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Blu-Ray : Recommended
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Release Date: October 26th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2019

Kid Candidate

Overview -

Kid Candidate is an inspiring 2021 documentary about a bank employee named Hayden Pedigo whose bizarre viral video motivated him to run for city council in Amarillo, Texas. When he began seeing the marginalized groups of his hometown support his grassroots campaign and vision critics panned his efforts as attention grabbing satire. The Blu-ray from Gunpowder & Sky provides an excellent A/V package and plenty of bonus features for inspired fans of the film. Recommended.

You can order from the Amazon link above - or direct from Vinegar Syndrome HERE

In a time when young Americans increasingly feel cut off from politics and traditional institutions, Hayden Pedigo, a 24 year-old artist and musician in Amarillo, TX makes an unorthodox run for city council.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
English SDH
Special Features:
• Bonus Footage (Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel)
Release Date:
October 26th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


“He really believes that Facebook is reality.”

Kid Candidate is the story of Hayden Pedigo who used his unexpected viral fame to catapult himself into a serious political position. When a funny video of him seeing how Amarillo “measured up” to other cities was posted on Facebook it spread like wildfire to Reddit and eventually Adult Swim with many adoring fans wondering if he was serious about a political run. When Hayden saw the amount of support rolling in he decided to follow his dream of making Amarillo a better town. By focusing on marginalized groups, ignored neighborhoods, and the spending in politics, he gained followers through a grassroots campaign. While many dismissed him as creating satire rather than real action, Hayden surprised many people including himself at the power and inspiration through just putting yourself out there.   

Throughout the feature, we’re introduced to many of his supporters and campaign workers. Whether involved through personal connections or just seeing his weird videos, these disenfranchised people speak out about how underrepresented they are and reveal how their lives need change. Just by acknowledging the issues too uncomfortable for the mostly conservative politicians, Hayden is able to reach out in ways that the established politicians can’t. What other well-funded elite is going to stay up all night to speak to the South Sudanese community?

The film surprisingly gains access and conducts interviews with many key officials like Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson which keeps the film from heavy bias. However, their contributions to the film inadvertently reveal the issues brought up by those who face economic challenges in the city. A prime example shown is the closure of a swimming pool complex in a run-down neighborhood due to a lack of funds for repair before $4 million is suddenly allocated for a new stadium scoreboard. 

Self-doubt rears its ugly head as missteps combine with Hayden's inability to keep up with candidates who are supported by a six-figure PAC fund. The psychological damage from his dysfunctional family coupled with mixed messages from his “mentor” Jeff Blackburn fuel a burn-out near election day. In trying to listen to all parties across the spectrum Hayden spreads himself thin and begins to question everything.   

At 67 minutes Kid Candidate is a lean story that takes us through Pedigo’s journey without too much filler. Without delay, the film utilizes Hayden’s videos and personal moments of emotional connection to highlight the disparity in Amarillo and establish the progressive message of our “kid candidate”. Director Jasmine Stodel adds a layer of subtext here about the manipulating power of viral fame in an arena where most of the big players can barely send a Tweet on their own. Hayden represents a generation of Millennials (and late Gen-Xers) who sincerely want political reform and feel unrepresented in their communities. 

What works well is how effectively the film nails down the barriers Hayden encounters by giving equal voice to his critics. While his political career started as a bizarre joke he is never treated like one even when rubbing elbows with elite officials. Ultimately Kid Candidate is an optimistic film meant to inspire involvement in local elections and provide a sensible dose of reality for those who seek viral fame. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Kid Candidate arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Gunpowder & Sky through Vinegar Syndrome’s distribution arm OCN. The film is pressed onto a Region A BD-25 disc and housed in a transparent case with reversible artwork. Loading the disc offers the awesome Gunpowder & Sky logo animation before landing on the static Main Menu screen with typical navigation options. 

Video Review


With an AVC encoded 1080p HD image in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio Kid Candidate looks great on Blu-ray. We’re treated to a crisp and bright transfer that offers plenty of fine detail in clothing and facial textures. Primaries are bright and vivid with distinct greens and reds throughout the feature. Blacks are deep with detail in shadow even in low light settings. Outdoor scenes offer pleasing contrast levels while avoiding overexposure in the bright Texas sunlight. The film offers a mix of handheld camera work combined with in-place interview segments and the VHS-styled videos from Hayden giving the film an interesting blend of visual styles. 

Audio Review


Kid Candidate arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio mix that is both heavy and pronounced. Music tracks are bombastic and breathe lifeblood into this documentary. Dialogue exchanges are clear and clean without hiss or pop detected even when we’re treated to the lo-fi videos from Hayden’s filmmaking crew. Surrounds are given plenty of work with music cues and atmospherics constantly filling the rear channels. Music provided in the film is from Hayden and other Amarillo-based musicians. For a small documentary, this audio mix was an exciting element that never disappointed.  

Special Features


Gunpowder & Sky provides plenty for fans of the film with the audio commentary being the best place to start. 

  • Audio Commentary with director Jasmine Stodel and Hayden Pedigo
  • Oak Cliff Film Festival Q&A (HD 10:54) Hayden and director Jasmine Stodel take questions after a screening of the film. 
  • Deleted Scenes 
    • Hayden's First Forum (HD 4:03)
    • Hayden on the Mayor and City Government (HD 0:44)
    • Culture Clash (HD 6:25)
    • Marijuana Fight (HD 7:21) 
    • Cole on Hayden: SXSW 2019 (HD 2:31) 
    • Hayden and Jasmine Door-to-Door Fail (HD 2:13)
    • Six Car Rally for Hayden (HD 2:27)
    • Hayden on Election Results (HD 4:37)
    • Hayden and L'Hannah's Closing Words (HD 1:13)
    • Jeff-Isms (HD 4:34) A montage of attorney Jeff Blackburn speaking off the cuff to hilarious results. 

Final Thoughts

Kid Candidate is an uplifting documentary that focuses on the immediate effects of local elections through the actions of an inexperienced yet ambitious candidate. This portrait of an average guy channeling his art into action is an inspiring document for those who want to feel represented both as a young person and as a citizen. The film never becomes a devout follower of Hayden’s agenda, but it does an excellent job of framing the conflicts and disparity facing Amarillo’s citizens. Gunpowder & Sky’s Blu-ray offers an excellent A/V package and plenty of bonus features for fans of the film. Recommended.  

You can order from the Amazon link above - or direct from Vinegar Syndrome HERE