SXSW Online 2021 Review - Kid Candidate
(Photo Credit: Homero Salinas)

Directed by: Jasmine Stodel (debut)

After a “Tim and Eric”/”Adult Swim” style joke campaign video goes viral, Amarillo-based musician Hayden Pedigo decides to make an actual run for City Council in the documentary “Kid Candidate.”

The documentary follows Pedigo from the creation of a silly absurdist joke video into igniting a real passion to turn things around in his hometown of Amarillo. As a representation of Texas politics, “Kid Candidate” accurately depicts some big issues, shining a light on voter suppression and PACs that not only keep the wealthiest in charge by throwing big money into small campaigns, but then governing in their own best interests.

As a documentary subject, Pedigo is funny and quietly charming, though certainly not without the troubles of insecurities and self doubts. The best moments of the film are when Pedigo becomes impassioned by fighting for those in his town who deserve a voice and to inspire people to stay in Amarillo rather than leave the first chance they get. Through the process, Pedigo finds a strong group of supporters and legitimately surprises people by delivering composed and informed speeches.

While the film itself might be a little breezy and slight, there’s a level of sincerity that emerges and ultimately shines through. While the younger generation may have previously been accused of not caring about their futures or taking things seriously, (even to the point of say, making a dumb viral video saying you’re running for City Council), “Kid Candidate” reinforces the notion that we are in the middle of an uprising of young people who want their voices to be heard and for the system to be shaken up. If more people like Hayden Pedigo are ignited, that may just happen.

Grade: B-

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