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Citizen Sam

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It’s bedtime, and Sam Sullivan parks his wheelchair just so. He leans gently forward, then falls over in a carefully choreographed drop onto his bed. Wrestling his body out of his clothes, he struggles to position himself. An hour later, comfortable at last, he speed-dials his campaign manager to review the day.

Sam is running for mayor.

Sam Sullivan was a local curiosity, the quadriplegic city councillor in a pinstripe suit, with a pipe dream of leading his shattered right-wing party back to power. Citizen Sam goes deep inside Sullivan's mayoral campaign to tell the remarkable story behind his rise from obscurity.

As the campaign begins, Sullivan admits to giving addicts money to buy crack and heroin. His opponents call him a do-nothing politician and a nut. The media write him off while everyone tiptoes around the issue of his disability.

6 am. Sam is back on the phone, going over the day's schedule while he reverses the previous night's routine, into fresh clothes and then a precarious move from bed to chair. His partner, Lynn, adjusts his tie and leads him out the door to his first appointment, a radio debate.

With unprecedented access, director Joe Moulins blends the rough and tumble of the campaign with intimate moments from Sullivan's daily life. A brutally frank and funny video diary counts down the days to the election. From war room to bedroom, Citizen Sam is an unflinching portrait of the one-of-a-kind politician who has become the face of Vancouver on the international stage.

2006, 79 min 58 s