Charlie vs Goliath is a feature-length documentary about an ordinary man’s extraordinary struggle to shake up the political establishment. It would be hard to find a more unlikely candidate than Charlie Hardy, a 75-year-old penniless former Catholic priest who spent nearly a decade serving the poor while living in a cardboard shack in a Venezuelan slum. In 2011, Charlie returns to his hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is shocked to see poverty, hunger and homelessness.
After being snubbed by his congressional representatives, Charlie decides to run for office himself in 2014 and manages to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for the US Senate. His Republican opponent has a $3 million war chest, and Charlie’s advisors urge him to focus his efforts on fundraising. Instead, Charlie rejects money from special interests and makes campaign finance reform a key part of his platform. The election is considered the most lopsided in the country and his friends say he is “tilting at windmills.” But Charlie is convinced he will triumph even with all the cards stacked against him. A 21st century Don Quixote, Charlie galvanizes a ragged band of young volunteers determined to make waves in Wyoming’s elections, and in so doing set a precedent for the rest of the country.
The film provides an intimate portrayal of this resolute and uniquely charismatic septuagenarian while revealing an inside look at a campaign fueled by hope rather than money. Challenging the belief that our political process is fair and democratic, Charlie vs Goliath explores the question of how an honest and sincere person without money can make a difference running for higher office, and more broadly, whether, in the spirit of Don Quixote, it is worth fighting an unbeatable foe and dreaming an impossible dream.
Official Selection of the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and Buffalo International Film Festival
“A modern-day Frank Capra story, Charlie vs Goliath will make you feel a twinge of guilt every time you doubt the capacity of the common people to initiate change.”– Boston Globe
“Charlie reminds us that that one person can make a difference in politics —and that impersonal out of state interests are not as good at reaching voter’s hearts as door to door candidates.” - Trevor Potter, President, Campaign Legal Center
"Profiles the senatorial campaign of a true political outsider."– Indiewire
“One man’s battle to take on the political establishment and [showing] you can win in politics without discarding your values... Powerful, passionate, and frequently very funny.”– The Independent (UK)
About the filmmaker
Reed Lindsay is a documentary filmmaker and journalist with 16 years of experience telling stories that are not being told, bringing marginalized voices to the fore, exposing injustices and abuse of power, creating awareness about issues that have been ignored or misunderstood and challenging mainstream narratives that are devoid of context or distort local realities. He was one of the first journalists to enter Libya after the uprising, and co-directed a hour-long film entitled Benghazi Rising that was nominated for a Rory Peck Award as best documentary in 2011. He reported on the Egyptian rebellion from beginning to end, and was co-winner of an Emmy for his contribution to the HBO documentary In Tahrir Square. From 2004 until 2009, Reed was based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he worked as a journalist, lived in a poor neighborhood and founded a non-profit supporting a group of community volunteers who formed two tuition-free schools serving 250 children. His work has been published in more than 20 major newspapers and magazines, aired on numerous radio stations, and broadcast on television news networks throughout the world.