Fresh from the official premiere of a 20-minute documentary entitled “Paulette,” about Coeur d’Alene tribal member Paulette Jordan’s run for governor in Idaho as the Democratic nominee last year, at the Seattle International Film Festival, Jordan says she’s “heavily considering” running for office in Idaho again.
“We had a really great time being welcomed with lots of excitement, a lot of eager folks wanting to learn about the experience of our campaign and really get to see the inside of it intimately,” Jordan said in an interview. “People want to know what’s next, how we’re able to contribute to the great state of Idaho.”
Jordan said she’s getting ready to launch a “voter education drive” on “our future for energy and earth. We really want to protect here and now, and that’s why I’ve been really focused on saving our American salmon, so that’s going to be my next step,” she said. “While billionaires and others are planning colonies on Mars, it is our duty to plan for our next seven generations and our future here on earth. We’ve really been on a path to ensure that voters are educated on this issue.”
Jordan said that’s included a “pretty heavy speaking tour” addressing college students and young women to “build them up into leadership.”
The film, directed by Academy Award nominee Heather Rae, traces “the history-making rise of Coeur d’Alene tribal member Paulette Jordan, the first indigenous candidate to win the Idaho primary for governor,” according to the film festival. It was shown as part of a series of seven short films on Sunday entitled “Doing the Work,” all featuring indigenous people.
“I chose the film because it’s important to me as a programmer to acknowledge the interests and needs of the local indigenous communities of the Pacific Northwest,” said SIFF programmer and filmmaker Tracy Rector. “With both the director Heather Rae and Paulette Jordan herself having deep roots in the area, it was a clear choice to support stories from the region, by the people, for the people.”
SIFF spokeswoman Amanda Bedell said the showing was sold out, “Paulette” was well-received, and the 84-minute shorts package drew a standing ovation.
While still in post-production, the film was shown in an earlier, 15-minute version on the final day of the Sun Valley Film Festival this year on March 17, where Jordan answered questions from the assembled journalists, filmmakers and film-lovers after the showing, as she also did in Seattle.
“It was a sold-out screening,” said Laura Melhaff, program director for the Sun Valley Film Festival. “We were turning people away at the door, which is great.”
“Paulette” was paired with “Running with Beto,” a documentary about Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. Filmmakers from both films along with Jordan participated in the Q-and-A afterward.
“It was a very lively discussion,” Melhaff said, and was followed by a big reception marking the close of the annual Sun Valley festival.
“It’s a great documentary, and Paulette is such an interesting figure,” Melhaff said. “There’s definitely a lot of curiosity about her, I think, in Idaho. Despite anyone’s political affiliation, she still is a draw.”
Jordan said the film has been picked up by The Guardian, the British newspaper and media group.
“They’re going to show this internationally,” she said, but first, it’s going to be expanded into a full feature-length film.
“I think an hour is what they wanted,” Jordan said. Filmmaker Heather Rae is working on that.
“For now, it’s this short length because she wants to use this as a film to build on for us,” Jordan said.
Jordan said she’s working on plans for a showing of the film in mid-July in Boise. “We want to show it at the Egyptian Theater,” she said.
She said she hopes the film inspires others like her to “build an Idaho leadership base that starts from the ground up — we want people who would never think about running for office. We want single mothers like myself, people of color, people of various communities of diversity … so that they do build themselves into those conversations where they’re left out.”
Jordan said she’s made no decisions as to what office she might seek in the future. For now, she said, “My focus is on the environment and building the next generation of leaders.” She added, “This film serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and it will continue to build on all that we’re doing.”