OCCUPY THE CINEMAS Day of Action: March 2, 2012

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by Anthony Kaufman
February 15, 2012 1:19 PM
7 Comments
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Hey you, film-lovers, filmmakers and film fans:
 
Are you ready to make a statement about the movies you want?
 
Are you ready to take a stand and tell the powers that be that you want a free Internet and more fair copyright provisions?
 
Are you ready to join the Occupy Movement and "reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations"?

Inspired by Occupy Portland's February 29 "Shut Down the Corporations" Day of Action, we call on people to Occupy the Cinemas on Friday, March 2nd, and show Hollywood and the Motion Picture Association of America that you are AGAINST its lobbying for draconian anti-Piracy legislation (i.e. SOPA); its restrictive, secretive and double-standard Ratings system; its monopolization of world movie markets and suppression of independent cinemas; and its massive, manipulative advertising machine that forces movies down our throats:
 
On Friday, March 2nd, boycott Hollywood "product" and support a non-corporate film instead.
 
By supporting Hollywood films, we are feeding the conglomerates that are trying to restrict our freedoms; by consuming their entertainments, we are paying the bills of the lawyers who trying to limit the freedoms of the Internet and fair use. Let's not follow along like lemmings. Let's fight back.
 
In the original Occupy Wall Street Adbusters blog post, there is a quote from Raimundo Viejo, from Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University. Here it is again as a potent reminder of the power of the people—and the consumer:
 
"The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."
 
How many of us go out to the movies during a single Friday in America, and how many of us spend our dollars on movies that are fed to us as what to see rather than what we want to see?
 
Think of the difference we can make if we all band together, if we mobilize our friends, parents, grandparents, kids, uncles, aunts, babysitters, teachers, waiters, bartenders, baristas to avoid the March 2nd new Hollywood releases "The Lorax" and "Project X" and see any number of non-corporate films that will be out in theaters that Friday: Jafar Panahi's "This Is Not A Film," Taika Waititi's "Boy," Bruno Romy's "The Fairy," Murat Duzgunoglu's "The Salt of Life," Lise Birk Pedersen's "Putin's Kiss," Joshua Marston's "The Forgiveness of Blood," Oren Moverman's "Rampart," and Bela Tarr's "The Turin Horse," among others. We can tell the massive conglomerates that we, the consumers, are in control and we don't agree with their efforts to restrict what sorts of films we want to see and where we want to see them.
 
On March 2nd, we want to see tens of thousands of people flooding into art-houses and independent movie theaters across the country, abandoning cineplexes, supporting their local communities, and saying no to corporate entertainment.
 
In the words of OWS: "It's time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we're doomed without it."

Spread the Word. Tell your friends. Make the Pledge and Sign the Petition. March 2nd is the night we move towards a more democratic cinema.
 
This Day of Action is inspired by:
 
Shut Down the Corporations Day:
http://www.shutdownthecorporations.org/?page_id=30
 
Brian Newman's original blog post, 12 Things On My Mind for 2012:
http://www.sub-genre.com/post/15348338530/twelve-things-on-my-mind-for-2012
 

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7 Comments

  • Anthony | February 17, 2012 9:12 AMReply

    To clarify a couple points to those with questions or doubts about this day of action:
    1. We're not saying that fighting piracy is not legitimate, but the policies the MPAA are pursuing are so overboard that it harms other creative endeavors and the overall health of the future of media. And yes, a protest might harms others, but we are at least mitigating that by giving people other positive alternatives (see an indie film) and it is for one weekend only, not a law that lasts forever. As Brian Newman told me, "The fight they are waging isn't about piracy though, but control, to be honest. Many, many studies dispute the claims that piracy is a big problem, but even if we concede that it is, they are pursuing policy that impacts all creativity and entrepreneurship more than piracy does."
    2. If the protest hurts big corporate chain multiplexes, so be it. They are complicit in various ways in terms of limiting choice and censorship, the least of which is their decision not to show MPAA-rated NC-17 films.

  • B.J. | February 16, 2012 11:14 AMReply

    SOPA might have been too inclusive, but there needs to be tougher laws against MOVIE THEFT! Do you support piracy that steals a few billion dollars a year from production companies with gaffers and caterers, actors and writers as well as studios, large and small and Mom and Pop theatres and chains too!

  • gary | February 15, 2012 7:51 PMReply

    Our concern should be the pirating of any art work no matter who made it. The studios make a lot of junk and a few good films each year. But that corporate structure helps support the existence of Fox Searchlight, Sony Classics and Focus who make and/or release important independent and foreign movies. Do you want their films boycotted? And what if a specialized film is playing at a circuit owned theater in a town without an art cinema? Will this discourage them from booking more? Where do you put companies like Lion's Gate, Summit, The Weinstein Company who distribute both art and commercial types of films?

    The energy needs to be focused on getting young people to understand the importance of not pirating works that others have put energy, creativity, inspiration, sweat and even money into getting made. If consumers don't pay their fair share to support the arts (even if they come from corporate America ---superb music and books, join movies coming from these sources too) we will have many fewer choices.

    At a Sundance panel a couple of major industry folks admitted that their own kids illegally download. There were proposals made by middle-aged marketing people on how to reach out. I found them lame. Hire young people to find out the psychology behind stealing art and what will get their attention.

    Here in Berlin (was also at Sundance) the end credits for a Chilean film aimed at young audiences, YOUNG & WILD, start with (paraphrase) "We put a lot of hard work into making this movie. Please do not pirate it and ask your friends to pay to see it in a theater."

  • TC Kirkham | February 15, 2012 6:21 PMReply

    Have to disagree with you on this one, Anthony - all you will accomplish with this kind of action is 1) higher ticket prices 2) higher concession prices and 3) zero change in the status quo. Don't get me wrong - I applaud your ideas and agree with many of them; our sites also backed the SOPA blackout and will again if need be - I feel very strongly about the issue. But I feel that this kind of action won't really hurt the studios, only the theater chains. And from what I've seen, many of THEM are just as much the victim of the corporate greed mentality that exists in LaLaLand. And in the long run, the chains will have to cutback and jobs will be lost. And that's not what we want to see happen, is it?

  • Anon | February 15, 2012 5:23 PMReply

    As an OWSer who worked on Project X, I say go to hell.

  • Katie | February 15, 2012 2:52 PMReply

    Hi Anthony, why is this focused exclusively on theaters? As one of the few independently owned & operated online film stores, we compete against iTunes, Netflix (granted, that's subscription based, not transactional like we are; still...), Vudu (owned by WalMart), Cinema Now (owned by Best Buy). We sell Hollywood films, but we also love and promote indie & international films not only on our web site but our stores on Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players, and we have the only indie-only store on Facebook (featuring films from our longtime partners KinoLorber and Monterey). This is NOT spam or a pitch, I am truly asking if and why the focus is on theaters rather than the considerable (and very corporate) arena of post-theatrical distribution.
    I hope you answer -- I really want to know more about this. Thanks!

  • Anthony Kaufman | February 15, 2012 4:11 PM

    Hi Katie, I think it's a totally valid question--and in today's digital age, a boycott of Hollywood content in all media, and on all platforms, should totally be part of the protest. But my feeling --and some of the people I consulted with on this seemed to agree--that a straightforward theatrical boycott was simpler and easy to gauge and easier to monitor. For instance, in the next few days, I'm hoping someone will come forward to come up with a website where people can indicate what movie theaters they'll be going to, or what movies they'll be seeing. And in tandem with that, the #OWS movement has also taught us that physical bodies occupying physical spaces can send a very powerful message.

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