Politics in the tomato capitol ripe for the big screen in 'Tomato Republic'

Friday, March 28, 2014 - 6:48pm

The city of Jacksonville makes its debut on the silver screen through a new documentary, "Tomato Republic". The hour-long movie focuses on hometown politics through the city's 2013 mayoral race.

The candidates were 73-year-old incumbent Kenneth Melvin, who was challenged by 44-year-old Rob Gowin and 23-year-old William Igbokwe. The political race ended with Kenneth Melvin winning the candidacy. KETK spoke with the Director and Producer of the "Tomato Republic", Whitney Graham Carter, who said,  "It was the first time we had had a three candidate race since 1977, so only the second time in history. All of the candidates were a vast range of experience levels, ages, and backgrounds" .

"Tomato Republic" focuses on the candidates, and depicts the endearing aspects of life in a small town. Rob Gowin, owner of the restaurant "Sadler's", said he chose to run for Mayor because, "You know the constant, 'We need to do this', or, 'What happens if we tried this'. It was just time for someone to step forward. For whatever reason on that day, I decided it would be me". So the movie enables Gowin to reflect on his campaign, and even dives a little deeper. Gowin said, "The first time I saw it I literally was laughing and sobbing uncontrollably at the same time". Particularly when the film introduces Gowin's cousin. Gowin said, "Kirk Sadler has Down Syndrome, and I promptly made him my campaign manager".

With a political backdrop, "Tomato Republic" captures the sweet spirit of Jacksonville. Carter said, "This is a real bird's eye view into what it's like to live in a small town. How wonderful it is, how quirky it is".

The film will be making its world debut at the Dallas Film Festival on April 7, 2014, at the Angelika Film Center. It will air at 7:15 p.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. on April 10, 2014. If you would like to see the trailer for the movie, click: http://pandrproductions.com/tomato-republic/ .

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