THE CANDIDATE - Political Film Festival


Cinema Arts Centre - Cinema 1 Fri, Jul 12 7:00 PM


Political Film Festival

Film Screening & Discussion

Robert Redford in

35mm screening!

Guest Speaker: Rep. Steve Israel & Basil Smikle, political strategist and policy advisor

Friday, July 12 at 7pm

$16 Public | $10 Members

This timely portrait follows the fictional senate campaign of Bill McKay (Robert Redford), a young, passionate, and photogenic progressive who believes in “A Better Way.” Shot on location with political correspondents playing themselves and real politicians interacting with Redford’s fictional campaign, The Candidate feels more like a political documentary than a fictional film. Acting as a condemnation of the media’s role in the careful cultivation of politicians’ images, The Candidate depicts the transformation of idealism turned political doublespeak. Michael Ritchie’s witty and thought-provoking tale is more than just a history lesson. It’s a warning about the nature of political campaigning that’s still relevant to this day, and its premonitions about the rise of celebrity candidacy is scarily predictive. Some older films feature politics that are out of touch, but fifty years after its initial theatrical release, The Candidate is suited perfectly for today. (USA, 1972, 110 min., color, 35mm)


Dr. Basil Smikle Jr. has been political strategist and policy advisor for almost 20 years with local, national and international experience. He lectures at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Teachers College and was most recently the Distinguished Lecturer of Politics and Public Policy at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. He holds a PhD in Politics and Education and an MPA from Columbia University, and received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. A familiar face on MSNBC, CNN, NY1 and other media outlets, frequent appearances highlight his insight and research in electoral politics, governance, urban education policy and public policy analysis. In 2015, Basil was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Former Governor David Paterson to serve as the Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party where he was the “second highest ranking Democrat” in the State.  Basil worked closely with elected officials and community leaders to manage electoral and fundraising strategies for the State. He recruited candidates for political office and worked closely with the Democratic National Committee to create grassroots mobilization programs and act as a Party surrogate during the 2016 cycle. Under Basil’s leadership, Democrats flipped county legislatures, and county-wide seats - laying the foundation for returning the State Senate to full Democratic control in 2018 and flipping three Congressional seats. He received awards from Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for his commitment to public service and education equity.  The L.A. Times considered him part of “Harlem’s New Political Elite”.  United States Senator Cory Booker called him a "much sought-after consultant”. Former Governor David Paterson noted that Basil is a “national caliber political operative” Basil was a senior aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton on her Senate staff where he Advised Senator Clinton on state-wide policy and politics. Mrs. Clinton called Basil a “key advisor and tremendous public servant...who makes sure all voices are heard.” A life-long New Yorker and raised in the Bronx by Jamaican immigrants, he is inspired by his father, a retired textile worker, and mother, a long-time public school special education teacher.  Basil is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons, and 100 Black Men of New York where he helped start the Eagle Academy in the Bronx which has grown to 6 schools in New York and New Jersey. He is also a founding Board Member of the Harlem Hebrew Academy Charter School and sits on the Board of the NYC Center for Charter Excellence.


Former Congressman Steve Israel left Capitol Hill – unindicted and undefeated – to pursue a career as a writer. In addition to writing two critically acclaimed satires of Washington, he now owns Theodore's Books, an independent bookstore in Oyster Bay. He also heads the non-partisan Cornell University Institute of Politics and Global Affairswhere for several years he taught a course on "Politics, Media & Popular Culture." Israel was a Member of Congress for sixteen years. He left in 2017, having served as House Democrats chief political strategist between 2011-2015 as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. President Bill Clinton called him “one of the most thoughtful Members of Congress.” Which, Israel states, isn’t really saying much at all. Israel is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC. His insights appear regularly in the New York TimesThe Atlantic Magazine, as well as The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. He was profiled on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and appeared on CBS’ Sixty Minutes.