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Occupy Wall Street: The Movie; Will There Be a Definitive Film of the Movement?

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by Anthony Kaufman
November 14, 2011 10:06 AM
2 Comments
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So far, Occupy Wall Street has inspired a dozen prominent filmmakers, from Haskell Wexler to Jonathan Demme to Jem Cohen, to document the rising protest movement. And a handful of Hollywood and indie films, produced after the rebellion's rise, from "Margin Call" to "Tower Heist," have capitalized on the coincidental timeliness of their stories. But is there a definitive #OWS movie out there? And what would it look like?

Tomorrow night at Brooklyn-based Union Docs, filmmakers Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites will discuss their ongoing collaborative feature length doc, "99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film," in which 50 independent filmmakers, photographers, and videographers across the country are pooling their resources to make a "compelling, cinematic, resonant, and honest portrait of the Occupy Wall Street movement."

Among the project's contributors are Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley (Battle for Brooklyn, Horns and Halos), Ava Duvernay (distributor of independent black films via AFFRM), Aaron Yanes, as supervising editor (Padre Nuestro, Tyson) and producer Tyler Brodie (Another Earth, Terri).

The film recently raised a $1,000 on Kickstarter, and have been touting the project for about a month.

A recent article in the Brooklyn Rail addressed some of the independent media that have covered the goings-on at Zucotti Park and elsewhere, and suggested that it could be a more definitive view:  "At a point when so much is consistently being documented, professionally or otherwise, it is compelling and important to have at least one project that inherently utilizes footage from many people and places, not just as archival dressing, but as the basis of the film."

While I understand the spirit of such a collaborative project, I also yearn for something more auteur-driven or at least, structurally and narratively precise. For all the doc footage that already exists out there of collectivity and community and the human spirit, of banging drums and calling slogans, I'm hoping for something more on the artistic agit-prop level of "An Injury to One" or the persuasive ironic montage of Michael Moore--something, in short, that can further galvanize the movement and reach out to an even wider audience.

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2 Comments

  • Leo Curbelo | December 13, 2011 12:53 PMReply

    Here is a dramatic piece we shot down at Zuccotti Park last month
    http://youtu.be/Y-XYvGc5D7g

  • Audrey Ewell | November 14, 2011 11:14 AMReply

    Is it possible that what you're really looking for is a film that defines their aims, as they themselves refuse to do?

    It's hard not to be a bit annoyed at this Anthony - you're saying, without having seen our film, without our film being finished, that you want something else.

    Sometimes it's not just the medium that's the message, but the components of the medium itself that provide context.

    I appreciate the ink, but I'd appreciate an open mind even more. Maybe we'll see you at Union Docs tomorrow and you can get more perspective on what we're doing. If you do come, please say hi.

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