Series 7: The Contenders (The Lottery)


Five government issued social security numbers are randomly selected in a televised lottery drawing. The chosen are notified, and at that moment the course of their lives are forever changes, as they become contenders on a reality television program called THE LOTTERY.

The contenders are best described as:
1) Tony, an unemployed asbestos removal worker, who tried to escape
2) Connie, a health-care worker who believes her faith will see her through
3) Dawn, the reigning contender from the previous program, who is eight months pregnant, and searching for surrogate parents for her unborn child
4) Kelli, nineteen, who lives at home with her parents and works at "The Limited" store in the mall
5) Murphy, a solitary seventy year old man, using his last breath of life to do combat
6) Jeff, a thirty-three year old man with AIDS, who is boycotting The Lottery as a means of passive suicide.

The film moves freely between The Lottery television show and the reality it's supposed to represent. However, the main drama of The Lottery takes place when the TV cameras are turned off. These behind-the-scenes sequences show what happens to regular people forced into extraordinary situations; plotting to kill strangers, and preparing for their own deaths. They also reveal the complex relationships that develop between the contenders and the camera crews who accompany them everywhere. Their stories are tragic, unremarkable, darkly comic, and banal.

THE LOTTERY might be an ironic illustration of the idea that television incites violence, and it has elements of black comedy, but it's decidedly not a parody.

THE LOTTERY does not take place in the near or distant future. It happens in the here and now, in real locations; a suburban housing development, a grocery store parking lot, a cash machine vestibule. THE LOTTERY doesn't explain itself, its origins, or the reason for the killings. It doesn't take a melodramatic or moralistic approach; the story tells itself.

As the TV show's tag line says: "There's three things you can't avoid in life, death, taxes, and The Lottery."


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