As It Happens

New documentary 'The Drop' asks why young people don't vote

The film follows 23-year-old Dylan Playfair across North America as he tries to find out why fewer young people are voting. The doc premiers on September 16, in Vancouver.
Actor/filmmaker Dylan Playfair on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Kensington Communications)

Documentary film director Kyle McCachen says his latest film project "awakened" him. And he hopes it will help inspire others to get involved in the political process.

McCachen's film, The Drop: Why Young People Don't Vote, follows actor and filmmaker Dylan Playfair as he travels North America trying to understand voter apathy among the Millennial generation.

As McCachen tells As it Happens host Carol Off, there are a lot of reasons why young people don't vote.

"So many of them were dissatisfied with the political process and perhaps think that they didn't have anything offer, that they couldn't change anything. A lot of people also thought that they didn't have enough information and that they shouldn't vote," says McCachen.

But, says McCachen, he found that despite their unwillingness to vote, all of them were willing to talk further about politics.

When asked if clicktivism is behind apathy among young voters, with tweeting being easier than voting, McCachen says there is more to it than that.

"They're not hearing or seeing the political figures make effort to try and engage them in those platforms that [young people] are used to using."

McCachen found inspiration in Ferguson, Missouri, where, amid the unrest, a group called Hands Up United taught local citizens the coding language HTML, so that they could create their own websites and get their message out online. 

Ferguson youth activist Maalik Shakoor with filmmaker Dylan Playfair. (Kensington Communications)

He says he was also inspired by Maalik Shakoor, a Ferguson activist who helped young people to become politically involved after the police shooting of Michael Brown.

"People thought, 'No, things can be better. We can do something to start spreading this message.' And using the media and using the new tools that we have today, which is really exciting, to me, I have hope that we can make things better."

McCachen says he was also inspired by 19-year-old Morgan Baskin who ran for mayor of Toronto in 2014.

The filmmakers behind the documentary "The Drop" were impressed by student Morgan Baskin, who ran for mayor of Toronto. (Kensington Communications)

"She wanted to confront the fact that most politicians are old and men, and she was an inspiration. She made us aware that young people do have issues that they care about; careers and not just jobs, environmental protection while maintaining an economy, all these things are really important to young people."

After spending the last two years making the film, McCachen says he was inspired to vote.

"It shocked me. It woke me up. And that was a fantastic realization to recognize that I myself had been taking something for granted."

The Drop: Why Young People Don't Vote will be broadcast on TVO on October 5th at 9pm, and on CPAC on October 11th at 11pm ET.