BEST FILM - 2004
What America Needs
It had to happen eventually, and now it has. A major Hollywood studio has announced plans to release a documentary "celebration of a nation told through the voices of its people" (including John Mellencamp singing "The World Don't Bother Me None"), directed by an unknown who "packed up his camera and hit the road, making it his mission to meet some ordinary Americans with extraordinary stories." But Twin Cities-based filmmaker Mark Wojahn did it first, traveling by train, motor home, and car from New York to Los Angeles, his trusty digital-video camera in tow, to ask more than 500 people: What do you think America needs? The film's refreshing just-folks vibe is accentuated by Wojahn's jittery videography, rendered with a consumer-model camcorder. His is a film that's unprofessional--and unpretentious--in the best way.