MSNBC Films To Release Documentary on Sunday About Activists Combating Voter Suppression in Georgia

WASHINGTON, D.C. — MSNBC Films will release its “Battleground Georgia” documentary on Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT, which will explore voter suppression and threats to democracy in Georgia through the eyes of activists, journalists and experts in the field.

“The film is an important model, success story, and rallying cry about the power of grassroots organizing, examining how the movement is working to keep voters engaged ahead of the 2024 election,” MSNBC Films said in a release .

Georgia has been facing voter suppression and inequities for years, but the state was thrust into national spotlight after the 2020 election when voters turned the red state on its head, electing two Democratic senators and President Joe Biden. This was after a coalition of activists, including Stacey Abrams, pushed to register numerous new voters in the state.

“Here in Georgia, we take a lot of pride in the fact that we showed our fellow brethren across the former Confederate states that you can catch a W out here statewide,” CEO of the New Georgia Project Kendra Cotton said in the film. “People are paying attention to Georgia now, but I want to be clear. Before 2020, they left us for dead too.” 

Since then, there have been numerous voter suppression laws passed, including the three that Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed this month along with Senate Bill 202, which was passed in 2021 and has been challenged in court by voting rights activists.

The documentary dives into the struggles that Georgia activists faced during the 2020 election cycle and now leading up to the 2024 election, but also the feats they have achieved.

“Grassroots organizers have played an enormous role in getting Georgia to a rate of 95% of all age-eligible Georgians registered to vote. 95%,” Emory University Professor of African American Studies Carol Anderson said in the film.

The film’s subjects include numerous individuals from pro-voting organizations in Georgia, including those from Black Voters Matter, Georgia STAND-UP, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda and The New Georgia Project.

In the documentary, Black Voters Matter cofounder LaTosha Brown discusses the importance of out-of-the-box thinking when searching for ways to improve the status quo.

“We’ve got these systems in place that do not support pluralism, which means they’re going to have to be replaced, themselves,” Brown said. “We’ve got a new generation of thinkers, of innovators, of creators that are actually thinking very differently about everything. They’re challenging all of the existing structures, and I think that there’s a lot that can come out of that.”

In one clip, the documentary showcases a Black Voters Matter activist speaking with a Georgia voter who said he’s registered to vote in another state that he doesn’t live in anymore.

The almost 45-minute long film was directed by Daresha Kyi, who embedded with Black Voters Matter for almost a year across 13 states.

This documentary is the eighth installment of The Turning Point documentary series “tackling the big issues of the era — from voting rights to civil rights, human rights to climate change, to the fight for American democracy,” according to the release.

MSNBC’s host of “The ReidOut” Joy Reid says in the film that this year, voters not just in Georgia, but across the country, should be prepared for chaos and turmoil ahead of the 2024 elections.

 “I think it’s going to be filled with insane rhetoric, insane lies,” Reid said. “I think we should be wary, and I think we’re in for a very wild year.”

Learn more about the lawsuit against S.B. 202 here.

Learn more about the recently enacted voter suppression laws here.