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Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970 Campaign For Sheriff Focus Of 'Freak Power' Doc

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of Hunter S. Thompson’s historic race to become sheriff of Pitkin County, the new documentary, “Freak Power: the Ballot or the Bomb,” debuts on Friday, Oct. 23. While the film chronicles the gonzo journalist’s 1970 campaign in Aspen, parts of it feel eerily similar to today.

Historic footage of anti-war and racial justice protests with young people demanding that their government prioritize people over profits is contrasted with conervative voices calling for “law and order,” safegaurding “the American Dream,” and protecting their livelihoods from “a bunch of communists.” 


Created by Ajax Phillips, D.J. Watkins and a team of local filmmakers, “Freak Power” will be released for streaming on the 50th Anniversary of Thompson’s historic campaign and less than two weeks before the 2020 election.Morning Edition host Eleanor Bennett spoke with co-director Watkins ahead of the release and asked him what relevance the documentary has today:


Eleanor is an award-winning journalist and "Morning Edition" anchor. She has reported on a wide range of topics in her community, including the impacts of federal immigration policies on local DACA recipients, creative efforts to solve the valley's affordable housing crisis, and hungry goats fighting climate change across the West through targeted grazing. Connecting with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work.
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