Project Description

These are short documentaries and events to educate people of all ages about our government, from an inside view.  In each, you’ll see how government really works from the inside while witnessing the human story behind the process. We believe that in order to have the greatest effect on public policy and politics, you’ve got to educate before you can advocate. So through the personal frames of public servants, voters, and activists, our mission is to inform, educate, and engage people on how our government works and how to influence it with the least harm and highest good.

After eight years of public service, Senator Linda Newell termed out of the Colorado State Senate and has returned to her original profession as a creative by producing short documentaries and events to educate people of all ages about our government, from an inside view.  Currently earning her Master’s in Social Justice and Ethics from Iliff School of Theology at the University of Denver, she is now using her privilege and former position to assist incurious and critical civic engagement projects for a more thoughtful, empathic, and inclusive society.

The Last Bill, a Senator’s Story

In her last session, Senator Newell filmed this short behind-the-scenes documentary of a senator’s real-life story carrying bills through the legislature. Here, we see from an insider’s perspective on how difficult it can be to turn a bill into law.  As we follow Senator Newell (D), joined by Senator Kevin Lundberg (R), through the process, she works her bills of suicide prevention and intentional misrepresentation of service animals, being challenged from across the aisle, attempting bipartisanship, all with a bit of humor and fortitude.

Trailer on YouTube

The Executive Branch (working title)

What does a Governor do? Where do they work, and how do they do their jobs? What is it like personally to live the life of a public figure in a fishbowl for all to see and judge while doing the job? We follow the Colorado Governor and Lt. Governor in their chambers at the state Capitol and across the state. Through interviews and real-life behind-the-scenes coverage, the film will attempt to discover the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of leading a state government.

Inside Civics Mission, Operations, and Vision

It is our mission to have all our civic education films available to every classroom, campus, library, and home across the state, and perhaps nation. Due to the majority of people (and curriculum) focusing on the Federal government, our series starts where people know the least: the state-level three branches of government and then will pursue to cover municipal, county, and some Federal infrastructure and policymaking, as well as timely citizen engagement and advocacy.  Akin to the days of Schoolhouse Rock, Inside Civics hopes to produce short and mini projects with a blend of humor and salient content following a human story for people of all ages to enjoy while they learn.

To bring government alive in person, each film is intended to be 27 minutes or less to fit into a classroom period or public program to allow for discussion and Q&A time with local elected officials in person. Where appropriate, we also provide a member(s) of the film crew to discuss the filmmaking process itself. Also in the project plans are mini video clips for easily accessible social media and news promotion.

Why now?

  • Congress and state officials’ ratings are at an all-time low— there is a poor perception of both government and elected public servants, ranging from apathy to hostility.
  • Most public servants have witnessed citizens’ lack of knowledge about government; the role, the process, and positions. The 2016 election cycle also demonstrated the need for voters to be educated factually, and for people to better understand others living outside their own “bubble.”  What better way to do that than to show them from an inside view?
  • In order for our democracy to survive, now is the time to educate about our government and advocate for ALL the people within our democratic republic. “Gotta educate before you can advocate.”
  • The demand for content is at an all-time high – for television, web, social media, and classrooms.

“If something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night.”  2012

Honorable David Souter, Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice

We collaborate with the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media, Denver Film Society, Colorado Film School, and Indie Denver Media Productions.  Director, Aaron Koehler; Producer, Linda Newell; Editor, Matt Baxter, Associate Producer/Music Supervisor/Composer, Brittany Wolfe and Composer, Gary Weir

Promotion and Distribution of Films:

  • As with The Last Bill, a Senator’s Story, we will start with a trailer teasing the premiere at a local theatre or Sie Film Center using promotions on social media, press releases, articles, and interviews. It is our intention to get some BTS shots and interviews for further promotional opportunities as well.
  • We will also have screenings with targeted audiences with Q&A sessions about the filmmaking or the executive branch roles, etc.  These will be at various locations including schools, universities, libraries, festivals (as appropriate), and community organizations. When possible, we will invite the Governor or executive branch staff members to join us for the Q&A sessions.
  • The distribution goal is to get in front of as many Coloradans as possible of varying demographics and geographies. The Last Bill has been approved with RMPBS to be aired on their PBS station, and then we’ll be also working with KBDI. As relevant, we may also eventually look for possible airing of some of our films on additional regional or national PBS networks.
  • Alongside the mini-documentary, we will provide teachers, professors, and community leaders with a companion curriculum/discussion guide appropriate for their age levels.
  • The film will be available for online streaming and DVD sales. For libraries and those areas without strong enough bandwidth, we will have DVDs available as well.

Current Financial Needs

The Last Bill, a Senator’s Story—funding for instructional design and content development for state-aligned curriculum guide for teachers and streaming and DVD distribution in libraries and on campuses.

The Executive Branch—completion of shooting and post-production funding.

Next on tap, will be plans for The Judiciary (working title), following the lives of elected Judges and appointed Justices.

Affectionately called the Colorado Leslie Knope, you can find numerous binders of project ideas for the common good with Linda Newell’s team.



Fiscal Sponsorship Donation

  • American Express