Experiencing Interruptions?

The Honorable Ellie Kinnaird

82-year-old rock star politician Ellie Kinnaird blazes the trail in politics for women in the South. This portrait follows the North Carolina State Senator as she courageously fights the radical agenda of the ultra-conservative majority during her final tumultuous year in office.

This biographical profile recounts the remarkable journey of Ellie Kinnaird: from conventional Midwestern 1930's upbringing and life as a 1950's suburban housewife and mother; to esteemed, nationally recognized political progressive in the South. Empowered by the 1970s women's movement, Kinnaird became a prominent attorney and a courageous, outspoken advocate for social justice, the environment, education and campaign finance reform. She served four terms as mayor of Carrboro, NC and eight terms as a North Carolina state senator representing the 23rd District. The documentary follows her in 2013 -- in what would become her final, tumultuous year in public office. Kinnaird resigned her senate seat in protest to the extreme conservative agenda and to fight from the outside to transform the NC Voter ID law.

  • Martha J Moore
  • Martha J. Moore
  • Ellie Kinnaird
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 5, 2013
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    HD Digital
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • AliceFest
    Durham, NC
    March 9, 2014
  • Carrboro Film Festival
    Carrboro, NC
    November 23, 2014
  • Cucalorus Film Festival
    Wilmington, NC
    November 14, 2015
  • filmSPARKcon
    Raleigh, NC
    September 19, 2015
    Best Documentary
  • LA Femme Film Festival
    Beverly Hills, CA
    October 17, 2015
  • WIFTA Film Series
    Atlanta, GA
    September 15, 2015
  • New Haven International Film Festival
    New Haven, CT
    November 14, 2015
  • CTFilmFestival52
    Bethel, CT
    December 9, 2015
  • Eastern North Carolina Film Festival
    Pitt Community College, Winterville, NC
    April 30, 2016
Director Biography - Martha J Moore

Martha Moore champions the stories of people and organizations working for a better world. She lives in Burnsville, NC.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The arc of a woman’s life reflects the culture of that time.

A few years ago, I moved back to my home state of North Carolina to be closer to my elderly mother who lives in a retirement community in Chapel Hill. I soon became intrigued with the incredible women who lived there. These women were in their 80s and 90s and they had created wonderfully interesting and accomplished lives BEFORE the Women’s Movement. HOW did they do that??

About this time, I heard then-81-year-old NC State Senator Ellie Kinnaird give a speech about the balancing perspective and energy women bring to governance and the importance of encouraging women to run for political office. It resonated with my understanding of women’s empowerment — finding your voice and using it — and I realized I had found the subject for my next documentary. In documenting Senator Kinnaird’s story, I could inform younger women about the contributions of the women of this pioneering generation.

Ellie was born in the early 1930s, was college-educated, came of age in the 50’s, and became a suburban housewife and mother. Then the Women’s Movement happened and she reinvented herself. She went to law school when she was in her 50s while she was mayor of Carrboro, established a law practice, and then went on to serve 16 years in the NC Senate.

Fortunately for me, Ellie believed it important for young women to know the stories of the women who went before them and graciously agreed to my filming her.

The timing was wonderfully fortuitous for me as a filmmaker but not so much for the state of North Carolina. After Republican Gov. Pat McCrory took office in January 2013, the Republican Party had complete control over the Legislature and aggressively pursued its extreme conservative agenda including voter suppression, shutting down abortion clinics, shifting the tax burden onto poor people, and allowing firearms into bars.

The film documents the beginnings of the grassroots uprising, Moral Mondays, Ellie’s part in the Shariah debate, and her eventual resignation that garnered national attention. It was her final year in public office.

My hope for the takeaway: we need more stories in the media of women role models; our country and world benefit when women find their voices and use them -- that’s empowerment; our government needs the gifts women bring -- the balancing feminine energy and perspective; we need to honor the stories and contributions of the women who went before us.

~ Martha J. Moore