‘Boys State’ shows what happens when teens create political parties, choose leaders and enact laws

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René Otero in “Boys State.” Photo courtesy of Apple TV+.

Every June, 1000 incoming high school seniors are picked to participate in a program that lets them create their own political parties and platforms from scratch. The American Legion puts on “Boys State and Girls State” in 49 states each year. 

The high schoolers are randomly divided into two political parties. They have to develop a platform, run for office, and compete to get their ideas passed through the government they’ve created.

Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine made a documentary about the process. In “Boys State,” they follow four kids at Texas’ 2018 Boys State event. 

The film won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film is now out on Apple TV+. 

Credits

Guests:
Jesse Moss - director and producer, Amanda McBaine - director and producer

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Caleigh Wells