Volume 26, Number 11
Truth to Power
Edward S. Herman
Wall Street to Planet Earth
Compiled by Joel Chaffee
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Cinema Politica: 10 Years of Screening Truth to Power
Cinema Politica, Canada’s only independent political documentary screening network, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Since starting at Concordia University in Montreal in 2003, the network now includes over 90 chapters, 70 of them across Canada. From campus theaters to community halls, they show ground-breaking political documentaries that engage, enlighten, and inspire.
Screening over 200 films and reaching more than 50,000 viewers per year, the network has become a vital platform for independent documentaries across Canada and internationally. The network’s success has helped bridge the gap between art and activism and shows that the public still craves thought-provoking documentary.
“We’ve grown organically over the last decade to become a diverse network of film lovers and activists who work to educate and inspire change in their communities,” says Svetla Turnin, co-founder Cinema Politica. “This is in large part thanks to the tireless work of independent filmmakers and to the volunteers across the country who organize screenings.”
“In an age of corporatized, individualized media consumption, it is a political act to choose to share a film experience with other people in the same physical space,” adds Mark Achbar, director of The Corporation and Manufacturing Consent. “The Cinema Politica Network keeps alive the act of watching documentaries as an, interactive, meaningful human experience.”
As cuts to public funding for documentary filmmaking persist in Canada, the network’s success shows that there is no shortage of audiences for engaged documentary films—just a shortage of outlets.
“At a time of decreasing venues, funding support and forums for independent documentary, ten years on, we’re proud to be providing an alternative, viable, and vibrant space for independent political documentary,” said Cinema Politica co-founder and Ezra Winton.
Celebrations and special events are planned throughout the year, including the launch of Screening Truth to Power, a book bringing together critical essays on political cinema and art by renowned professor John Downing, award-winning Canadian filmmaker Shannon Walsh, and Steve James, director of the ground-breaking Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters, among others. Also coming is an anniversary celebration in Montreal and a series of 10th anniversary screenings featuring special guests.
More than a screening network, Cinema Politica also works to engage audiences in social issues and strengthen independent filmmaking in Canada. Past screenings include presentations and Q&As with directors from around the world, ranging from the U.S.-based Yes Men to Anand Patwardhan, India’s most celebrated documentary filmmaker, to home grown cinema luminaries like Alanis Obomsawin, Mark Achbar, and Elle Flanders.
Cinema Politica has also:
- Established the “Alanis Obomsawin Award for Community and Resistance” and gave the first award to Toronto filmmaker John Greyson for his commitment to political filmmaking and his activism in the queer community. Greyson is currently in prison in Egypt where he was arrested on his way to Palestine to explore a new documentary possibility.
- Launched the “Adopt a Doc” program, which has successfully raised funds for The Secret Trial 5, a documentary on anti-terrorism laws in Canada.
- Created a unique public directory of 50 Canadian independent filmmakers at www.cinemapolitica. org/artists, featuring bios, film clips, and exclusive interviews.
- Organized national screening tours with films such as The Coca Cola Case and You Don’t Like the Truth: Four days inside Guantanamo.
- Partnered for national campaigns, like the “Back the Tap” screening tour with the Council of Canadians, the Sierra Youth Coalition, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, among others.
Cinema Politica is a Montreal-based media arts network that screens independent political film and video (cinemapolitica.org).
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.