Directed by Jasmine Stodel, Kid Candidate follows Hayden Pedigo, a 24-year-old musician who enjoys making experimental films with his friends. When one project that features Pedigo as a man running for city counsel goes viral, he decides to make this story a reality and opts to enter the political arena in Amarillo, Texas.
Enthusiastic and fun, Kid Candidate feels as subversive as the videos that Pedigo enjoys making. By interspersing his bizarre promo films with his interactions with constituents, Stodel highlights the seeming contradictions around this particular politician. For instance, his low-budget campaign seems to portray him as a lovable slacker who wants to satirize the political process. However, his interactions with residents and his research into local issues show his genuine interest in contributing.
In fact, despite his satirical edge, the most interesting aspect of Pedigo is that he does care. In Pedigo, there’s an earnestness to the young candidate that never wavers, and even takes an emotional toll on him. Despite his rough political edges and raw vignettes, there’s a refreshing nature to his campaign that showcases a need for new voices.
Because of his youth, Pedigo has a purity to his campaign and a genuine desire for change. Taking no donations from outside sources and creating compelling arguments, he refuses to simply ‘play the political game’. (One of the best examples of this comes as he refuses guidance from his advisor regarding the legalization of marijuana, arguing that it’s simply not part of his campaign platform.) With fresh ideas and young integrity, Pedigo proves that age and experience are not necessarily the most important qualifiers for people to serve in public office. And, at the same time, it provides an example for other youth to follow in the future.