vibrant political campaigns honing their skills in the areas that will lead one of them to office. In the Election Pageant, candidates hope to capture the vote of the audience by competing in such categories as “Smile & Wave,” “Handshaking,” and “Photo Op.”

The fine line between reality and reality television is only made more hazy by the presence of reality show king Jerry Springer as the host of the events. Springer’s participation in this tale about politics was not unfamiliar territory....before his infamy on television he served as the Mayor of Cincinnati in the late 1970s. While in office, he began his broadcast career on WEBN FM with a commentary show, and later becoming political reporter on Cincinnati’s NBC affiliate before working his way up to Anchor and Managing Editor.

He won 10 local Emmy awards before he changed careers in the early 90s. “The Jerry Springer Show” debuted in 1991 as a politically oriented talk show. The show’s format was consequently redesigned to capture the explosion of interest in lowbrow popular culture. is loosely based on The Jerry Springer Show. “I did not hesitate to sign on to this project seeing the originality of it. It felt as though my worlds converged into one with this project.” Springer said.

The premise is certainly intriguing and Palm Beach audiences will be among the first to see the film. For other curious sorts who cannot make it to South Florida this week, check out the film's website:

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Online Dailies Editor
Palm Beach Blog Dailies

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