Documentary Preview - Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb
Hunter S. Thompson went to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago as a journalist and returned home disgusted, yet motivated by what he’d just seen: violently suppressed protests, riots, corrupt politicians, and abusive cops. Back in Aspen, he finds more of the same. The local police and sheriff’s departments are targeting young people, harassing and charging them with absurd crimes and trying to push them out of town. Hunter decides he has to do something to change the police brutality that has become the norm.
We follow Hunter as he builds his own political movement, which grows from a local sheriff’s race to a national media sensation. He creates a radical platform in which he envisions completely reforming the sheriff’s office by disarming the police, focusing on environmental crimes and legalizing marijuana.
As Hunter and his friends grapple with the challenges of trying to transform the political landscape in Aspen, they become ensnared in the corruption and cronyism of the political establishment. During an era when the police and FBI were hunting down activists and jailing or assassinating them, Hunter’s campaign puts him in the crosshairs of J. Edgar Hoover and the forces that are under the thumb of Nixon. Soon there are death threats, bombings, an agent provocateur and Aspen becomes an ideological battleground for what “The American Dream” really means and how powerful interests often coalesce to undermine democracy.
Rated R for language, some graphic nudity, drug use, violent images, and smoking.
Available for streaming on 23 October 2020 on Vimeo, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime.