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PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes

Written & Directed By John Wellington Ennis
Produced By John Wellington Ennis & Holly Mosher

Driven to make the world better for his newborn daughter, John Ennis looks for ways out of our system of pay-to-play politics. Along the way, he journeys through high drama on the Ohio campaign trail, uncovers the secret history of the game Monopoly, and explores the underworld of L.A. street art on a humorous odyssey that reveals how much of a difference one person can make. PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes is a fun guidebook to returning the United States government to its People.


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“It all started when…

After traveling throughout Ohio making my election documentary FREE FOR ALL!, I came to realize that our elections aren’t just about which names get selected on a ballot — it’s how those names even got on the ballot. Where many inspiring and qualified newcomers run for office to bring needed change, the barriers to getting the chance to make your case are overwhelming: approval of party leaders and insiders, reaching thousands of constituents, and money, money, money. A candidate’s ability to fundraise is how they are measured as viable from the beginning. Every form of getting your message out costs more–printing, postage, airtime, travel, staff. Instead of sharing ideas and amassing votes, candidates become beholden to amass cash.

And it doesn’t end once you’re in office — it only kicks in. The need to raise the fortune required for your re-election is hanging over you every day, and business interests with greater money at stake will gladly help fund that campaign somehow.

In helping people look at this ethical dilemma elected officials face daily, I hope that our country will realize the need to change how we choose our leaders. It comes down to the choices the candidates have to make. And if we can make that process a more level playing field, not only do we encourage better suited public servants, we get better leaders who use their power to help the public, not the richest donors.” — John Wellington Ennis


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