- The Washington Times - Friday, December 2, 2022

Congress has officially gone Hollywood.

A House committee is premiering a new film documentary about economic struggles and the modern quest for the American dream.

It is Congress’s first foray into documentary filmmaking.



The Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness and Growth’s 30-minute film “Grit & Grace” debuts on Dec. 13 at the National Archives. 

Its producers — the committee’s members and staff — say the film seeks to close the partisan gap to tell stories from outside of Washington.

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who grew up in a low-income household in Ohio, narrates the film.

Rep. Jim Himes, the Connecticut Democrat who chairs the committee, said he hopes the project can capture a moment in time and provide the public with a lasting product in addition to their upcoming report on policy recommendations.

“No matter how good the report, eventually [they] end up gathering dust on a shelf, so I thought what can we do that’s a little more enduring and obviously this is something that is different,” he told The Washington Times.

The film follows the stories of three individuals in different parts of the country who have overcome struggles to achieve economic success.

The documentary highlights Jeremy Cook, a small business owner in West Virginia who cares for his two nonverbal, autistic sons, and Alicia Villaneuva, a Mexican immigrant living in California who started her own tamales business.

It also looks at the life of Joseph Graham Jr., a single father in North Carolina who fought to secure higher education degrees in his adulthood.

“They have very unique challenges individually, but are highly relatable,” said Eric Harris, a committee staffer who is a co-creator and senior producer of the film.

He recruited Emmy award-winning director Oscar Guerra to direct the film.

Though the documentary is a product developed by Congress, its members have just a small role in the film.

Some lawmakers reflected on personal challenges alongside the stories of the individuals. Mr. Himes, along with his GOP counterpart on the committee, Rep. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin, are featured. 

“Listening to the American people is something Congress needs to do more often. I am proud that our committee has been able to do exactly that,” Mr. Steil said in a statement. 

Reps. Kat Cammack and Byron Donalds, both Florida Republicans, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, are also featured.

The documentary will be available through its own YouTube channel and the committee‘s website.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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