Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has devoted his career to documenting a wide variety of fascinating institutions of American life -- from high schools and hospitals to department stores and dance companies -- and he places his focus on the nuts and bolts of democracy in his 2007 documentary State Legislature.
State Legislature offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of nearly every aspect of the daily functions of the Idaho Legislature, following everyone from the veteran elected officials down to the volunteers who help sort the paperwork.
Wiseman allows us to eavesdrop as elected representatives debate legislation, meet with reporters and lobbyists, visit with constituents, and grapple with frequent questions of what laws are needed and how far the hand of government should reach into the lives of its citizens.
The film also depicts the complex debates that can be prompted by seemingly simple issues, and the degree of care and concern Idaho's lawmakers show towards their work.
Produced in cooperation with PBS, State Legislature received its American premiere at the 2007 Silverdocs Film Festival, a festival for documentary cinema sponsored in part by the American Film Institute.