The Candidate

A Documentary by Helen Gaynor.


Dur:75 mins


Dir:Helen Gaynor

The Candidate is a feature length observational documentary by Helen Gaynor. It follows Greens candidate Alex Bhathal over the final three weeks of her campaign to win a seat in the Australian federal parliament in 2018. In this, her sixth attempt in fifteen years, and with a 1% margin between her and victory, she and her team have good reason to believe that history is finally on their side. But this is no ordinary campaign…

Alex Bhathal is no ordinary candidate. Since 2001, over sixteen years and five elections, she has represented the minority party of the Greens in the electorate where she has also raised her family. A social worker now in her mid fifties, her features reflect her Indian Sikh and Anglo Australian heritage. For her two teenage sons, mum has been the Greens candidate for the area their entire lives.

And this is no ordinary election campaign. The seat of Batman has been a Labor Party stronghold since its creation over eighty years ago. When Alex first ran in 2001, the Greens vote commanded just 4% of the vote. But Alex’s team has managed to build support to the point where the margin between the parties is now only 1%. It is considered the most marginal seat in the country. If Alex wins in this by-election, it will be a game changer for herself, her family, her party and possibly the balance of power in the national parliament.


Alex Bhathal


Director: Helen Gaynor

fan quotes:

I thought the Candidate was terrific. It’s the sort of social documentary that I really miss…Helen’s done a fabulous job. - Karen Altmann (Screenwriter)

The film is intriguing…I don’t think I’ve seen a film of someone who’s not a professional politician, without any guile, running for office. …as a film it constantly holds your interest..and the tension… The way Helen and Ian have cut it together, even if you know the outcome there’s a rising tension to it… - Michael Brindley (Screenwriter)

if you like psychological drama with an emotional wrench, it’s well worth a look.
The director says her film is an “up-close and personal portrait of electoral politics where the truth is stranger than fiction”. It is certainly personal and is hard to watch at times as the emotional strain on Ms Bhathal, under personal attacks from her own side and battling the mighty Labor campaigning machine, fills the screen. - Noel Towell (The Age newspaper)

People will find this a very fascinating film…The film itself is pretty extraordinary…We recommend you go and see The Candidate. - Annie McLoughlin (3CR Showreel)



current screenings