Democracy (based on the novel by Joan Didion)

A political romance (from novel to screenplay)

Project type: Fiction Feature
Project status: Development
Screenwriter/Producer: Carey McKenzie
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Against the dynamic political landscape that marked the end of the Vietnam War, Inez Victor navigates between her role as the wife of U.S. Senator Harry Victor and her enduring romance with Jack Lovett, a CIA agent and alleged war profiteer.


INEZ VICTOR (40) has come to view most occasions as photo opportunities. Her husband, SENATOR HARRY VICTOR (40s) has his sights set on the presidency. An ambitious journalist, SARAH (late 20s) is fascinated by Inez and her secretive friend, JACK LOVETT (late 50s).

A failed run for the 1972 presidential nomination exposes marital fault lines between Inez and Harry. Inez finds their daughter JESSIE (17) passed out from an overdose.

Harry’s advisor, BILL TANNER (45) tells Inez that her sister has been shot in Honolulu. The suspect is their renegade father. The other victim, the first Japanese American in
Congress, is dead. The shooter’s confused motives include racism. Bill is Black, channeling his thwarted ambitions into Harry Victor’s candidacy.

Bill travels with Inez to Honolulu, where he seeks to minimize the damage to Harry. Jack supports Inez while her sister is dying. Harry uses his influence to ensure that there is no criminal trial. The betrayal is more than Inez can bear.

Jessie runs away from rehab to Saigon. Inez flies with Jack as far as Hong Kong. It’s April 1975. Waiting for news from Saigon, Inez realizes that Americans are not exempt from history.

Jack Lovett finds Jessie and bundles her onto a flight out. Harry expects Inez to return, but she stays in Hong Kong, waiting for Jack. She hears nothing through the fall of Saigon. Jack arrives days later. He never dared to imagine that she’d still be there.

A scandal breaks about Inez Victor’s personal ties to an alleged arms dealer. Sarah successfully pitches a counter narrative. In Kuala Lumpur, Inez tells Sarah how Jack Lovett died of a heart attack. She wants Sarah to protect his public reputation. Sarah faces a choice between selling a sensationalist story, and her loyalty to Inez and the truth.

Meet the Filmmakers

Carey McKenzie – Screenwriter/Producer
Carey McKenzie is a screenwriter and director. She writes films and drama series of some scope, with an affinity for adaptation and works based on factual material.

Most recently she has written a an episode of Netflix WW2 refugee drama, Transatlantic for showrunner Anna Winger (Unorthodox).

Carey wrote and directed Netflix crime thriller Cold Harbour (2014) which opened the New York African Film Festival at Lincoln Center and African theatrical release.

In the documentary arena, Carey directed and wrote, Original Child Bomb (2004) a stylistically innovative art doc about the human cost of nuclear weapons which premiered at Tribeca, won the grand jury prize at Silverdocs, screened at MOMA and the Japan Society NYC and aired on the Sundance Channel.

Carey has a masters in English from Cambridge and an MFA in film from NYU Tisch, where she was awarded the Carl Lerner scholarship. She attended the Binger Film Lab in Amsterdam and has participated in residencies in Berlin and New York. She is a British citizen and longtime New Yorker, now living in Lisbon.

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