About the Film
From a cramped Chinatown apartment shared with three roommates, political outsider and passionate progressive Paul Newell draws up a plan to make his first run for public office — to take on the most powerful politician in New York State, Assembly Speaker Sheldon "Shelly" Silver. Defeating the Speaker, who hasn't been challenged in 22 years as a lower Manhattan assemblyman, would send shock waves through a notoriously dysfunctional Albany.
With Silver's iron grip on power, Newell's disorganized start and the appearance of a shifty third candidate, unseating the Speaker seems at first impossible. But when Newell taps into a growing frustration with broken government and astonishingly wins the endorsement of all three New York dailies, he finds the energy, attention and money to run full speed and perhaps even bring long-sought reform to his state.
Excuse Me, Mr. Speaker… closely follows Newell from the tiny office beneath his loft bed to the streets of lower Manhattan in this humorous, warts-and-all portrait of a patchwork, grassroots campaign.
"Engrossing from the beginning until all the votes are counted" — Joseph Walker, City Hall
"Interesting, poignant, funny… Almost complete access to the scrappy, unconventional and, at times, absurd campaign" — Ed Litvak, The Lo-Down
About the Filmmaker
Justin Sullivan is an award-winning documentarian whose previous work has included Pip and Big Blue — The NYC Handball Documentary. A native New Yorker, he was a staff reporter at The Hour and The New Haven Registerbefore making documentaries.