Watch the “Common Grounds” Trailer – A Student Film Exploring Political Differences

Group of people sitting in metal chairs talking to each other with bright lights for filming

In the documentary, a group of six UVA students with different political views, from conservative to liberal, came together for a candid discussion. (Image: UVA Center for Politics)

The University of Virginia Center for Politics has released a trailer for its latest documentary, “Common Grounds,” produced by student interns to explore political differences at UVA.

In the documentary, students interview classmates with a wide range of political perspectives, from staunchly conservative to very liberal. Their hope, student organizers said, is to foster productive debate and discussion, even if participants will never entirely agree.

“Our idea was to have people do individual interviews, sharing their honest opinions on free speech, civility, ‘cancel culture’ and similar topics, and then get them together in a group to see if they could talk it out and have a good conversation,” third-year foreign affairs student Raed Gilliam told UVA Today earlier this month, after students painted Beta Bridge with a message, “There is common ground on our Grounds.”

The trailer starts with footage from the August 2017 Unite the Right riots, when far-right extremist groups descended on UVA and Charlottesville, a violent two days that left one woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, dead, after a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. The events turned the nation’s attention to Charlottesville, and shaped the political climate for students arriving on Grounds.

In subsequent clips, students talk about their political opinions and personal experiences of the political climate at UVA. As the trailer ends, six of them walk into one room, ready for a candid conversation. To find out what comes next, you will have to wait for the full documentary, to be released later this summer.

For more information on the Common Grounds project and the students behind it, see our earlier story.