As we race toward the most tumultuous Presidential election in memory, along comes a vibrant film documenting the often opaque efforts at voter suppression. Much like the stunning “13th” set forth a compelling and chilling history, “ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY” delivers insights in an undeniably powerful way.

Compelling and rarely seen historical footage is used throughout; especially gripping is the 1965 footage from Selma of the blatant institutional prevention of voter registrations and the breathtaking Sunday march led by the recently-deceased John Lewis.

Leaping back and forth in time, the film extracts clips from DW Griffith’s 1915 “Birth of a Nation,” pointing out how it painted a picture that fogged the reality for decades to come.  Stacey Abrams then speaks as a junior in college at a huge DC march and hers is the voice through which voting history unfolds. She is the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States, and is the founder of Fair Fight Action, the nation’s premier organization battling voter suppression.

One story told is about Maceo Snipes, a WW2 veteran who faced a warning to all blacks against voting, and consequently was the only black in his Georgia county to vote. He was shot down by four whites on his porch several days later.

After Selma, LBJ stepped up and away from past systemic voter suppression, passing the Voting Rights Act. Black voter registration went from single digits to over 50%.

William Rehnquist, before becoming Supreme Court Justice, led blatantly illegal voter literacy tests in Maricopa County, Arizona. That becomes a segue to ongoing efforts to suppress votes. Rehnquist was mentor to Justice John Roberts, who led the majority in the recent Shelby County case to roll back many of the protections of the Voting Rights Act. Myriad new voting laws have lately spread across the states, restricting access to the polls.

The film is directed by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lisa Cortés, and it is produced by Garbus, Cortés, Academy Award-winning producer Dan Cogan and Stacey Abrams. Amazon Studios acquired worldwide rights to  “ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY” from production company Story Syndicate.

It is hard to fathom anyone who believes in democracy, regardless of their political stripes, not being moved by “ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY.

Trailer available here.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.