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Chester County Press

‘Popcorn & Politics’ film/discussion series to kick off Feb. 28

02/14/2024 01:28PM ● By Richard Gaw

As a new year begins to unfold on what many predict – and fear – will further drive a proverbial wedge into what has become the national divide of our nation’s politics -- a new film and discussion series opening on Feb. 28 at the Kennett Library is proving that many Democratic and Republican leaders in Chester County are refusing to take the (click) bait.

In partnership with the Kennett Library, members of the Chester County Democratic Committee and the Republican Committee of Chester County are collaborating on “Popcorn & Politics,” a nine-part series that will screen classic and contemporary films with a political focus and introduce panel discussions related to voting, voter’s rights and registration and the influence of the media on the election process. 

“We are always trying to introduce programs that are community friendly and social in nature, and as the campaign season began to kick off, we thought, ‘How about if we sponsored a Wednesday Night at the Movies?’” said Whitney Hoffman, the chairperson of the Kennett Area Democrats and a former Kennett Township Supervisor. 

Hoffman reached out to Kennett Library Executive Director Christopher Manna about launching the concept, who suggested that the series serve as a bipartisan, collaborative effort between local Democratic and Republican groups.

“The library believes in the value of bringing people together for civic and civil discussion,” Manna wrote in an e-mail. “As a trusted source for information, we believe hosting joint sessions will allow all sides to best present their facts and allow people to find their own voice and belief in a safe and informed space.  While we may not all agree, understanding each other is the first step to compromise and forward momentum.

“This series fits into our Civic and Social Literacy grouping of the six ways we define literacy -- basic, information, health, environmental, financial, and civic and social. We work to expand upon the understanding of the word ‘literacy’ and how the library supports this mission in the community.”

The series will begin on Feb. 28 with The American President, the 1995 film starring Michael Douglas, Annette Bening and Martin Sheen, and will also include:

  • The Ides of March, the 2011 film starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, on March 13
  • Irresistible, the 2020 film starring Steve Carell and directed by Jon Stewart, on April 10
  • Head of State, the 2003 film starring Chris Rock and Bernie Mac, on March 15
  • Speechless, the 1994 film starring Michael Keaton and Gina Davis, on June 12
  • The Post, the 2017 film starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, on July 17
  • Wag The Dog, the 1997 film starring Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman, on Aug. 14
  • My Fellow Americans, the 1996 film starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner, on Sept. 18 and
  • Swing Vote, the 2008 film starring Kevin Costner and Kelsey Grammer, on Oct. 9

In addition to the film screening, the series will also hold panel presentations that invite elected and prospective officials and area experts to host open forums about topics like the current electoral system, political campaigning in Chester County, the influence of the media on elections and the role that public engagement plays in elections.  Each event will provide voter registration information.

The “Popcorn & Politics” film and discussion series arrives at a time when the political divide in this country has become a nearly impenetrable wall of dissonance that has nearly destroyed the remaining swath of common ground compromise and turned American politics into a blood sport. The lingering quagmire has left millions of voters angry with the entire system, or worse, disillusioned and disengaged. 

The film and discussion series, its organizers said, is intended to bring those with differing ideologies and viewpoints to begin to bury the hatchet of political divide.

“The current political atmosphere is discouraging, because in today’s politics, people are adversaries before they even open their mouths,” said Ted Moxon, the chairman for Area 17 of the Republican Committee of Chester County, who in addition to working with Hoffman is also collaborating with John Schultz, the chairman of Area 16 service area and Dave Connors, the Area 18 chairperson -- on the project. “It’s a combination of being tired of hearing the controversy that has turned people off to the voting system, and the element of people who choose not to engage, not realizing the impact that they can have just by becoming involved.

“This series will be an opportunity to have a friendly, handshake environment where everyone can sit and enjoy a film and then be able to chat with each other no matter their political affiliation. I am confident that this engagement will diffuse some of the reticence people have about our political system.” 

“When I first spoke with Ted about the series, I told him that this was something both parties can do to lower the temperature, even if it only happens on a local scale,” Hoffman said. “We’re all neighbors so let’s all get along. If we can do this, maybe it will be a signal that we can do other things together, so from that perspective, creating a bi-partisan film and discussion series is a good start.”

To keep up to date on the “Popcorn & Politics” film and discussion series, visit the Kennett Library website at

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].