For some, the Occupy Wall Street movement is about revolution. For others, it’s about economic equality. For many college-age students, it’s about massive student loan debt and lack of job opportunities. And yet, for others it’s the simple, idealistic notion of love thy neighbor as you would love yourself. In fact, the Occupy Wall Street movement encompasses all of these and so much more, with goals, motivations and priorities, perspectives, political belief systems, ages, races, religious ideology, sexual orientation and ideas as diverse as people themselves.
And it is this diversity, this idea of a movement that is all-inclusive, all-respectful, all, well, everything, that inspired the documentary 99%, the collaborative film about Occupy Wall Street as unique and diverse as the movement itself. Consisting of 75-plus filmmakers from all over the United States, 99% has covered every aspect of the movement since its inception. From the first face-off between the New York Police Department and protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge to the over-zealous clashes in Oakland, California to the spread of Occupies across the country and around the world, collaborators have been there to record it all from their own perspectives, with their own voices, in an ambitious effort to make this film as objective an account as possible.
I had the privilege of spending a weekend at Occupy Atlanta at the start of the movement in September, sleeping on the ground in the park, soaked by the sprinklers shooting out their objection to our presence at four in the morning like a symbol of the uphill battle the movement faced against a hostile force intent on maintaining the status quo. And I met so many people intent on changing this status quo. Real change, not the hope of change that had disillusioned so many of us in this country. These weren’t the misunderstood dirty hippie kids the mainstream media and government leaders wanted us to believe they were.
So when I was invited to participate in the 99% film project, it was for me both an honor and an overwhelming mission to bring fairness to the movement that changed the national discourse and brought a voice to the dysfunction that has befallen this country. Agree with them or not, the protestors of Occupy Wall Street have earned respect.
And this respect, this unfolding of American history some say will be as important as the Civil Rights movement, as important as all movements in history that changed the fundamental landscape of where the future is headed, is the focus of this film. Founded by filmmakers Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites, the award-winning director/producers of UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US, and currently working on DARK PLACES, 99% is about the majority of a people who work to take back control of their lives and their country from the one percent they perceive to have taken it.
Other notable collaborators, producers, directors, writers, artists, etc… participating in this project include: Aaron Yanes, Williams Cole, Ava DuVernay, Jason Tschantre, Jill Woodward, Kyp Malone, Bob Ray, Jason Crump, Shane Bugbee, Tyler Brodie, Jeremy King, Maria Breaux, James Salkind, Ginger Liu, Billy Miller, Jeni Chua, Traver Rains, Stephen Dotson, and many, many more. As more filmmakers become aware of this project, the list continues to grow.
A special Constellation online screening on the progress of the film thus far will be offered to the public at large on January 7th, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. EST to bring awareness to this historic film as it documents this historic movement. You can sign up to watch it at www.Constellation.tv/99. Visitors are also invited to participate in the Q A after the showing and interact with the filmmakers. The public’s input is so important to the process for a film that’s about the public itself.
You can also visit the 99% fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. The collaborators of the 99% film are in the last leg of an aggressive fundraising drive to complete the project, so any help you can give, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated and much needed.
As history unfolds, as the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to evolve, so will the 99% film and the collaborators who have devoted so much time and energy, heart and minds to follow it every step of the way. Maybe I’m a little biased, but I believe in time it will be considered one of the most important films of this generation, and I am so grateful.
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