Schult had come to the United States to prepare shooting a documentary on the tea party movement that will be shown later this year on German and French television.
“Altogether, I went to about eight different states. I was looking for a smaller place to draw a picture of average Americans and how they are getting involved in politics,” Schult said Tuesday at a meeting of the Dalton Tea Party. “I was driving through the area. I was in Gainesville, Chattanooga, Nashville (Tenn.), and when I drove through Dalton I thought, ‘Wow, what a nice city.’”
She went on the Internet and found the site for the Dalton Tea Party and contacted its organizer, Naomi Swanson. Swanson met with her and showed her around town.
“Then she called me one day last week and she said, ‘I can’t get my mind off Dalton, Georgia,’” Swanson said.
What was it about Dalton that attracted Schult?
“I’m always thinking about pictures. My cameraman is always asking me to find spots where you can grasp a place visually,” she said. “I was driving through downtown Dalton, and I thought, ‘I get an idea of this place.’ You also have the Civil War history and so many different things you can find here.”
Schult plans to follow several Dalton Tea Party members around during the upcoming presidential primary season and throughout the summer and fall to learn more about them and the tea party.
“I haven’t started filming yet. My camera crew is coming over March 2. The plan is to start with the primary. I was looking at states that have their primary Super Tuesday (March 6). Then I will come back in April and May for six weeks, and then come back during the election in November,” she said.
Schult did a documentary in 2008 on Ramstein Air Force Base, the headquarters of the United States Air Forces in Europe, and spent several months on the base following U.S. service members as they returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“My father always wanted me and my brothers and my sister to spend some time in the United States or Canada,” she said. “It was very important to him because as a little boy his first impression of America was of American soldiers giving chewing gum to (him).”
Why does she want to make a film about the tea party?
“I first heard about the tea party about a year ago, maybe a year and a half, and I thought it was something very special,” she said. “The middle class is stepping up and wanting to change things. So I thought there is something going on in the states, and I wanted to be there during the election and see how the tea party is going to influence that. I can’t think of anything similar in Europe.”
Schult said a shorter version of the documentary, about 60 minutes, will be shown on German and French television before the November election and a longer version after the election.
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