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A pertinent and hilarious political comedy set in Seattle.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

Image gallery

  • Director Stephen Gyllenhaal
  • Producer Matt R Brady, Peggy Case, Michael Huffington, Peggy Rajski
  • Screenwriter Stephen Gyllenhaal, Justin Rhodes
  • With Jason Biggs, Joel David Moore, Lauren Ambrose
  • USA 2012
  • 97 mins
  • UK distribution Intandem Film

Seattle, 2001, and jaded journalist Phil Campbell has just lost the job he hated on a freesheet paper. Disheartened, he meets with his pal Grant Cogswell, an unemployed music critic with a penchant for dressing up as a polar bear. Inspired by the city’s iconic monorail, Grant has discovered an idealistic fervour, announcing he will stand against long-term incumbent Richard McIver in upcoming City Council elections. Campbell reluctantly becomes his friend’s campaign manager, only to witness Cogswell’s rhetoric and manner appealing to the hipsters and dreamers of Seattle previously disillusioned with the system. Cogswell becomes an unlikely hero who might just change the city, even the country, for the better; so long as politics don’t change him first. Stephen Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of real events documented in Campbell’s book Zioncheck for President is a pertinent and hilarious political comedy. Biggs and Rhodes prove to be a terrific double act, though the Emerald City rivals them as the true star of the film.
Michael Hayden

Director statement

‘Laugh. Cry. Vote for the little guy.’ That's our slogan for Grassroots, and from the beginning I’ve had a gut instinct that this story might deeply move other people feeling alienated from democracy by the mega-politics of super PACs, secret deals, and perfectly coiffed candidates. Is it possible that this one funny, true Seattle story could reverberate across the years and have an effect on the 2012 election? I truly hope so. That’s why in every city, starting when the film opens – where else? – in Seattle, we'll set up an informal chat between a real local candidate and audience members. Nothing scripted, no handlers, no pre-packaged stump speech. We’ve learned Grassroots, the movie, generates lots of hope, laughter and talk. Follow us across the street into your local coffee house after the credits roll, and we’ll open up any can of worms you like. Then maybe you’ll feel hopeful, you’ll feel like you can make a difference, you’ll feel part of the process again. And your talk can become action, and your action can effect real change. GRASSROOTS!
Stephen Gyllenhaal

Director biography

Born in Cleveland in 1949, he attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. A vastly experienced director for screens both big and small, he won a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for Paris Trout, and has been Emmy-nominated for the likes of A Killing in a Small Town and Family of Spies. His episodic directing credits include Homicide: Life on the Street, Twin Peaks, The Mentalist, Numb3rs and Blue Bloods, among many others. Currently directing the pilot Sworn to Silence for Lifetime, he also serves as chair of the DGA’s Independent Director’s Committee.


1979 Exit 10 [s]
1985 Certain Fury
1987 The Abduction of Kari Swenson [TV]
1988 Promised a Miracle [TV]; Leap of Faith [TV]
1990 Family of Spies [TV]; Evidence of Love [TV]; A Killing in a Small Town
1991 Paris Trout
1992 Waterland
1993 A Dangerous Woman
1995 Losing Isaiah
1996 The Terror Inside [aka Shattered Mind] [TV]
1998 The Patron Saint of Liars [TV]; Homegrown
1999 Resurrection [TV]
2001 The Warden [TV]; Warden of Red Rock [TV]
2002 Living with the Dead [TV]
2006 Time Bomb [TV]
2007 Manchild [TV]
2011 Girl Fight [TV]
2012 Grassroots

Read the Time Out review.

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