Nat Bates For Mayor tells the story of the outrageous 2014 mayor’s race in Richmond, home to the second largest refinery in California. In a brazen move, Chevron spent more than $3 million to back 83-year-old African American stalwart Nat Bates.
Bates makes a Faustian bargain with the city’s corporate behemoth in a cagey attempt to preserve the long-standing but waning power of Richmond’s African-American working class community, whose rich history dates back to the formation of the Kaiser shipyards during World War Two. It’s black against white. It’s pro-development forces against eco-friendly Progressives. It’s David versus Goliath. Is Nat Bates the savior or stooge? The movie is a wacky ride with some of the most entertaining and offbeat political characters you’ll ever meet.
The guerilla-style documentary (with extraordinary access) follows the candidates on the campaign trail, in revealing personal moments, and during the city’s audacious Jerry Springer-like city council meetings, as they lock in a battle for the mayor’s seat and the future of the Bay Area’s overlooked oil town.There are cameos by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and legendary civil rights leader Andrew Young. The documentary is a potent mix of corporate influence, race, gentrification, homophobia, political self-determination, and humor–all told through the lives of bigger-than-life small-town characters.